Interview Luxury vs. Aspirational Brands
The Purpose of the Assignment
Brand management is very important to any business since the success or failure of any business depends on it. This is truer in the case of luxury and aspirational brands.
These are products that a consumer wishes or hopes to have but is currently unable to buy them. These could be precipitated by lack of money, high costs of the product and the unavailability of the products in the market. Anyway the consumer could buy them in the future if any of the factors that had hindered them from buying the products are resolved. Maybe the products become available, are cheaper or the consumer now has enough money to afford them.
These products are not essential and the consumer can do well without them. The wealth and class associated with their possession is the motivation or is the driving force for their acquisition. They are usually high priced.
In a bid to ascertain whether people understand the difference between the brands, I sought to interview Mr. Richard. He is married, lives in Los Angeles, recently graduated and on his first job. He is the average American who earns enough to take care of most of his needs. He considers himself a middle class. He is an accountant by profession. His phone number 726873729. I chose him because Mr. Richard represents the ordinary American.
These are some of the excerpts from the interview:
Section 1 Luxury Brands: Goods, Services and Experiences
Q.• •➤ What does luxury mean to you? Provide your own definition and five examples of luxury goods, services and/or experiences.
A. To me, luxury means a touch of class, something that most people want to identify with. They will spend anything to have it. These good can be fancy cars, designer perfumes, expensive suits, swimming pools, sauna, going to fist class hotels and buying expensive personal things like wristwatches, jewelry and other expensive yet not-so-necessary products and services. Luxury goods are products influenced by the society. People want to own them because of the importance the society attaches to them. When I buy a vehicle that uses little fuel, I do so an important aspect of taking care of my family’s transport needs. However when I buy a Bentley which is convertible and has only two passenger seats, I will consider these luxury. And remember I will have paid more money than I would have if I just bought a cheap and fuel-economy vehicle. I find fish aquarium and expensive mahogany office furniture necessary because of the aesthetic beauty they add to the office. Luxury services like going to five-star hotels and playing golf are unnecessary to me, at least in my view. This then begs the question of personal preferences. Of course, different people have their own definitions of luxury.
Q.• •➤ Describe a luxury brand you have bought in the past year -- were you satisfied with the purchase?
A. Last year, I had a major bonus from the accounting company I work for. I have always fancied owning a jeep. Most of them cost around $ 500, 000. So you can imagine how important it was to me. I liked the car. It was in a good condition and was exactly what I was looking for. I dreamt of taking my wife and son to trips to the coast. My friends would be happy for me, I reckoned. To me this was a great acquisition. It is luxurious driving the car in the streets. Besides its beauty, it is a road monster, fit for rough roads and terrain. I hope to drive to the mountains some day.
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Q.• •➤ Where would you shop for or buy luxury goods? Why there?
A. I do most of my shopping online. Today there are many online marketing companies. Most of my friends have bought products online, so I think they are honest. Through online I get to compare prices and pick on the best offers. It is especially convenient to me since I have an access to the Internet most of the time. I bought the jeep online through an advert I had seen earlier and decided to follow on.
“Here is my answer to this question …. “
Q.• •➤ Mr. Richard, what do you think is the driving force towards buying such expensive goods and services?
A. In my opinion, the society plays a major part in this. The society portrays the acquisition of these products as a sense of class and achievement. The media is to blame too. It depicts such fancy goods and services as necessary in the modern world. If one likes something and wants it badly enough they will do anything and everything to get them.
Section 2: Aspirational Goods, Services and Experiences
Q.• •➤ What goods, services or experiences do you consider to be Aspirational brands? Why?
A. Aspirational goods are goods that one wishes to acquire, but is currently unable to due to financial constraints, high costs of the goods and services and unavailability of the products. I hope to buy it as soon as I have the finances ready. I would consider going for a business class trip. It costs quite some money but it will be worth it considering I will be doing it for my wife and son.
Q.• •➤ Describe an aspirational product or brand that you would currently love to have if you could (but don't own yet) – why this product?
A. I like the modern clothes washer. It is electrical, efficient, and easy to operate and uses little detergent. It has an effective dryer. Clothes can be dried and ready for use in a couple of minutes. I hope to buy it as soon as I have the finances ready. I would consider going for a business class trip. It costs quite some money but it will be worth it considering the fact that I will be doing it for my family.
Q.• •➤ Did you ever motivate yourself to achieve a goal by promising to buy something special when you accomplished it? Can you describe what happened?
A. I remember I had always wanted to buy a car. It costs quite a leg and an arm. I decided to save. There are moments when I almost gave up. The long and short of it is that it took me about five years to buy the car. This is a present I had promised my wife during our wedding and I wanted to achieve it at all cost so I embarked on the saving plan that saw me fulfill an important promise to my lovely wife. I liked it. The car I bought is a powerful road machine. It is classy and trendy, just like I had always wanted.
Q.• •➤ Describe a time you purchased a good, service or experience you considered being an aspirational brand - were you satisfied with the purchase?
A. I bought this fish aquarium that cost me a whopping $1200. I had always wanted for my office. It was expensive, took me quite some time to acquire, but I must say I love the beauty it brings to my home office.
Q.• •➤ Have you ever regretted buying stuff that you did not need?
A. Yes, last October I was on a business trip to Singapore. There was this beautiful drawing of Napoleon Bonaparte of France. I like history therefore I am always in the habit of collecting historical artifacts. I have quite a collection. The seller, a vibrant and middle-aged man in his early forties had guaranteed to me that the painting was oil based. However upon reaching home, my son poured water on the painting. To my greatest shock, the painting was washed away. I have never been so disappointed in life.
Section 3: Synopsis
The interviewee, Mr. Richard is a very close friend of mine. I chose him because he is outgoing straightforward and is open-minded enough to answer the questions I asked. His attachment with machines was so evident during the interview. He has always had a thing for cars ever since we were in elementary school, right through the college and university. I usually appreciate people’s views and opinions on different subjects. In as much as we may be different in our choices and the life decisions we make, it is always important to be inclusive of different opinions. I, however, found the fact that Mr. Richard spent $ 500,000 on a jeep misplaced and misinformed. In my view he ought to have channeled this money towards a good cause, preferably an investment plan that would earn him some income. The cost of maintaining the car is high and he just had his first job. This should have waited. The idea of buying a washing machine is well placed and will save him money and time in future. Overall, the interview went on well. I was able to get timely and sufficient responses to the questions I had framed. Again, the society and the media are to blame for setting high standards for people.