The luxury editor’s guide to high end content

Appealing to a discerning audience of high net worth individuals takes attention to detail and an exceptional production value. Private Edition magazine editor Catherine Davis shares these tops tips to nailing it.

It’s no secret that catering to the HNWI (high net worth individual) audience requires content marketers to push the boundaries in originality, authenticity and quality. Vincent Bastien, co-author of The Luxury Strategy argues that to cater to this audience, traditional marketing principals alone won’t garner ROI, and that all aspects of your marketing need to be reconsidered. The luxury strategy “aims at creating the highest brand value and pricing power by leveraging all intangible elements of singularity, i.e. time, heritage, country of origin, craftsmanship, man-made, small series, prestigious client etc” and is the most efficient strategy in this market. Private Edition is a brand that has successfully catered to the HNWI audience for eleven years and understands this market’s need to find meaning in their purchases and experiences. Editor-in-chief, Catherine Davis shares her insights.

What informs the content you feature in Private Edition and how do you ensure it appeals to your audience?
Private Edition has been covering what matters most to our discerning and affluent audience, showcasing South Africa’s and the world’s finest products, services and experiences through both editorial and advertising. The brand embraces every aspect of fine living, unexpected bespoke service and intriguing inventions and interests. The brand, in print and digital, speaks to a reader whose strong purchasing power is matched by an understanding of the choices available to them. The luxury market – the space in which high net worth individuals play – is illusive and tricky to understand because they seek intrinsic value – space to breathe, an unforgettable and often inaccessible experience tracking a snow leopard in the Himalayas or the thrill of lapping a McLaren at a private racetrack. The top sector anchor themselves this way, seeking out meaning to their wealth.
Make no mistake, this market loves a monogrammed handbag, a villa in France for annual holidays or a bespoke Bentley for Sunday drives in the country too, but that’s not all it’s about. It’s tempting for marketers to dabble in the luxury end of the market but what happens more often than not is that they adopt a glitzy ‘spray and pray’ approach hoping that the luxury audience will notice them. But without taking into account the nuances of the market, without really understanding that it’s a moving target too, they miss by a mile. The trick is patience, knowledge of territory and instinct.

For this audience, execution matters a great deal. What measures do you put in place to make sure both content and visuals are of the highest standards?
Private Edition is glamorous, and revels in the luxury of detail. An engaging mix of local and international writers, photographers and illustrators create and curate thought- provoking features, insightful profiles and insider information and inventions, with a discerning readership in mind. The magazine pages remain printed on exceptional paper and, in an era of formulaic content production, our stories and design are original and intriguing. Private Edition is in its eleventh year – we’re here for the long game – and we’ve never cut corners in terms of content or production quality. We’ve defined what real premium publishing looks like, and our readers desire it and advertising clients want to be aligned to that.

How do you steer clear of the contrived?
It can be tempting to splash a lot of expensive things on the pages of the magazine or online but this market also reveres integrity. Luxury goods should tell a story, encourage a little exploration, a little indulgence and some quirk. And on Private Edition, we don’t just focus on international brands but also celebrate the success stories of local provenance such as Singita, Trevyn McGowan and Okapi – there’s a desirable uniqueness to African luxury because there’s nothing tired or overworked about it.

Why is it so important for luxury brands to translate their offering in the digital space?
Moving into the digital space has been tricky for the really premium luxury brands. This market segment has high expectations: they want bespoke products, personal and attentive service, an authentic buying experience. They don’t want to be part of the crowd.

Last year, McKinsey reported that 80% of luxury sales are now influenced by online, highlighting the important role digital plays within a luxury purchase. In order to meet the demands of the affluent and maintain their niche, premium brands must go above and beyond the standard mobile commerce tender. ‘You may like’ is not good enough for these customers, and brands must ensure their online shopping presence meets the high calibre service set in bricks and mortar stores. Brands need to focus on communicating the luxury look and feel, and story, of their brand while delivering the fast, effective purchase methods. The same principles that have always applied need to stand: keeping the customer experience focused solely on amplifying the exclusivity, quality and authenticity of the brand. Facebook and Instagram – because they are so visual – can be instrumental in offering glimpses of premium products, initiatives and campaigns to audiences for whom the luxury lies in the details.

What are your top 3 tips for luxury content marketers?

  1. Make sure you are actually reaching the HNWI market. What makes Private Edition’s print magazine and digital newsletter distribution unique is our exclusive databases. Many of the print copies are addressed directly to HNWIs, and we work very closely with our strategic advertising partners and their clients too.
  2. This audience plays in the rarefied air of innovation, craftsmanship and custom design – whatever you’re marketing needs to offer those assurances.
  3. Spread your product thinly and never discount in tough times – this is a market that doesn’t respect weakness.

If you need a refined luxury content marketing strategy, or the production of a steady stream of luxury content for your brand, get in touch with us.

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