How To Get Your Brand to Premium Status
What does it take for a mainstream brand to ascend to premium status? More than a mere price hike, that’s for sure. Becoming a symbol of quality, luxury and exclusivity requires carefully mapping uncharted territory. From fine-tuning your product to crafting an aspirational narrative, it’s a journey that demands astute strategy, meticulous execution and a creative flair.
We’ll explore the deliberate moves behind some of the most successful brand elevation stories. But first, let’s ground ourselves in the key principles any brand should embrace before embarking on this quest for premium appeal. This is about creating an exceptional customer experience anchored in substance, not surface alone.
Authenticity matters. Start by taking an honest look inward before making bold outward projections. Do you truly deliver on the promise of premium? If not, there’s work to be done. It’s time to build a solid foundation, brick by strategic brick.
Laying the Groundwork: Assessing Your Current Brand Position
Becoming a premium brand starts with an honest evaluation of where your brand currently stands. Conduct thorough research to understand precisely how your offerings stack up:
- Perform blind tests to gauge quality perceptions of your product or service without the influence of branding. How does unbranded feedback compare to branded evaluations? Any discrepancies indicate potential issues.
- Benchmark against competitors using concrete metrics. You needn’t be “the best” by every measure, but ensure you’re not lagging far behind aspirational peers.
- Survey customers more broadly to pinpoint problem areas. Identify specific weaknesses in quality, service, messaging or other factors influencing brand perceptions.
Once you’ve clearly diagnosed all gaps impeding premium brand potential, address them decisively:
- Don’t shy away from making substantive improvements to rectify issues. Eliminating artificial ingredients that undermine quality perceptions or revamping poor customer service are fair game.
- Recognize that half-measures won’t suffice when consumers readily notice even subtle shortcomings. Bring offerings fully up to premium standards or risk eroding authenticity.
This exercise isn’t about flashy surface-level measures that fail to fix more fundamental flaws. Lay the proper groundwork now to enable authentic premium transformation further down the road.
Crafting a Compelling Brand Narrative
With product quality assurances in place, the next critical step is crafting an emotive brand narrative that resonates powerfully with your target consumers. This requires:
- Defining your brand’s essence – the core values, personality attributes and positioning that set you apart. What makes your brand special? What does it stand for? Clearly articulate this in a succinct brand manifesto.
- Translating the narrative into tangible assets – logo, colour palette, fonts, imagery, packaging, and tone of voice guidelines. Every visual and verbal expression of your brand should reinforce the desired positioning.
- Achieving rigorous consistency across touchpoints – Messaging alignment in website copy, social posts, campaigns and internal comms is imperative. Don’t dilute impact through mixed signals.
- Establishing emotional connections via storytelling – Craft compelling narratives that tap into consumer aspirations, frustrations or ideals. Make them identify with your brand on a personal level.
- Conveying premium cues visually – sleek minimalism, refined colour tones, high-grade materials, elegant typography. Every design detail counts in elevating perceptions.
This branding exercise requires specialized expertise to execute effectively. Seek assistance from brand strategists and designers to ensure your narrative truly resonates. The impact of getting this right? An authentic, clearly defined brand identity that emotionally bonds consumers to your premium value proposition.
Strategic Pricing and Distribution
Elevating brand perceptions hinges considerably on strategic pricing and distribution strategies.
For FMCG brands, meticulous consideration of the following is vital:
- Shelf positioning in retail outlets. Products should occupy premium eye-level placements, never the bottom shelves.
- Representation in upscale retail chains over discount stores.
- Avoiding deep price promotions that erode premium equity.
Similarly for service providers and digital businesses:
- Judicious selection of third-party selling platforms, opting for those aligning with premium brand values.
- High-quality imagery and detailed product descriptions on e-commerce sites.
- Pricing that maps to competitor brands in the aspirational bracket, not lower tiers.
The cumulative impact of pricing, channel and retail presence conveys subtle but significant cues that either elevate or undermine premium brand perceptions. As such, these variables warrant careful strategic alignment with overarching brand positioning. Rather than reacting to market pressures, dare to adhere to pricing integrity. Back this with distribution strategies scaling the very outlets and platforms befitting your premium brand vision. Execute this well and you substantially strengthen your brand’s premium equity and positioning.
Communicating Quality: The Nuances of Premium Messaging
Shouting from the rooftops about product superiority has proven highly effective for iconic brands like Heinz and Mercedes-Benz in sustaining decades-long premium equity. The core message itself is pivotal. Yet equally vital are subtler dimensions like communication tonality, style and medium.
When imbuing a premium brand image, consider the following:
- Messaging should consistently reinforce quality, innovation or category leadership claims through hard evidence and customer testimonials.
- The tone of voice across communications must align with brand values – be it trust, passion, prestige or dependability. The language, style and tenor of expression should all sync accordingly.
- Production budgets for campaign assets – films, websites, retail merchandising – must reflect premium standards. Low-quality, DIY aesthetics risk undermining positioning.
