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The Affluent Consumer: Brand Advocacy and Luxury

To conclude our series on affluent consumers, we are going to address the ways they advocate brands and how they view luxury. Inspiring advocacy in customers is key for brands as consumers tend to trust recommendations from their friends, family and peers more than they trust businesses themselves.

The explosion of social media and digital devices in recent years has turned a once purely transactional relationship between the brand and the consumer into consumer-powered marketing. Now, a brand is no longer what the brand says it is, but rather what the consumer says it is. According to GlobalWebIndex, 37% of affluent consumers are driven to make a purchase based off reviews from other customers. It is what the affluents tell their peers that will advertise for the brand — not advertising placed by the brand itself. This is why it is extremely important for brands to build relationships with these consumers and continue to engage with them throughout their purchase journey.

What motivates affluent consumers to make a purchase?

According to GlobalWebIndex, the primary purchase drivers for affluent consumers are convenience and monetary rewards, including free delivery, easy return policies, and coupons and discounts. These consumers are also likely to be motivated by exclusive content or services, emphasizing their need for status — the more they feel like they are valued, the better. These consumers are also more likely than the average consumer to use the “buy” button on a social network.

The affluent consumer values direct communication and involvement with brands, so it’s no surprise that a live-chat box feature to speak to a company is important for over 20% of them. Brands should consider incorporating easy ways to communicate with this group to keep them engaged while on their site. However, if a brand decides to use a chatbot to reach these consumers, it should be programmed to reflect the brand’s tone and identity, while also clearly revealing to consumers that they are communicating with technology rather than a human. These consumers are likely to prefer a more human experience, so it is important that any complex questions be directed to a customer service representative rather than dismissed by the bot.

Affluent consumers are more likely to buy a product if they know the product or company is environmentally friendly. Not only does this tie into their desire to make an impact on their community, but it also appeals to their status-seeking tendencies.

What encourages them to advocate a brand?

Rewards like discounts and free gifts top the list for brand advocacy, and affluent consumers are no different from the average internet user when it comes to taking advantage of these. However, the key to really gaining their loyalty lies in enhancing their status and emphasizing exclusivity. Affluents are more likely to promote a brand if it enhances their online reputation and if they get access to exclusive content and services. These consumers are more drawn to brands that are exclusive — those that may send out emails to top customers for exclusive looks at new products.

However, their relationship with brands goes beyond simply making a purchase — they want to actively participate. According to GlobalWebIndex, close to 30% of affluent consumers will promote a brand online if they’re directly involved or have a personal, one-on-one relationship with a brand. With this in mind, it is important that brands listen to these consumers and involve them in the process as much as possible. This may include engaging with them in product design or using them as influencers. Affluent consumers are vocal consumers who know what they want, and brands will reap serious rewards if they are able to effectively engage with them.

How do these consumers view luxury?

Age and generation play a role in how affluent consumers view, research, and buy luxury products. Older affluent consumers view luxury to be less about brand recognition and more about quality at a higher price point. They are not interested in buying luxury because it is socially labeled as such, but rather because they want high quality and longevity. These older consumers do not consider price a deciding factor and are not focused on their relationship with the brand. They use search engines to research products, but typically purchase in-store.

On the other hand, younger affluent consumers perceive luxury to be about quality, but the overall brand experience is more important. They follow luxury brands on social media, expecting not only to buy from these brands but to be entertained by them along the way. They are less concerned about brand prestige and instead look to buy from brands that speak to their values and identities. For example, they are much more willing to buy from brands that authentically back social causes. To them, luxury is more than price and status — it is how the brand makes them feel.

These consumers expect tailored interactions with brands, so the key to unlocking advocacy will lie in delivering a seamless customer experience, across all channels, with personalized content playing a vital role. Online, brands should offer personalized product recommendations based on customer purchase patterns and browsing data. In person, with more stores opening as the vaccinations roll out, we should see more exclusive in-store events and experiences designed to help boost customer loyalty.

There is massive value to be gained when customers genuinely advocate a business — their authentic opinions will hold greater sway with their personal networks than any other form of advertising. Here at The Brandon Agency, we specialize in targeting affluent consumers and are constantly finding new ways to keep up with and understand their behavior. To get started with help from our team of certified brand strategists and data-driven marketing experts, contact us today.

Haley Brandon

Haley Brandon

Analytics & Data Specialist

Haley is an Analytics and Data Specialist at TBA. Originally from Myrtle Beach, Haley got her Bachelor of Science in Financial Management from Clemson University. When Haley isn’t in the office, she enjoys long walks with her dog and being with friends and family.

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