High-end, luxurious, fancy, exclusive: luxury brand copywriting is an art to master. In our analysis of the world’s top brands, we segmented these out not by revenue but by marketing language. In other words, how are brands that seek to appear “luxurious” presenting themselves through messaging? Those are the words and phrases we wanted to know, and here is how you can mimic the ones that do it most successfully.
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Defining Luxury Brands in Marketing
First, a definition: luxury goods are non-essentials. They are the cars, furniture, jewelry, home goods and even experiences that enrich life. Luxury marketing must be immensely personalized, and its personification in our world is called Jo.
Jo is the ultimate embodiment of a luxury brand. If you can master this voice, you can write successfully for brands like these, which include The Atlantic, Ghirardelli, Louis Vuitton, Evian and Nescafe.
Best Words to Use for Luxury Brands
Remember that the point of presenting as a luxury brand is to appear anything-but-common. It is highly refined, elegant and sometimes understated (although not always). Here are the traits shared among luxury brands:
Luxury brands often personify, even if they are only selling goods and not services. This then creates a shared paradigm:
People like us understand things like this.
People like us have these kinds of experiences.
People like us know what it is to enjoy the good life.
It is very important to walk the line between arrogant/condescending and communal.
The “Jo” Brand Voice in Literature
Even while being upper class (or appreciating the finer things), marketing for luxury brands still has to be likable. Exclusivity does not equal alienation. That is why the literary choice we’ve made for this archetype is still spunky and endearing: Jo March.
Here is Jo’s quote:
“I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle—something heroic, or wonderful—that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous; that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream.”
The “Jo” Brand Voice in Culture
Recall again that being likable, even beloved, is important for luxury brands. They become favored providers because they are indulgent and decadent, but also because they are deeply enjoyable. Interaction with that brand should capture the imagination, and here are some of the cultural personas that exemplify that dynamic:
These people are elegant but relatable, funny but wealthy, accessible but clearly full of class.
What Does “Jo” Feel Like?
Impressions are highly important for a luxury marketing endeavor, because these may be lower touch than the average ad campaign or marketing initiative. You must make every moment count.
This is what Jo feels like:
Taking an elective with the most popular professor on campus.
You’re thrilled to have made the cut, and delighted to benefit from their rich and reliable instruction.
Full List of “Jo” Brands
Here is a list of brands that use this type of marketing successfully:
Saks Fifth Avenue
Barnes and Noble
Tiffany & Co
Luxury Brand Writing Tips
Writing for a luxury brand requires a certain sensibility. In my experience, not every copywriter is well-equipped to do it. That is in part because the luxury experience isn’t common, meaning we don’t all use or purchase items like these. It can be hard to “write what you don’t know.” However, writing for luxury brands can also be a wonderful challenge and immensely satisfying if you get it right.
Here’s what I suggest to get started:
Broaden your vocabulary - you will be allowed to write far above the recommended SEO grade level, and you’ll need the vocab chops to do it.
Broaden your range of references - you won’t use pop culture quips or shallow nods; you want rich, meaningful and pithy references from the news, history and literature.
Follow newsletters from brands like this - luxury brands are great at high-quality e-newsletters and content. Sign up for them. Read them all.
Copywriting for High-End Brands
As you hone this skill, it can be important to refine short-form copy. Because brands like these often appeal to higher net worth individuals, the ideal client persona may be a busy lettered professional. These are consumers of micro-content or highly specialized/targeted content. It must feel personal. It must relate and connect in very little time (we’re talking less than one second).