The language of luxury

Luxury is a universal concept, but the meaning of luxury itself is changing. The availability of new technologies and the power shift to younger and more diverse demographics are pushing high-end brands to look at the way they talk about themselves, as well as how and where they do it.

What matters most? A Latino millennial’s view on luxury  

Owning a pair of the latest on-trend, high-end shoes?  That might sound great to a lot of us. But, what will likely make a millennial even more excited is a nice dinner paired with cocktails or a weekend getaway trip. In fact 78% of millennials would choose to spend money on a desirable experience or event over making an expensive purchase. Furthermore, Hispanic millennials in particular “are ahead of this curve as they are embracing this new status by choosing access (through companies such as Citibike and Zipcar) over ownership, because, it is the experience that matters not the object itself.” This is particularly fascinating considering Hispanics make up 20% of the millennial population, and this number is only growing.

Luxury on demand

Technology has made luxury available on demand for millennials. Here is what a luxurious experience might look like through the eyes of a millennial:

Close up shop at work for the weekend > sneak in a quick cat nap > get dressed for the night > request an Uber via a smartphone> meet close friends at a nice restaurant for dinner and cocktails (most likely using a Groupon found via mobile, as this allows us to dine at nicer and more posh restaurants) > request a Black Car Uber > end the night in some form of dancing, this could be live music, our favorite club, or a local bar. Although one material item made its way onto my ideal night of luxury, the bulk of it is experience based. 

While younger Latinos love “living la vida luxe”, other segments within this market still indulge in status-affirming high-end purchases. Latinos have money and they are spending it.

Se habla luxury

For a long time, language has played a part in the messaging strategy of marketing experts. For example, in Mexico and other countries in Latin America, some brands create their ads in English. This allows them to make a broad nod to exclusivity, while delivering a message with surgical precision to a very specific demographic. Some may even believe that marketers are leveraging malinchismo by having their clients speak in a language other than Spanish.  Similarly, in the US, it is not uncommon to see luxury brands from perfumes to watches and cars, mix French or Italian accents or phrases within their messaging.

Luxury brands have caught up and are now successfully speaking Spanish and even Spanglish to their Latino customers, even beyond obvious products that require a linguistic “designation of origin” or in-language endorsement, such as tequila or coffee. For example in social media, 90% of the most successful posts for a luxury spirits brand are those that strategically mix English with Spanish.

Language counts, timing counts and the medium counts as well: marketers have learned that they can effectively reach their target consumer by intersecting niche passion points with main interests. It is all about harnessing the power of a message that resonates at a very personal level and delivering it where your target is. If your consumer is a mobile-forward Latino, warm up your bilingual skills and try to reach them on their phone.

Shawn Savage, senior engagement specialist, Epsilon also contributed to this post.