The Psychology of Marketing Elite Brands: What Marketers Get Wrong


Elite brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Rolex do an extraordinary job marketing their brands, which is why they are dominant within their respective industries and will continue to do so. However, the marketings strategies behind these elite brands didn’t happen by luck or chance, but through harnessing the power of psychology.

Don’t get me wrong, the products these brands create are nothing to gawk at. They are superior products that spare minimal expenses in sacrifice of quality, if any. To create an actual Rolex or a Ferrari yourself is not impossible, but the problem that arises is how do you sell your own high-end elite products from your own brand the same way these brands sell them? The answer to this question is psychology and branding. Many people (and marketing agencies) who have never worked with elite brands do not understand the many concepts that are strategically deployed by these brands to create the illusion of “unattainable luxury”.

Before you start creating or marketing an elite brand, there are some things you need to know about how these brands use the power of psychology to place their brands above and beyond, and within a world that only the blessed have ever entered.


Elite Brands Are Innovators

Elite brands are elite because they create a product or service that is beyond the normal. That could be in terms of quality, materials, design, or functionality. First and foremost, an elite brand offers something that is “different” from what is considered ordinary, which is the initial first step that elite brands take to separate themselves from your basic products or services. Because these brands are different and would be considered “innovators”, the mindset develops that they really don’t care about what regular people think. They are the first to boldly enter a market with these “out-there” products, and they control what is in style, what is in fashion, and what elite luxury really is.


Purposeful Scarcity and Creating Demand

One thing you’ll notice about elite products is that there aren’t very many of them. Meaning, most regular people don’t have them. They’re scarce, and rarely seen. When a regular person sees a Rolls Royce, they take photos and they send it to their friends and family. A regular person that you or I know doesn’t drive around in a Rolls Royce. A product like a Rolls Royce is exclusive, expensive, highly-regarded, and are rarely seen. This is no mistake. These brands severely limit production while simultaneously increasing prices to purposefully skyrocket demand. Last year, Rolls Royce produced around 3,500 cars, while Chrysler reported producing 3,250,000 cars. Rolls Royce didn’t produce 3,500 cars last year because they couldn’t produce more. They only produced 3,500 because only 3,500 blessed people will get one.


Success Is Maintaining Brand Integrity, Not Sales Numbers

In contrast to everyday brands, elite brands believe in a different element of what success is. An everyday brand, like Adidas, needs to produce and sell a certain quantity of shoes at a set price each year or else some executive in an office building somewhere is going to be removed and replaced for the failure. The goal of an everyday brand is to increase sales, increase efficiency, and to appease the shareholders. An elite brand’s measure of success is almost the complete opposite. The goal of an elite brand is to maintain an elite status, regardless of the outcome. Salvatore Ferragamo (a luxury shoe brand) does not seek to increase production, efficiency, and to get the product in the hands of everyone for the most reasonable price possible. Their goal is to create a sense of euphoria that surround their products that people associate with elite luxury. Their goal is to maintain the integrity of the brand, at any cost. Because of the price points of Ferragamo footwear, they don’t need to sell 400,000,000 shoes to make a massive profit, but they do need to ensure that they can continue to maintain a high-level status in order to sell their products for hundreds (and even thousands) of dollars more than Adidas does.


They Want You To Settle For Less

The jedi mind tricks that elite brands play is actually amazing. They give off the illusion that they actually want you to choose the more “normal” option. This is a reverse psychology trick that drives people bonkers. To an elite brand’s defense, it does weed out the people who aren’t committed to representing the brand. If you have the notion in your head that you should buy a $80,000 sports car instead of a $575,000 sports car, then Lamborghini would rather not sell you a car. Next week, you’ll drive away from the Ford dealership in your $80,000 Ford Mustang, and you’ll be cool…but you’ll never be “Lamborghini Aventador cool”. To an elite brand, the people seen in public with their products are their advertising. If you’re not “the type”, then you shouldn’t be representing their brand. This concept reverses the action from ‘the brand needing to meet you where you need to be’ to ‘you need to step up to meet the brand’s standards’. It’s an unbelievably aggressive and amazing tactic.


You’ve Got Money…But, It’s Beyond Money

Another great explosively aggressive psychological tactic elite brands use is to take the chasing game beyond money. When your target audience is the rich and famous, you know that they all have the money to afford your $800,000 car, so how do you created demand then? Easy…exclusivity. You make it so that even if you have money, you STILL can’t buy this product. That’s how exclusive it is. For example, if you’ve saved up $500,000 for the Ferrari of your dreams, and you walk into a dealership, there’s a very good chance they won’t even sell you one. At Ferrari, you need to have previously owned a Ferrari in order to be considered to be able to purchase a new one. In many cases, Ferrari won’t even sell you a car if you’re under the age of 40. You can have the money, but it’s not enough to be ‘good enough’ to have your own Ferrari. A similar situation applies to Rolex watches. You’d think that if you had $18,000, you’d be able to walk into a Rolex dealer and buy a Rolex Daytona, but you can’t. There aren’t Rolex Daytonas in Rolex dealerships, and ordering them could take years. You’ll have to suffice with buying one in the second-hand market, which will run you anywhere from $5,000 – $15,000 ABOVE the retail price of a new Rolex Daytona. Crazy, right?


Find Out Where The “Regular” People Are, And Never Go There

When was the last time you saw a Bentley ad on CNN or SportsCenter? Never. Why? Because elite brands don’t want to even be associated with general and household brands. Elite brands sponsor elite events and only show their faces at elite places. The strategy can basically be described as never been seen where regular people can see. If you’re Bentley, you don’t want to be confused with Dove soap. They’re not even on your level. If you’re advertising an elite brand, the strategy should be to be only be seen rarely and in an exclusive light. You can’t advertise where everyone else advertises, and you need to maintain your sense of brand integrity, which is enforced through mystery and idea of unattainable luxury that is reserved for only the most exclusive few.


I Want To Market An Elite Brand, What Do I Do?

The first thing you need to do, is to understand the points above, and why they’re valid to creating the illusion that is “elite”. From there, you’ll need to ensure every move you make is precise and calculating. The word ROI and ROAS should be removed from your vocabulary, and replaced with word like influence, exclusive, and impression. Marketing an elite brand requires you to be more tactical, more cunning, more daring, and more psychological. The art-form that is marketing elite brands is one that is geared towards making a statement, rather than making a purchase. Everything you’ve learned marketing traditional brands should be thrown out the window, and you’ll need to learn how people think, how ‘elite’ people think, and how to create the illusion that your brand is out of reach of everyone and anyone. But, if you’re lucky enough to be one of the select few people in the world, you can spend your money with us and have the opportunity to represent an elite brand.

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