May 14, 2020

Why now is the time for premium

A view from our wealth team

Author:
Torie Bold, EVP
Be more premium, not less. This means not just looking, but also acting more valuable. Be bold.

Quality customer experience and affordable indulgences are as relevant as they’ve ever been


What does premium actually mean?

Premium is about belief, a sense of desire and allure beyond simple rational realities.

So why would thoughts about premium be sensible at a time when we’re in a transitional state, heading towards a destination we have no real sense of? A new normal will emerge and what’s clear is it won’t be as before. It’ll be one where once again, like post-2008, the purse strings will be collectively tightened. Premium?

Looking back to the post-2008 financial crisis it’s clear that distinctiveness will be a crucial factor in riding the wave of transition better than others. In times like this you definitely don’t want to be a middle-of-the-road brand. And if you disagree, you’ll likely find your consumers flocking to discount and house-brands at one end of the spectrum and – now here’s the kicker – premium labels at the other.

So, actually rather than a time for staring into the bottom of a glass, it’s one for better decisions. Read the tea leaves, actually don’t bother, look at the evidence. We’ve been here before and in evidence there is a real opportunity for brands who can rise up. Change the game.

There are opportunities for brands to develop their positioning and become an affordable indulgence. Doing this, whilst also developing a clear focus on giving something back, offers a real chance right now to have a winning strategy. It might mean a real pivot, mean acting entirely out of category, but – crucially – not out of character.

We are in a world where a chocolate bar can meet the same basic need – impulsive indulgence – as a massage ordered on a beauty app. At this time many see chaos and don’t know how, or if, to act. In many senses there are no rules, other than to focus on the need and delivering on a complete customer experience.

It’s a time to be brave though. If that means building a premium experience around something that doesn’t yet exist, now’s the time to build it.

But also, think. Be more premium, not less. This means not just looking, but also acting more valuable. Be bold.

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