- Brand ambassadors and influencers should credibly match, or even exceed, the aspirational status of the brand itself. Prevent perception gaps through prudent selection.
In today’s crowded landscape, clearly articulating rational superiority alone fails to sustain a resonant mind-space. That’s why smart premium branding obligates meticulous consideration of not just what you say but how you say it.
The most enduring luxury equities thus arise from messaging and imaging that consistently reinforce one another to imprint indelible identities. When rational and emotional brand associations coalesce through this orchestration, premium perceptions reach ascendancy.
Uplifting Brand Equity Through Premium Sub-Brands
Introducing upmarket subsidiary brands or special editions allows mainstream labels to tangibly demonstrate superior quality while also elevating overall brand equity.
This strategy essentially entails:
- Launching a sub-brand positioned as a premium offering catering to discerning consumers seeking a more indulgent experience.
- Rolling out special edition variants boasting upgraded formulations, bespoke ingredients or finishing touches that enhance appeal.
- Ensuring the parent brand benefits through association with these premium offshoots in a halo effect.
The key advantage is that this approach allows brands to stretch their pricing potential and access premium segments without diluting their core identification.
Consider examples across categories:
- Tesco grocery chain successfully woos high-end shoppers through its Tesco Finest range spanning food and drink.
- Johnnie Walker whiskey cements prestige credentials via super-premium small-batch Green Label blend.
- American Express burnishes its image among affluent users via the invitation-only Centurion/Black Card program.
- Emirates Airlines underpins its full-service carrier status through continually upgrading and marketing Business Class as an ultimate travel indulgence.
The common thread? Premium sub-brands that attract luxury custom while also casting parent brands in a more aspirational light devoid of mass-market connotations. For mainstream labels, it’s an invaluable brand-building strategy that stimulates both sales growth and equity ascent.
When Rebranding Becomes the Only Option
Rebranding represents the most dramatic transformation a company can undertake – a step only justified when current brand equity severely constrains potential.
Why consider such a disruptive move? In cases where:
- Despite exhaustive efforts, the brand remains pegged as a lower-tier player unable to shake negative connotations. Consumer perceptions prove stubbornly entrenched.
- The existing brand name actively fuels consumer disinterest or disdain. Too much baggage accrues over time.
- Management recognizes rebranding’s risks but calculates that long-term gains outweigh short-term pain.
Assuming those conditions apply, rebranding may offer a fresh start. However, the decision requires meticulous planning and flawless execution. Half-measures invite failure.
Carefully evaluate if your brand qualifies, given rebranding’s hazards, including:
- Massive financial investment, with ROI uncertain.
- Losing brand equity accumulated over the years.
- Confusing loyal customers, partners and staff.
- Ceding ground to competitors during the transition.
Most importantly, address why your brand underperforms before rebooting. Revisit preceding brand-building steps around perfecting product quality, rational benefits and emotional resonance. Refine, don’t reject, your brand narrative.
Only after optimizing all facets, yet still falling short, should you pursue full-scale rebranding. Succeeding means completely shedding past brand associations – and convincing customers your new incarnation offers superior value. It’s the marketing equivalent of a heart transplant.
The decision carries monumental stakes. But executed successfully, rebranding hands struggling brands a lifeline just as extreme as the procedure itself.
The Long Road to Premium
Elevating brand image resembles a marathon more than a sprint. No shortcuts exist; only determination paired with keen strategy promises success.
What roadmarks guide companies on this arduous but rewarding journey?
It starts from within. Probe your offer’s tangible strengths and weaknesses without illusion. Ask if quality and performance meet premium standards. Seek brutal honesty from customers and staff.
Once confident in your product, craft an inspiring brand narrative that touches hearts as well as minds. Map distinctive brand identity elements that intuitively signal premium qualities.
Strategically showcase your offer where high-end buyers congregate, at prices reflecting peer brands. Lavish care on merchandising, avoiding bargain-bin connotations.
Consistently extol your standards of excellence through messaging aligned with brand identity across all touchpoints.
Seed premium perceptions by launching upmarket sub-brands or special editions. Allow their glitter to brighten the parent brand.
Lastly, should all else fail, rebranding should be a last resort – if legacy brand baggage proves too heavy to haul further.
Again, elevating brand perceptions resembles a marathon, not a sprint. With strategic commitment and flawless execution, however, even unremarkable brands can hope to achieve premium glory. Just stay the course.
Greetings! I’m Jack, founder of Scythos – where I’ve helped over 50 brands transform into unforgettable identities and stunning digital presences. As a brand strategist and creative consultant, I have over a decade of experience taking brands from wallflowers to the centre of attention.
Looking to get your branding noticed and your business thriving? Reach out anytime to brainstorm creative strategies for making your brand impossible to ignore. I love collaborating with passionate entrepreneurs to conceptualize innovative ways to connect with their audiences.
Whether you need help with a logo, website, content or entire rebrand – let’s chat! I’m always eager to share my ideas, creative concepts and expertise to help brands reach the next level. Together, we can make sure your business gets seen and heard. Follow along on social or send me a message to get the conversation started!