In this guest post, Carat strategy director Alice-Maree Raitt (lead image), takes a look at ‘quiet luxury’ and how FMCG brands can win from it in these tough cost of living times…
After many trips around the Sun, I’ve seen the pendulum of trends swing back and forth a number of times. As we continue to tread through the cost-of-living crisis and look around at what’s now not only considered recession-proof but also cool, you might hear the term Quiet Luxury thrown around.
Don’t know what Quiet Luxury is? Congratulations, you mustn’t be chronically online and have healthy boundaries with TikTok. Let me explain.
Quiet Luxury is out with maximalism, big logos, and excess to signal status. And in with minimalism and simplicity because as they say money talks while wealth whispers.
Two examples of Quiet Luxury commonly referenced are from HBO’s Succession. The first is in season 3 when a nothing special $AU807 baseball cap worn by Kendall Roy, viewers were blown away that an item so easily replicated could cost so much. And then later in season 4, the opposite of Quiet Luxury was defined when Cousin Greg’s date wears a Burberry tote bag which Tom called ‘ludicrously capacious’ for its loud, identifiable print.
Of course, we see examples of Quiet Luxury outside of the fictional world. If you search the term you’ll find endless links to listicles on the celebrities and designers doing it best and how to spot them. While few can afford the brands that follow suit, decoding it and replicating it is participation in the trend.
However, can FMCG brands take the principles of this prestigious trend and apply them to the MGB masses?
I say, yes! Simply by dialling up the three qualities of Product, Persona & Prompt.
First things first, you need to be able to back what’s inside the package.
Designers winning in Quiet Luxury are made from the best of the best and take their time to craft it. For FMCG this means highlighting your superior quality through premium ingredients. Do you win on taste and exceptional flavour or are you uniquely efficacious in a functional space?
Next, persona is about how you position your brand.
The persona of Quiet Luxury is often embodied by old-money. How this translates to the grocery aisle isn’t necessarily about being stuffy and traditional but rather acknowledging your heritage makes you timeless, you don’t need to jump up and down about how great you are because you always have been.
Finally, the way you prompt consumers may be the most important and the most challenging to land. The success of Quiet Luxury has been embedded in the principle of ‘if you know, you know’, it’s a whisper that only insiders understand. This isn’t about a widespread campaign that directs people on the path to purchase but rather creates desire through affluent tastemakers to grow demand.
Merideth Dairy is an example of bringing Quiet Luxury to grocery. From the way they demonstrate their heritage of 30-plus years as a family-owned business to their quality through imagery of happy little goats frolicking across the evergreen farmland.
Prompt is where Meredith Dairy really delivers above the rest. We rarely see an above-the-line campaign however any tastemaker is aware that Meredith Dairy is best on shelf. Through partnerships with the likes of Go-To Skincare and local activations on the weekend of Meredith Music Festival win on awareness and trial amongst thought leaders who quickly spread the word.
Not every brand will be the right fit for this trend but those who can unlock these elements will reap the benefits of recession-proof luxury.
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