By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll never look at Louie Vuitton or any luxury brand the same way again because I’m going to reveal the secret reason someone pays $10,000 for a hand bag and why knowing that reason can make YOU enough money to buy 100 of them!
I’ll let you in on something the expensive luxury brands would never dare tell you.
In fact, I don’t think anybody you know has ever told you this. Yet knowing it will give you a new found clarity, and draw out a deeper confidence from within yourself you never realized you had.
We all want to feel important. More accurately stated: We want to feel more important than the person next to us (though few of us will ever admit it).
As Will Durant wrote about in his 11 volume masterpiece “The Story Of Civilization” (If you haven’t read Durant’s work you are ABSOLUTELY missing out. Prepare to have your mind blown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enJRIdmVHRE)
Anyway, as Will wrote, the human species is hardwired for competition – it is part of our biology and instincts. Even what we call collaboration is simply a higher form of competition between clusters of people competing against other clusters of people toward some common goal.
Life is competition and luxury brands know this. Comparisons and competition is why we have something called status. Without a hierarchy, status wouldn’t exist. But there is a hierarchy, there is a totem pole, and we are always looking for our place on it.
Who is a better marketer, Gary V or Frank Kern? Kobe vs MJ? Apple or Android, Canada vs Australia, my muscles vs his muscles, are her boobs better than my boobs, and on and on and on and on. I mean, the act of thinking itself is mostly the brain asking/answering questions, and making comparisons.
None of us are above it. I’ll get to the big luxury brand secret in a second but I need to setup the foundation for you – because once you really get what I am saying, you will almost instantly reach the next level as a marketer. It’s a bold claim but I am making it. Once this insight hits you, there’s no coming back – you can’t unhear this stuff!
Let’s agree that at least biologically, the human species only wants to do one thing: Survive. It’s the same with any species actually. Do you think bears are biologically designed to be happy or successful? There is no such thing as bear college. A bear does not hibernate for fun. All the bear wants to do biologically is survive long enough to make a baby so the species can live on. And the same goes with us.
Our wiring, instincts, and drives could care less if we are happy, comfortable, or own a red Maserati. It wants to survive and reproduce. Is there something more to this life spiritually? Probably, I think yes – but we still live in this world and as long as we do, we still have biological drives… and marketers know how to tap into those drives and push our buttons.
Circling back to the beginning of this post – since survival is the name of the game, and it’s the fittest who survive, it is safe to say the people with the highest status have the highest chances of survival. Higher status means more access to money, food, shelter, mates, etc…
We crave things that can raise our status and we run from things that can lower it.
The funny thing about what raises status and what lowers it in society is always the same UNDERNEATH IT ALL: Power, confidence, money, intelligence, sex appeal etc… but the surface level status markers change and they change with the times and they also change geographically, occupationally, situationally. For example…
Fat pale women were “in” a couple hundred years ago. Why? Because it meant they were well fed, ie: Rich, ie: high status. And they were pale because it meant they weren’t working in the fields like someone with low status would. Fat pale women would have been on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine!
In 2017, Asians are dying to be white in order to be high status, yet white women are dying to be tanned so they can be higher status. When they come to each other’s countries they don’t know what to think anymore. Which one is the REAL high status? Obviously there isn’t “one”. That means there’s actually NONE. Underneath it all anyway.
It’s no surprise we buy and do almost everything we do to raise our status. But on the flip side, our behavior, and risk tolerance is highly dependent on not losing the precious status we’ve already built up. We are deathly afraid to lose status – in Asia, they call this “losing face”. In many Asian cultures if you purposely make someone “lose face” they may actually murder you, or commit suicide.
Understand that one of the biggest losses in status comes from public embarrassment and criticism. The fear of being ridiculed is almost the same as the fear of death! It’s why public speaking is ranked up there with it!
This is why we conform, fit in, and stay within the herd. BUTTTTTTTTT paradoxically, we NEED to feel unique, and special. And in order to do that, we must stand out… There’s a big conflict here because that is a massive risk biologically.
Now, the reason we feel the fear is because our biology thinks we could be killed (because back in the day if you were kicked out from your small tribe, you were as good as dead), but now you just get kicked out of a Facebook group and “it sucks for a bit”.
To put it simply: Loss of status = death.
This brings me to the big secret of why people will buy luxury items even when they can buy similar alternatives for far less money. I’ll give you two reasons – the first reason is the obvious one, and the second one is the secret reason I wanted to reveal to you today.
1. We buy the right to feel superior to others, and when we compare, we can feel we are higher on the status totem pole.
2. WE BOUGHT THE BRAND NAME SO WE COULD STAND OUT YET STILL FEEL SAFE.
When people buy the bling they think they are above the possible criticism because there is safety in the high status of the item itself.
That’s why you’ll see Gucci clothing looking so outrageous yet people will NOT pay 10x less for similar fashion because it’s too risky because it’s not brand name – the luxury brand name exists to give people permission to stand out!
So the brand name is basically selling people their own self confidence back to them at a 3000% markup when all you had to do was give YOURSELF the permission to turn WHATEVER you are wearing into a brand name because the real truth is… Louis Vuitton wasn’t a douchebag, you just let him define you… you can buy someone else’s brand… You can buy Louis Vuitton… but you don’t need to be their brand… you already are the best brand in the world if you’d just own it.
Want to read part two of this series? Then pick up my newest book here.