What makes some people fall in love for a product and pay more just for its brand name? Let’s try to figure out…
In 1948, Alberto Minotti starts a small furniture company in his hometown called Meda, an Italian town in the Brianza district, somewhere between Lake Como and Milan.
At the end of the war, a few people begin to establish businesses in the area, taking advantage of the local tradition of carpentry and upholstery and turning it into an industry.
Going for a slow start, it was only in 1964 when Minotti started a relationship with his first designer, Gigi Radice.
The low profile of the company led by Alberto Minotti has found its way into the spirit of the Minotti furniture: the sofas blend in rather than stand out, on a true Milanese lifestyle note. Doing things quietly is the core brand DNA.
In their 70 years of existence, Minotti established themselves as a brand with a few strong and distinctive characteristics. Those characteristics are well known among their clients, and this is the unique blend their clients are looking for: high standards of aesthetics, emphasis on details and finishes, combination of traditional and contemporary elements.
The very same values can be found in the visual identity of the brand: a classic Bodoni typeface, originating from 18th century Italy. This type of font is the essence of modernism in typography, because it was adapting to the ideas found in the new era of the printing press: high contrast and clear vertical lines. Everything about the logo speaks “Italian Design”.
Things to consider when you visually communicate to a premium consumer audience
Premium products are different than low end or luxury products. A premium product defines the consumer lifestyle. When people buy a high end brand, they seek to find something that fundamentally influence their life, the way they travel, the way they work, how they eat, and so on.
A Tesla driver is not just an electric car consumer, an iPhone X buyer is not just like a regular smartphone user and a Bang & Olufsen fan is more than the average music lover. They prefer to spend more on quality. The premium client is not necessary a millionaire, so he seeks value when spending his money on a premium brand product.
Demographics show that most of the premium consumers are male (depends on the niche) but they are 35+. They know what a good quality product is, they already spent money before on a low end product or service and know the downsides. They value time and ease of mind, so building trust through good visual design is key.
Six key features of a visual identity for a premium brand
- Clean and Contemporary (read “timeless”): Nobody wants to spend a lot of money for a company that sells dated products. Most of the premium market companies roll out one or two product collections or lineups a year, so the visual style should fit the ever evolving personality of the products. The logo of a premium brand should be simple enough that it can be printed in one colour, but have enough personality to not being boring.
- History and Heritage: People like to know that your business wasn’t born yesterday and will not disappear tomorrow. Also, the brand could could leverage their geographic location for commercial success. Just like the Minotti logo, where the Italian heritage is expressed through the font characteristics.
- Lack of Abundance: Most of the logos of high end brands are quite minimal. If they sell online, they usually have a very clean and minimal layout design. Brick and mortar stores and showrooms are never crowded. This gives a general feeling that the product is not easy to reach. Also, it gives you, the consumer, the feeling that, once you become a client, you are special. Will you have any complaint, every staff member will be there for you, taking care of your problem. The design style should also be as clean as possible.
- (Almost) No discounts: High end brands almost never sell on discounts. Because their motto is price per value, discounting would mean less value, so they prefer not to devalue their brand. Discounts usually happen, but through outlet stores and mid or low end brands that are created for this purpose. In terms of design, this means no flashy “sales” signs, or striking colors. Everything is low key here.
- Advocating Beliefs: Mercedes believes in high-performance and advocates the same by investing in Formula 1 events. Choose visual keys that are not directly related to your product or service, but link to your core beliefs.
- Storytelling: Brands like Diptyque Paris have often been quoted as perfect examples of storytelling. For the 2018 Winter Collection, the brand walks its visitors through ‘THE LEGEND OF THE NORTH’, that would add magic to the holiday season.
Building a high end brand is no easy task. Visual language plays an important role in defining the brand personality, and communicating the right things to the right audience.
Profits and customer loyalty aside, cultivating a premium brand provides a sense of focus and direction, and provides great flexibility for growth and staying relevant in today changing market.