Knock Yourself Out and Occupy Wall Street – But Stay Away From My Toy Chest
Recent statistics show the luxury market slowing down a bit. I’ll leave the argument about “why” to economists and the crew at CNBC, but I bet it’s not because consumers no longer have a deep passion for these brands.
People may be spending a bit less until some clarity about not-so-small matters like job growth, tax rates and such become clearer post-November 6th , but that doesn’t mean they’re any less devoted to their toys. While I don’t much care for label snobs, I’ve never been embarrassed about aspiring to or owning the cars, motorcycles, boats, bikes and other fun stuff that makes me happy. Some of them are expensive, some of them aren’t – the fact is that it’s really not about the price tag, but about the emotional (and yes, physical) reactions that the products you love invoke.
I don’t really care whether you have a garage full of collector cars funded by a rich Uncle’s inheritance, or whether you’ve been saving since your first paper route for the super sport bike of your dreams. The object of your affection can be brand-new, used or a basket case ready for a decade-long restoration. If you dream about it, covet it, lust after it – you’re okay in my book. In fact, I find it much more troubling when people send signals that it’s somehow shameful to be seen in a luxury automobile (witness the recent piece about Silicon Valley’s nouveau riche by Nick Bilton in The New York Times).
Every brand marketer should aspire to cultivate an enthusiast community. You’ll find no more loyal or diverse customer base. For most enthusiasts, the cost of a product isn’t the attraction. Attend any owner’s club or other enthusiast get-together and you’ll find that ordinary demographic or sociographic divides simply don’t exist. It’s people from every walk of life sharing the thrill of driving, riding, sailing, flying or simply aspiring to that one brand that makes you want it – and want it bad.
So, to all those self-righteous types who want to shame us enthusiasts – go occupy…yourself…with something more meaningful.