The five pillars of luxury copywriting in the digital age.

That luxury life.

Luxury brands have a tricky time talking to their patrons these days. Traditionally, upscale companies avoided words and used sexy, elevated imagery to communicate superiority. But that’s so Calvin Klein in the ‘90s. As digital communication becomes more central to our economic lives, it is growing ever more difficult to ignore the luxury customer’s need for meaningful verbal connection. And social media, now a necessary evil in the brand loyalty game, is an inherently casual vehicle for conversation. Which presents a problem: How does a brand create affinity for high-ticket items in the realm of LOL and OMG? It’s a conundrum every brand needs to solve in its own way, but here are a some basic principles to follow in the process:

DO NOT USE THE WORD LUXURY… You know the person at the dinner party who spends the whole evening telling everyone how fancy he is? Don’t be that guy. Leave any reference to class and money out of the conversation. Instead, let the product speak for itself. Define what, specifically, makes your brand superior. Those details will evoke a sense of supported elegance.

LIMIT USE OF PRONOUNS… One simple way to create a connection between brand and customer is to set up a strong we-you relationship in your copy. But that approach isn’t always right for high-end brands. Luxury is aspirational. Customers want you to offer them something that will elevate their status. So don’t be too buddy-buddy. Maintain mystery. Try reserving “we” for social media platforms, and then, only use it sparingly.

BE BRIEF… Empty barrels make the most noise, right? It’s nice to be friendly, but in general, chatty isn’t classy. In luxury copywriting, it’s best to make like Hemingway and just show the tip of the iceberg. Limit tweets and Instagram captions to few words. And don’t overdo it with the hashtags. Make subtle but powerful suggestions that leave the customer curious about what else lies beneath the surface. It’s the easiest way to create desire.

SPEAK WITH AUTHORITY…Millennials in particular love a self-deprecating brand voice, but that’s the wrong approach when you’re hawking a pair of Italian shoes worth more than your customer’s life. Luxury is about superiority. When you address the public, you better sound like you know your shit. A little bit of arrogance is okay in this case.

APPEAL TO EMOTION… The oldest trick in the book, but so incredibly important when you’re asking someone to lay out a couple months’ salary on a piece of jewelry. And it’s not just engagement rings we’re talking about here. You can create a deep longing for virtually any expensive item or experience. I need to believe that owning your product will make me a whole person. If I have to hijack my marital bank account to buy a coat, I’m really going to need that extra incentive.

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