Advertising high end products without compromising status is a delicate game

Marketing professor advocates appealing to the emotions when promoting luxury goods

Appealing to the luxury consumer is a tricky balancing act. A product needs to compare favorably with its direct competitors, but it can’t appear too similar to other items in the firm’s product line. According to a business professor at Washington University in St. Louis, it’s important for firms to use an advertising strategy that utilizes image-oriented appeals to differentiate its premium products from the rest. Premium products need to be positioned beyond the claim of “higher quality” alone.

Chakravarthi Narasimhan

Considering that advertising is one of the most important areas to allocate money, firms need to be aware of how to get the most bang for their advertising dollar. Advertising and product design strategy interact in a strategic way.

Narasimhan said premium products — through branding and advertising — need to be handled differently from the rest of the product line. The image or emotional appeal established in ads for the premium product will prevent consumers from being drawn to other items in the product line, while at the same time it will establish an effective means to attract consumers away from other brands.

Editor’s note: Professor Narasimhan is available for phone, e-mail and broadcast interviews. Washington University has VYVX and ISDN lines available free for news interviews.