Insight, Thoughts

Creating an effective content strategy for luxury brands

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How to create an effective and stand out content strategy for luxury brands

Content marketing is an important way for luxury brands to connect with their customers without necessarily selling directly to them on each content. For high-end or luxury brands, this is an opportunity to rank highly on search engine results pages, tell your brand’s story, promote your products and services and build strong bonds with your customers that increase the likelihood of a long-term relationship with them.

In this article, we explore the following:

  • Understanding your target audience and how they buy from you
  • Why content creation calendars are important
  • The right types of content for a profitable content marketing strategy
  • Creating a content calendar
  • Paid, owned and earned media in content marketing strategy
  • Measuring the effectiveness of your content strategy

Understanding your target audience and the buyer’s journey

Luxury brands sell to customers who aren’t just buying a product or service. They’re buying an experience and wanting to be part of a lifestyle they perceive your brand as representing. 

This is emotional and psychological as well as material. It’s complex and, for luxury brands to sell well, they need to know their target consumers inside out. You need to know more than the basic like age, gender and location.

You need to understand their values, their hobbies and their attitudes towards life and luxury. Ask yourself the following three questions:

  • What kind of experiences do they seek? 
  • Why is it important to them?
  • What motivates them to choose one luxury brand over another? 

Getting into the minds of your customers is how you’ll create content that truly resonates with them and increases their sense of belonging.

A mindmap for your specific audience

One way to do this is to create a buyer persona. This is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer that tells you about their life, the job they do, their trusted information sources, the pressures they have and how they let off steam. It’s similar to a backstory that a writer would create for a character in a drama so that the actor playing them can be more authentic.

For a luxury brand, a buyer persona might include information on how much they earn, which social media platform they prefer, their favourite luxury experiences, attitudes towards sustainability in the luxury industry and so on.

Now you’ve “met” your customer, you need to understand their buying journey. That’s each step they take on the road from realising they have a need, want or desire that is unfulfilled right up to the point of purchase. This is a difficult journey for marketers to map and this can be especially so for luxury products which speak to more than just a need, want or desire much of the time.

This is a simplification but there are three broad stages on your customer journey:

  • Awareness: At this stage, your content marketing strategy should be to inspire your target audience and ignite a spark in them. Focus on content creation that features aspirational stories and lifestyle showcasing accompanied by beautiful imagery showing your product or service in an authentic setting.
  • Consideration: For the consideration stage, your content marketing efforts focus on making your brand, products and services stand apart. At this stage, they’re looking at your content and your competitors content comparing their options. Use content at this stage to tell your brand story, showcase your USPs, and make sure your audience knows why you’re special. Make something of your heritage, your craftsmanship and your timelessness as a brand.
  • Decision: Here, the role of your content strategy is to give your consumer the final push over the line as they’re ready now to make a purchase. Reassure them that they’re making the right choice. Highlight glowing reviews and testimonials. Sell your VIP customer service experience. Whatever you do, make the purchase process as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Make them feel like they’re not just buying a product, but joining a club, an exclusive community.

At every touchpoint and through every stage, a successful content strategy relies on your being consistent. Keeping the same tone of voice and the same style of visual so that every exposure to your content is unmistakably and identifiably “you”. Your audience should feel like they’re on a journey with you, a journey that only your brand can offer.

Choose the right types of content for your content marketing strategy

Creating content for a campaign should be done with the customer in mind. The content teams at Verb Brands know how different formats work better for specific purposes. With any blog post, video or social media post, the method of addressing the viewer, the tone of voice and the effect of the visuals need to be consistent with brand, purpose and intent.

Regularly featuring in our content production calendars for luxury clients are:

  • Blog Posts: Great for sharing thoughtful insights, telling engaging stories, uploading evergreen content or offering useful advice on relevant topics to our client’s audiences. They work well when highlighting your brand’s expertise, history, quality and values together with a way of expressing your brand voice and personality.
  • High-quality imagery: Beautiful photography of products, lifestyle images, or even behind-the-scenes shots showing the love and care that is part of the manufacturing and design processes always works well. Aesthetics and craftsmanship are important components of what defines luxury and we always include imagery in our online and social media content strategy frameworks for clients.
  • Immersive videos: Like imagery, high-quality videos are superb communications tools often used in product demonstrations, fashion shows or mini-docu-series on various aspects of the luxury lifestyle.
  • Luxury magazines: Sometimes printed and sometimes in the form of e-books, many luxury brands have their own in-house magazines in which they lifestyle articles, fashion advice, interviews with industry insiders and showcase new collections or products. They’re very effective at making viewers and readers feel part of a brand story.
  • Interactive digital lookbooks: Particularly for heritage brands, providing interactive online digital photo and video logs is a highly engaging way to share a brand history and explore current and past collections. As they can on product pages, visitors can click on products and artefacts to see them in greater detail or from different angles to heighten the sense of immersion.
  • Customer stories: Sharing real-life stories of how our client’s products and services add value to their customers’ lives provides social proof and use cases to help readers and viewers make up their mind.
  • Podcasts: In addition to launching their own luxury podcasts, we encourage clients to find new audiences by appearing on popular existing podcasts likely to be of interest to their target markets which feature discussions on fashion trends, interviews with designers and insights into the luxury lifestyle. 
  • Webinars and virtual events: On YouTube and on social media channels, many brands, especially in the tech sector, host online events like webinars, Q&A sessions with designers, or virtual product launches. Luxury brands can do the same by offering live feeds from launches or shows, allowing customers into areas previously reserved for journalists and commentators. This type of access creates a sense of exclusivity and prestige.

