The three rules of prestige marketing – and how to use them to your advantage

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What is prestige marketing and why should you care?

Prestige marketing is linked to the idea of prestige pricing, which relies on simple consumer psychology. Studies show that customers assume when a product comes at a high price, it is higher quality than cheaper alternatives: think Birkin bags and BMWs.

In a similar way, prestige marketing strategies increase the exclusivity of your brand to increase demand and, in turn, sales. Who wouldn’t want customers lined up around the corner, physically or figuratively, waiting in an iPhone-esque fashion for the release of your latest service or product? This is what prestige marketing can do for a brand.

Rule one: exclusivity must be earned

Most business owners are already aware of the importance of a carefully thought-out branding strategy. As a basic rule, you should ensure that your services or products are consistent in their look, feel and quality to build a reliable and unique brand identity. However, prestige marketing goes a step beyond this. You need to determine how you’ll provide customers with that ‘luxe factor’. This will vary from business to business, depending on the type of product or service you provide and your business’s size and resources.

Regardless of limitations your business may face, you can still use prestige marketing to your advantage. Is your brand going to be known for treating its customers like royalty? Perhaps you’ll roll-out a line of limited edition products to create that sense of exclusivity. Another effective tactic is to tease customers with the promise of amazing results.

Consider this example: you’ve developed a technology system that has been shown to increase worker productivity by 200 per cent. A traditional marketing strategy would be to tell potential clients about how the technology works, how they use it and how much it will cost them. Alternatively, you could pitch the product differently: “Our service increases worker productivity by 200 per cent, which could boost your profits by 50 per cent. Interested? Apply now.”

Be aware that there’s a fine line between a gimmicky sales pitch (“Get in now before it’s too late! You’ll be sorry you missed out!”) and persuasion, so make sure that your craft your message carefully and give it the time and thought that it deserves. Let your results speak for themselves, be confident in what you’re offering and, when the customers come, prove to them that you deliver on promises.  

Rule two: create the hype without the cringe

One of the challenges of prestige marketing is showing rather than telling potential customers that your brand is exclusive. This element of prestige marketing is all about building hype.

Let’s take another example: you have a new luxury apartment building that’s almost move-in ready. How are you going to fill those beautiful apartments? You may be tempted to go the obvious route by advertising the dollar value of each apartment, the number of bedrooms and the amenities available. Instead, why not produce a short video of the apartments, luxuriously styled with sweeping panoramas of the incredible views and attractive people laughing with a glass of wine in hand? End with two simple words: coming soon. Here, the aim is to intrigue customers and build anticipation, rather than simply communication information.

This strategy relies on our natural curiosity and the fact that many of our purchases are emotional – you don’t buy an expensive pair of boots or a nice watch because they are logical necessities! You’re selling a luxurious, enjoyable lifestyle and this video positions the apartments as a central part of the dream. That, plus a prestigious reputation, will be sure to keep the auction hammer busy.  

Rule three: buyer remorse is your biggest threat

Congratulations – your customer has bought into the hype, dreamed of your product for months and finally made their purchase. It’s a done deal, right? Well… not quite.

The danger of prestige marketing is that there is much more pressure on you to deliver. The average-priced restaurant provides average food? Not a big deal. You might even give them a second chance one day. However, it’s a different story when you’ve waited months to get a booking at an expensive, hyped-up restaurant and it provides average food. You’ve been ripped off and deceived – and you certainly won’t be returning!

Customer disappointment can derail your business, particularly in the age of social media and websites dedicated to rating and reviewing products. Sure, you’re not going to please everyone, but you should still aim to do so. You can put in all the hard work to re-brand, but you’ll be left watching your customers line up for a competitor if you don’t deliver on your promises. 

And one last tip…

There’s nothing better than getting a little extra something that you weren’t expecting. Whether it’s receiving a free watch after purchasing an incredibly expensive car or a bottle of champagne that arrives on the day of a property settlement, surprising and delighting customers is one of the oldest tricks in the book. And there’s a reason for that – it works! This tactic is the perfect way to top off a customer’s experience. It shows that the extra cost of your product or service means extra attention to the little things, and those little things are the difference between an average brand and a prestigious brand.

Now that you’ve read all about how to make your brand stand out from the crowd, be sure to let us know what you found helpful about this article! If you’re still unsure of how to spice up your branding broth, drop us a line at It would be our delight to surprise you by answering any questions you have!