How Bentley Markets Itself as the Top Luxury Car Brand

They don’t build cars — they build status

Photo by Cam Bowers on Unsplash

Founded in 1919 and known as one of the oldest car manufacturing companies on the planet, Bentley cars are a symbol of luxury.

How did this old brand become a symbol of luxury?

This is the question that came to my mind last week when I browsed websites to check the price of luxury cars to calculate how long I need to work to earn enough money to own one of them.

The cheapest one in Australia costs around $177,000 for the Bentley Bentayga. This is around $27,000 higher than the average salary of a CEO in Australia.

After a week of research about Bentley’s marketing strategy, I figured out four interesting and very important lessons about the way this brand markets itself as a luxury manufacturer.

Before we talk about the four marketing lessons we can learn from this brand, let’s have a quick look at the number of sales.

In 2019, this brand increased worldwide sales by 5% to 11,006 cars. This is also the seventh consecutive year that Bentley sold over 10,000 luxury cars.

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Source: Bentley announced sales by region/country during 2018–19

If we just assume that all customers will buy the cheapest Bentley at $177,000 (but actually, many people are ready to pay millions of dollars to have a custom Bentley car), the total sales value will be $1,770,000,000 (at least for 10,000 cars).

This is a number any luxury brand wants to achieve.

So what does Bentley actually do to create its great position in the luxury car market, and keep growing consequently for seven years?

1. A Global Brand With an Optimized Concept for Each Market

This is the first thing I found out about the way this brand successfully markets itself globally.

You can recognize it when you check the official Bentley website, where it has three language options for customers to choose: English, Chinese, and Russian.

For each language you choose, different web formats and types of cars will appear with the background. It helps to create a familiar feeling for the customer when seeing the image of a Bentley on the road in China, or parking at a yacht port in Russia.

With three languages, Bentley can satisfy the demands of their potential clients from the three biggest markets: countries where they speak English (mainly UK, America, Europe), China, and Russia.

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Source: Bentley official website, the Chinese version

Normally, the toughest part for a brand to go global successfully is from understanding the culture and building its image to suit the demand of their potential clients in that specific market.

Bentley did this very well with different versions of products being optimized and introduced to different markets.

Bentley Has Been Closely Associated With the Hollywood Film Industry

Luxury cars are an integral part of Hollywood movies.

With the high demand for luxury, featuring images in movie scenes has the ability to reach hundreds of millions (even up to a billion) people worldwide.

Sponsoring for Hollywood movies is an excellent marketing strategy that Bentley has been doing for years.

Bentleys appearing in The Fast and the Furious film series help bring the luxury brand to audiences and make it become the desire of many people when seeing their favorite actors drive Bentley cars.

And it also helps to emphasize a secret message to the audience that “if you want to look fancy and top-notch like the actor in the movie, you must have a Bentley in your garage.”

3. Bentley Has Built Up a Franchise Network Across the World

Bentley doesn’t sell directly, it sells through the franchise system.

So if you want to be a Bentley dealer in your country, you must belong to the Bentley Dealer Network.

By using this method, it makes the Bentley brand look harder to buy because you can’t buy it like a normal car in the store. You need to go through a dealer and normally you’ll book months ahead before receiving it.

It also helps the brand reduce problems and marketing fees when selling directly to customers. This is because the dealers who belong to Bentley’s franchise system will work directly with the customer and solve all the problems related to the customer’s demand before sending the car request to the factory.

4. Using Social Media As Visual Channels to Promote the Luxury of the Brand That Evokes the Desire to Own the Luxury Car

Bentley has a great strategy for digital marketing.

From a stunning website, which is very interactive and interesting for viewers, to active accounts on all big social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

On Instagram alone, the brand has nearly nine million followers while on Facebook, Bentley has over two million.

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Source: Bentley’s official Instagram

The brand uses optimized content to suit different platforms, and they update daily.

So when you go to Facebook on Thursday, you will see a different image or video about Bentley compared to the content they published on Instagram on the same day.

This strategy helps the brand get the attention of potential customers more often when it updates daily as well as running ad campaigns on these platforms.

And although most of their followers on social media are young people (Millennials and Gen Z) who may not be able to afford the luxury car yet, the frequency of the brand on social media lets them know Bentley is a symbol of success.

So when these groups get older and earn more money in several years, the first car they think about when deciding to buy a luxury car will be Bentley. This method is known in marketing as the AIDA model (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action).

It means Bentley builds its strong image on social media for future clients. Then, it starts to build the interest and desire for Bentley models with videos, images, and visual content for these potential clients before leading these people to make a purchase later on.

Takeaway

These are four important lessons we can learn from Bentley’s marketing strategy.

1. A global brand with an optimized concept for each market.

2. Bentley has been closely associated with the Hollywood film industry.

3. Bentley has built up a franchise network across the world.

4. Using social media as visual channels to promote the luxury of the brand that evokes the desire to own the luxury car.

This is a great combination of traditional marketing and modern marketing strategies, using the main theme of the luxury of Bentley to spread the message of wealth and desire all over the world.

And if you want to market your product or service to a higher level (globally), these are great marketing lessons that you can learn from one of the top luxury brands — Bentley.

Written by

Grad master “Global Media & Comm”-Melbourne Uni | The Startup, The Ascent, Better Marketing, AoA, ILLUMINATION | Writer in Marketing, Business, Personal Growth

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