One of the biggest concerns that we hear from luxury real estate marketing professionals is the fear of narrowing their niche to the top tier price range homes because it may alienate some of their friends or previous clients in lower price homes.  However, by diffusing your focus and attempting to be all things to all people, you run the risk of diluting your brand position, i.e., what your brand stands for and what you are known for.

One global luxury brand has done a masterful job of compartmentalizing its various sub-brands with their multiple price points. By identifying its brand with sports in general (beyond polo, “the sport of kings”) Ralph Lauren has managed to attract not only high net worth consumers but also those who aspire to be wealthy. 

The key here is that Ralph Lauren created separate sub-brands that stand for different things and focus on different target markets. For example, the Ralph Lauren Black Label Staor Tan Motorcross Jeans is priced at $495; their basic denim jean, sold at Macy’s, is $90. 

Yet, for some, wearing a shirt or other clothing embroidered with the ubiquitous polo pony logo has completely lost its appeal.  Apparently, a significant number of customers felt this way because Ralph Lauren made an ingenious move to lure disenfranchised customers back to the brand and keep others from switching. 

On their interactive website, you can customize their signature polo shirts, terrycloth bathrobes and other articles of clothing with YOUR OWN INITIALS instead of the pony! On certain items, the embroidered Polo logo has been moved to the bottom hem of the shirt. That way if you tuck it in it does not show.

You can choose from many color combinations of fabric and embroidered logos and several different font schemes for your initials. Once you make your shirt selection, your color choice and your font choice, it displays that combination on the model’s shirt.

Quality of manufacturing is not the question here because Ralph Lauren has built a strong reputation as a brand you can trust.  Blending in and “leaving the brand” is the issue.

In the luxury services arena, some banks have figured out how to offer two levels of service without alienating any of their customers. To accomplish this they too created sub-brands. For example, there is definitely a world of difference in the level of service between Chase Private Banking and their standard banking services.  The amount of dollars entrusted to the bank (for investment purposes with J P Morgan in this case) is what separates the two sub-brands.

There is a huge lesson here for luxury real estate marketing professionals. Bespoke (tailor made) or customized service is what your top tier customers have come to expect.  If you or your company wants to be known for more than one level of service, you must differentiate the two levels by creating sub-brands.

Crafting and developing your sub-brand is just as important as building your primary brand.  Do you need a sub-brand? 


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