Create content for a calendar

To give your content strategy every chance of success, you need to know what you’re doing at every stage. For that, we create a content calendar when working on client campaigns.

A content calendar gives a bird’s eye view of a client’s campaign. It’s more than knowing what to publish and when though. It’s a strategic tool that maps content creation to your commercial goals and the preferences of your clients. Content calendars however are not preserved in aspic and can change mid-journey when necessary.

Any successful content marketing strategy requires organisation. Each member of your team needs to know what you’re publishing next week or month and why. If you have a new collection launching in three months’ time, your team should begin to create a content strategy framework to cover that launch. 

Planning is important otherwise creating content will become a winding, directionless exercise where you miss strategic opportunities because you’re coming up with content on the fly.

A calendar is the basis of any sound content strategy. You stay on track and create consistent, targeted messaging. It ensures regularity and variety in your content, maintaining the right balance of product showcases, storytelling, customer testimonials and other content formats that your luxury audience prefers.

What should your editorial calendar include?

Building a content calendar is like planning your luxury brand’s journey. Here’s what your map should include:

  • Content formats: Different content formats suit different platforms and audience preferences so include a mix of blogs, social media posts, infographics, videos and other relevant content in your calendar.
  • Campaigns and launches: Your content strategy team needs to know product launches and special campaigns well in advance so they can build your content around them.
  • Who’s doing what: Your content management system should clearly indicate which member of your team is responsible for producing specified content by given deadlines. It also helps all team members to see your online and social media content strategy as a whole so they can see how the work they do fits into it. 
  • Goals and metrics: Define your content goals clearly and establish key performance indicators (KPIs) for each piece of content. Measure them using tools like Google Analytics.
  • Channel selection: Choose the most appropriate outlets for each type of content for maximum return. For example, while Instagram might be perfect for your behind-the-scenes videos, they’re wasted on email marketing campaigns which are a great opportunity to sell.
  • Content Research: Finally, keep exploring. Identify new content ideas, emerging trends and audience preferences to keep your campaign fresh. Performing a regular content audit and conducting market research to see if the content you thought you needed three months ago is useful too. All content strategies should be subject to change if required.

Distribution and promotion – choose your paths wisely

There are three groups of destinations for your content marketing collateral – owned, earned and paid media.

They are:

  • Owned Media: These are the communication platforms you own and control like website, blog, social media channels, email newsletters and so on.
  • Paid Media: Limiting content to owned media only greatly restricts exposure. Any successful content marketing plan includes exposure to paid media – for example, sponsored posts, social platform adverts and influencer partnerships. Paid media is a highly controllable but expensive form of content distribution.
  • Earned Media: Earned media includes positive reviews, shares, likes, and mentions on social media platforms by others and more. It’s the modern equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing.

When you choose how to distribute content, consider the following:

  • Where do your potential customers go? Know where your audience prefers to hang out online. Are they mostly on Instagram, or do they prefer LinkedIn? Do they read blogs, or are they podcast lovers? Publish content where your audience can find it.
  • Which content strategy is proving most effective? Analyse data to see which channels have given you the most engagement or conversions in the past. Which content types perform best on each channel? Not all content publication is successful so identify underperforming campaigns and redirect your budget and resources elsewhere.
  • What are your content goals? Good content strategy is knowing what function you want each piece of valuable content you create to perform. If you want to drive website traffic organically from search engines, a blog post may be best after you’ve done the keyword research for it. If you want to generate leads and get more sales from new customers from your sales funnel, an email campaign might work better. For brand awareness and loyalty, including compilations of user-generated content featuring existing customers into your social media strategy works well.
  • Can you repurpose your high-quality content? Squeeze more value out of existing content by repurposing it. Can you turn a video or podcast into quality written content? Can you place a video on a landing page to make it stickier so people stay longer? Can you optimise an existing blog so that it attracts more organic traffic? There’s a lot of value in the content you’ve already created and more than a few ways to extract further value from it.
  • What haven’t you tried already? Always explore marketing tactics you’ve never previously used to drive up organic web traffic and build social media followers like guest blogging, influencer collaborations and webinars.

Measuring the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy

Now that your luxury content strategy is live, you need to measure and analyse its effectiveness.

Earlier in this article, we recommended the importance of knowing what your content goals are clearly and establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) for each piece of content. General rules of thumb are that, for brand awareness, monitor website traffic, social media impressions and video views. For lead generation or sales, check metrics like conversion rates, click-through rates and new newsletter sign-ups.

Not every campaign or campaign part will work well so track KPI to spot trends, misfires and opportunities. Invest in those campaigns and routes to market that yields better results. All content strategy campaigns involve constant cycles of reinvention, creation, measurement and refinement.

At VERB we’ve worked with luxury manufacturers, retailers and e-tailers for over 10 years now. Over the past decade, we’ve seen how the business model used by many brands now embraces content marketing as online shopping becomes the norm and consumers have become willing to spend sums of money with e-tailers that would have been unbelievable 10 years ago.

VERB Brands helps clients maximise their return from search engines and social media platforms. Our multi-disciplined team create fully-rounded campaigns so that you’re seen by your target audiences and communicate with them in a way they appreciate and respond to.

Talk to us about your content strategy. Send us an email and introduce yourself. We look forward to working with you.