Brent Green on Boomers and the Future of Luxury Brands
He nevertheless remained resolute. An unprecedented economic recession had swept a pall of fear and frugality across the nation, and for this generation, it was here to stay.
David Wolfe, co-author of Ageless Marketing and Firms of Endearment, insists this behavior is being driven by more than distressed economic times. In an email to me and a few colleagues, David wrote:
“The spirit of materialism wells up in youthhood to incline behavior toward outwardly visible messages to others. It takes different forms in different cultures, from body markings and piercings to outlandish clothing and other eye-popping possessions acquired with the intention of increasing one’s influence, power and wealth.”
Build communities around your products. The legendary Harley-Davidson has always commanded higher prices than foreign motorcycles partly because of HOG (Harley Owners Group), a network providing powerful referential reinforcement.
Differentiate with values that address emerging Boomer needs to seek higher purpose in lifestyle choices. A watch is more than a watch when acquired as a future heirloom for a grandchild. This understanding has been among implied underpinnings in marketing of luxury watches for Swiss manufacturers such as Breitling.
Make an unassailable quality and durability case. Most Boomers have been burned many times by shoddy products that seemed like a good deal but then break shortly after purchase. Boomers generally believe the adage: You get what you pay for.
Consider tiered pricing. Just as airlines such as Frontier are unveiling tiered ticket prices in coach class, luxury class products can be offered to consumers as good, better and best (not cheap, cheaper, cheapest), without compromising upscale brand stature or differentiation.
Strategic Implications: These are but a few of the strategies my company has been helping clients implement. Many opportunities exist to convert luxury into longevity and superb into sustainability — core values Boomers seek today with their discretionary dollars. And don’t be misled. Boomers still have billions of discretionary dollars to spend yearly, even following one of the deepest recessions since the Great Depression. By far they have greater economic clout than any other generational cohort, so to eschew this market would be economic suicide.