Low-Key Luxury Brand

If you’re a luxury brand, you’ve probably grown accustomed to positioning your product by way of attention-getting status signaling. But some marketing trend-spotters are noting a trend towards more subtle “inconspicuous consumption” strategies, possibly in reaction to luxury buyers’ reluctance to stand out during the Great Recession and “Occupy Wall Street” days as income inequality starts to take center stage.

According to Forbes, one trend in China is actually ripping the designer labels out of garments. Brands have responded to this situation by applying more subtle visual branding, such as making logos smaller and putting them in the linings of purses rather than emblazoning them for the world to see. Many brands have successfully endeared their entry-level products to the middle class, making overt status symbols feel more want-to-be than wealthy.

So if it’s no longer en vogue to shout your social status from the hilltops, what should a luxury brand do to market itself? According to Giana Eckhardt, a professor of marketing at Royal Holloway, University of London, brands can send quiet-but-effective signals by pivoting to messaging about “experience, artistry or utility.” Hand-crafted, locally sourced, ultra-utilitarian or historically grounded brands now have a more powerful card to play in this new game — a game not driven merely by social signaling power.


If you’re a luxury brand, here are a few things you can do to appeal to the inconspicuous consumer more effectively:

  • Reduce the size or visibility of your brand logo.
  • Create tasteful, understated product displays.
  • Focus on more experiential aspects of your product or service.
  • Craft messaging about the unique artistry of your offerings.
  • Highlight the more practical benefits of your product.
  • Place greater emphasis on high-quality service.
  • Focus on a more nuanced personal vs. aspirational connection.
  • Put a social listening strategy in place to better gauge customer sentiment.


This is not to say that loud-and-large luxury branding is completely in the rearview mirror. It certainly is not, but it’s no longer the only avenue available to luxury brands. And if you’re a high-end brand, you now have a wider array of options to choose from in terms of positioning your product or service. Time will tell whether this is a short-term trend or a more permanent shift in the minds of consumers. But for the present, it’s wise to consider whether you might improve the chances of your luxury brand message resonating with the right audience by whispering instead of shouting.

Kymera can help you position your luxury product or service — or pivot and rebrand it to capture market share. We can handle your logo, print collateral, signage, hyper-targeted digital advertising and social media marketing to help you connect with the right audience for your product. We can also help you find a quiet voice that resonates with discriminating consumers. And we can do it in a cost-effective, scalable way. Contact us today for your complimentary luxury branding consultation.