This is Part Two in a series of posts dealing with Luxury Marketing Techniques. The first installment, Basic Black is Always Elegant, Simple and Never Out of Style in Marketing Materials, dealt with the advantages of using bold black & white graphics to convey an upscale look and feel in marketing materials. This is particularly true in luxury home marketing.
Luxury metaphors are symbols that speak the language of luxury. Effective use of luxury metaphors can quickly and quietly communicate what you're trying to say without resorting to terms that may become cliche such as "elegant, expensive, exclusive, magnificent, upscale" and the like.
Lion logos courtesy of LuxuryRealEstate.com.
Bronze lion photo by Eric Kodner.
Many luxury metaphors, such as the lion, have heraldic origins. The lion has been found on family crests and coats of arms for many centuries. The creators of the LuxuryRealEstate.com website and "Who's Who in Luxury Real Estate" have used the lion graphic very effectively in both print and online marketing.
Another luxury metaphor would be the seal or medallion. This "seal of approval" symbol is made to resemble the wax seals that were once used by royalty to seal a document.
CLHMS seal courtesy of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing
The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing has created a powerful combination by combining the seal with a "column graphic" (a column is an element of classical architecture that was commonplace in ancient Greece and in the Roman Empire). The column is also considered a luxury metaphor.
The Luxury Institute (http://www.luxuryinstitute.com) uses the laurel wreath and a stylized "Greek temple" logo to speak the language of luxury.
Other luxury metaphors in advertising may include: equestrian images and graphics (the Ralph Lauren Polo logo is an example), yachting images (sailboat or catamaran), architectural elements (columns, arches and so forth) and musical instruments (the violin, viola, cello, harp, grand piano, lyre and horn are common luxury symbols).
Luxury symbols are everywhere in product marketing. Look at Hermes or Louis Vuitton or Coco Chanel or Fendi and you'll see the powerful simplicity of luxury logos and images. The "red carpet" is a luxury image. A champagne flute or a snifter of Napoleon brandy may be a luxury image
Products themselves may be luxury metaphors as well, like Rolex, Bentley, Patek Philippe, Mikimoto, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
What makes a luxury metaphor useful and effective in advertising?
Luxury metaphors speak differently to viewers of differing ages and backgrounds. Overall requirements for marketing effectiveness would be:
- The metaphor should be tasteful, not crass or overly commercial. A photo of a stack of one hundred dollar bills may communicate value, but it's not exactly subtle.
- A luxury metaphor should be obvious. Choosing a symbol or image that most people would associate with luxury is best.
- A luxury metaphor should make sense in the context in which it is applied. If you're marketing property in an equestrian development or area, a simple black silhouette of a rider on horseback may be powerful.
There are thousands of possible images and graphics that can be used to communicate luxury. Choose symbols and images that work best for you and use them sparingly, like seasoning, rather than as a "main course". Your message will benefit and the luxury client will recognize and acknowledge your good taste!
[The content of this post is taken from a course syllabus which I wrote in late 2007 on the subject of effective real estate marketing to the luxury consumer. This material is copyrighted and may not be used or reproduced without the permission of Eric Kodner.]
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Eric Kodner is a luxury property specialist and real estate educator in the Minneapolis & Saint Paul area with a unique perspective on the Twin Cities real estate market. Wayzata Lakes Realty LLC is a member of the LuxuryRealEstate.com broker network.
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