Article

Greig Holbrook
Greig Holbrook 9 May 2017

Being British: The Luxury International Opportunity For Brands

British luxury brands are much sought after globally, with British culture and the products associated with it often viewed extremely favourably by consumers around the world. Opportunities to expand into new markets are extensive, but there are hurdles to overcome.

Global management firm McKinsey recently found that 57% of British luxury brands are not investing enough in e-commerce. That’s a worrying statistic, as e-commerce -  and particularly international e-commerce - offer an important growth opportunity for British luxury brands.

More than translation

Traditionally, marketing to new countries online largely focused on little more than simple translation. Today, brands recognise that much more than this is required -  it requires cultural localisation - and nowhere more so than in the luxury sector. The investment required to purchase luxury goods means that consumers have higher expectations of luxury brands to deliver slick brand messaging wherever they are. Success in a new market requires an effective digital marketing strategy, which must be shaped by genuine, informed and far reaching understanding of that individual market. Everything from perceptions of non-local brands, nuances of local culture and device preference for researching and purchasing products, must be considered.

What does it mean to be British?

Working with our LIME (Local In-Market Expert) network we looked at attitudes towards shopping for luxury goods from the UK. Focusing on selected countries where e-commerce opportunities for luxury brands are strongest, we examined the options for British luxury brands and the value of promoting Britishness as part of marketing to different international markets.

While a brand’s Britishness is commonly viewed as an asset, this value isn’t universal, and shouldn’t be taken for granted, or overly relied upon. Lei, a LIME in China, stated, “Most Chinese people don’t know the origin of luxury brands.” There is a significant market for luxury products in China with a growing aspirational middle class. Local insight on areas like product preferences, seasonal trends, payment and delivery expectations should drive any strategy ahead of national origin.

In other markets, such as South Korea, the ‘Made in Britain’ label is a particularly strong asset for traditional brands. Sun, a LIME in South Korea, said: “In general, ‘British’ means high quality and prestige as people in South Korea associate the label with heritage and authenticity.” That said, similar problems apply as “Many British brands are not recognised as ‘British’ in South Korea.” So, emphasising the Britishness of your brand in this market will help differentiate it from other international and local brands.

By contrast, in Russia it is product quality, rather than origin, that should be emphasised to drive r brand growth. Anton, a LIME in Russia, commented, “I’m afraid the UK is not connected to luxury in the minds of average Russians.” A focus on other brand attributes and delivering a consistently premium brand experience across all retail channels will be important for luxury brand awareness and development.

Poland is a different story.  One of our LIMEs, Alicja, said, “In Poland, consumers perceive British clothes and shoes to be of very high quality.” So in Poland emphasising Britishness is a shorthand way of proving product quality for clothing brands. 

Looking at the countries we reviewed, it is the countries with emerging luxury markets, such as South Korea and Poland, that express a more favourable attitude towards Britishness, while in the more established more competitive luxury markets, like Russia and China, the emphasis is more on demonstrating product quality.

Localised marketing for luxury success

The feedback from our LIME network clearly demonstrates the variation in perceptions of Britishness from market to market. The insights, both positive and negative, need to be taken into account to deliver more successful digital marketing campaigns internationally. ‘Britishness’ is just one example of the how perceptions can differ for the same brand depending on location and local culture. Understanding how your consumers behave online – how they search online, what products they are looking for and how they prefer to purchase, for example – will contribute to a successful culturally localised marketing strategy, which builds brand awareness and drives e-commerce growth.

Read Oban International’s luxury ecommerce report here.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
14 Amazing Examples Of Brands Killing It With Facebook Ads

14 Amazing Examples Of Brands Killing It With Facebook Ads

How do you design the perfect Facebook ad that converts? A lot of people will start throwing money at Facebook, but not see any success. This comes either because they don’t have a proper strategy for their Facebook ads or their ads are not well designed. But for those brands which have a good strategy and work hard to test and refine their advertising, Facebook ads can generate huge profits. And we’ve found 14 of such examples.

Luisana Cartay
Luisana Cartay 11 December 2017
Read more
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Although the trend of a Business to Business portal is not new but the evolution of technology has indeed changed the way they function. Additional digital trading features and branding has taken the place of traditional outreach methods to get in touch with targeted buyers or sellers.Here are some of the best and fastest growing global B2B platforms that are helping thousands of businesses in the world to grow and reach their international and local clients.

Salman Sharif
Salman Sharif 7 July 2017
Read more
Collection Of The Best Email Testing Tools Online

Collection Of The Best Email Testing Tools Online

Don’t be afraid of email testing. There are many free or freemium tools online that can help you with testing your SPAM score, deliverability and even the rendering of your email. We feature 30 email testing tools in this article. Check out the complete list!

Roland Pokornyik
Roland Pokornyik 31 October 2016
Read more