Why do some luxury watch brands provoke genuine hate?Thor Svaboe
Are you on team Rolex or team Omega? Does the horological excess of Richard Mille thrill you or make you shudder? In the world of luxury brands emotions can run deep. This week I discovered an intriguing exploration into the fickle world of consumer behaviour, in the Jing Daily newsletter and a story entitled: “Why would consumers hate your luxury brand?” It’s writtten by Glyn Atwal, an associate professor at the Burgundy School of Business in France, and with a title including “luxury” and “hate”, it immediately had me hooked.
It might seem excessive to use the H-word. But the luxury industry is all about strong brand loyalties and it turns out there’s a fine line between the polarisation brought on by the rivalries of competing brands and vehement dislike.
This football supporter attitude towards the rival team is only natural. But what are the main reasons a brand supporter can turn from a lovestruck honeymooner to a bitter divorcee?
The main issue is based on the high expectations that consumers have when purchasing a luxury product or service. If the actual product fails to meet the fevered daydream, a loving flock can quickly turn to a wolfpack. Equip said wolves with instant access to social media, and a brand will be plunged into a state of damage control. Remember the initial response to the Audemars Piguet 11.59?
Another predictor of luxury brand hate, is negative stereotyping. This tide can be quickly turned through the influx of celebrities / influencers mixed with product placement or a polarising subculture becoming associated with the brand. Few Burburry fans, for example, would have been delighted by the brand becoming championed by English football hooligans in the 1990s. Similarly if a watch brand’s long-nurtured image of family values and traditions is suddenly eclipsed by bust-down combos stacked with gaudy jewellery on a rapper’s wrist, there’s always the chance of collateral damage. Add the trend of instantly sharing dismay-campaigns on Instagram, and a brand might be doing some serious re-evaluations before their next marketing campaign.
Enjoy the rest of this thoughtful analysis on Jing Daily here.