Storytelling is at the heart of luxury brand marketing

The luxury industry has always been associated with exclusiveness and high-quality products. However, the definition of luxury is evolving, and storytelling is becoming a crucial part of the customer experience.

In short

Incorporating storytelling into the customer experience

Storytelling is an effective way to draw customers in and create an emotional connection. Employing the storytelling technique to market luxury brands can strengthen the feeling of an authentic connection between customers and the brand. A common approach by brand marketers in the luxury industry is sharing stories about the brand’s heritage. For instance, Chanel included a catalog of stories on its website called Inside Chanel, allowing consumers to learn about its history and discover the brand’s know-how. Gucci’s 12-hour-long fashion show is another excellent example of how storytelling can be incorporated into the luxury experience.

Pernelle Steiner, who graduated from ESSEC Business School in France after completing the Executive Master in Luxury Management and Design Innovation, popularly known as the EMiLUX program, cannot agree more. 

Pernelle, who has over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, used her gained knowledge to rework the brand positioning for her husband’s artwork through narratives. She informs MASTERGRADSCHOOLS that in the EMiLUX program, “storytelling was one of the key elements that I learned.” (01:22)

By incorporating storytelling into their customer experience, luxury brands can engage customers in a way that resonates and builds loyalty. Telling a personal story comes naturally in face-to-face interactions but can be challenging to manage across multiple digital channels. In the long run, digital is essential to any brand’s marketing strategy, so it can’t be skipped. 

Most shopping journies begin online, even if shoppers plan on visiting a store in person. The online customer experience must feel as unique as the in-store experience, which remains crucial. As a result, there is a need to tie in-store and digital shopping experiences and sync both platforms.

Who are the luxury brand customers?

The luxury industry continues to grow despite the looming threat of a recession. Millennials and Gen Z accounted for all of the estimated $300 billion in growth the industry saw in 2022. Luxury has always been a comfort, an intangible feeling of exclusiveness. Previously luxury focused on providing a limited number of high-quality items for customers to possess. For younger generations, the challenge now lies in delivering that exclusiveness in a brand’s total experience. 

More and more, Millennials and Gen Z customers expect a high-end experience with a personal touch. The younger generations live immersed in the digital world, and their influence spreads to the older generations. Thus delivering a superior digital customer experience is no longer an option but an expectation of the modern-day consumer.

Balancing tradition and technology

Luxury brands have always been known for their timeless elegance and rich heritage, but as the world changes, they must adapt to stay relevant. Millennials and Gen Z represent a significant shift in how luxury brands are marketed. These digitally-savvy generations have grown up with technology and expect luxury brands to keep up. To meet their high standards, popular luxury brands embrace technology and storytelling to provide personalized, unforgettable experiences. From virtual try-ons to digital shopping assistants, brands like Ralph Lauren and Gucci have invested in developing digital platforms to deliver new ways of connecting with customers. 

They have, of course,  also embraced social media to reach these younger generations and have created content that appeals to their interests. Creating unique, authentic content worth sharing encourages loyal and prospective clients to engage in online interactions themselves. Of course, when brands misstep, they can go viral for the wrong reasons and damage their reputation.

As part of specialized master’s programs like EMiLUX, students learn how to use immersive techniques to curate memorable digital experiences and create consistent cross-channel stories. However, becoming an expert in all things digital is an impossibly high goal. What’s more attainable is to come away with the knowledge to brief outside agencies effectively. (01:36)

Digital innovation and storytelling are essential components of a successful luxury brand strategy. Brands must invest in technology and data to better understand their customers and provide tailored experiences. However, it is not just about digital, as the in-store experience remains crucial and must be integrated with the online experience. In the end, it’s about finding the perfect balance between the timeless elegance of tradition and the cutting-edge innovation of technology to tell a brand’s story.

Share this article:
RSM Banner Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University A