Luxury and history: how to start a luxury brand without history.

This is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome for luxury brand startups and one that Opulo comes across regularly as a luxury branding agency. No matter the beauty of the design, the craftsmanship or the quality of materials used in their products, there can be no luxury brand without heritage.

History gives the luxury brand a timelessness that is irreplaceable. A sense that you are buying into something much bigger than the object itself. When you buy a piece from Cartier, you are buying a part of their 170 year history.

The first ever wristwatch was created for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary, by legendary Swiss watch manufacturer Patek Philippe in 1868. In 2019, people are paying hundreds of thousands of pounds to gain access to that direct lineage.

It’s essential to state that it’s not necessarily the age of the brand that is important here but the mythology that has been created around it.

“Writing ‘Established 1184’ does not make you luxury: it makes you old.”
The Luxury Strategy. J N Kapferer and V Bastien

So how can aspiring luxury brands established in 2019 benefit from the depth that history brings?

Reappropriation. If the story is told convincingly enough then borrowing from real historical events can instantly connect a brand to that heritage. Dom Pérignon, established relatively recently in the 1950s, borrows it’s heritage from Pierre Pérignon, a monk that created a fizzy wine that was extremely popular in the Court at Versailles in 1665. By using the monk’s name, the Dom Pérignon brand instantly gained access to that history and created a myth that all of their patrons can buy in to.

Once that connection has been made, every customer touchpoint needs to be inspired by the new found history; that means the brand identity, messaging and online presence.