Bigger isn’t always better. Especially when it comes to your brand. While bold marketing and flashy designer labels may work if you’re trying to target a certain segment of the population, well-heeled clients won’t necessarily respond well to overt branding.
That’s the finding of a new study that determined there are two categories of customers who prefer prominent branding: The newly rich and those who want to look like the newly rich.
Wealthier customers – referred to in the survey as “patricians”—particularly those who’ve been wealthy for a long time, tend to eschew bold brands in favor of “quiet quality,” usually identified by smaller logos or branding apparent only to those “in the know,” the study found.
“A significant segment of the population does not want to be branded, preferring to be understated,” said study author Joseph Nunes, marketing professor at the University of Southern California.” They are “willing to pay a premium to have ‘quiet’ goods without a brand mark.”
The study cited brands like Gucci, which uses a “distinctive bamboo” design as hinges on sunglasses, handles on purses, and bands on watches, as a subtle signal to its high-end customers. Watchmaker Breguet, the report points out, informs its clientele about “the discreet decorative details that constitute the Breguet style” including the Breguet cursive numerals and engine-turned silver dials.
While the study focused on luxury brands, its implications are broad, Nunes said. Whether it’s the branding on your company truck or the slogans on your shopping bags, there are opportunities for companies to manipulate their branding based on who they want to target.
Companies that want to broaden their customer base by appealing to both types of customers can tier their brands, having a higher-end lower profile version for customers that prefer to keep their purchasing habits quiet and a second, lower-priced brand with more overt advertising, Nunes told BusinessNewsDaily.