I recently came across a speech by the son of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, Alexandre Arnault, who describes the very classic brand Tiffany and Co., where he now works as an EVP:
We try to be super accessible. We want to be a place where everybody can get in the store and find something for themselves. I like to say you can go in and spend 200, 2,000, 20,000, 200,000, 2 million, 20 million. Name one brand where you have such an array of spend.
Everyone’s welcome, whether they’re spending, 200 to 20 million pounds. And that’s one of the greatest characteristics of the brand. So, yeah, it’s really what we’re trying to build.
Out of curiosity, I checked out what Tiffany was selling for $20 million, and it’s the World’s Fair Necklace, in its High Jewelry category. This sterling silver, pearl, pendant comes in at $325. (A reminder that Tiffany is a luxury brand; by contrast, this one at Etsy costs $18.)
If a consumer brand (which sells products at the $200 or $2,000 price point) aspires to be in a similar position as Tiffany and Co. (and which wouldn’t?), but doesn’t have nearly two centuries of brand legacy, they’ll need to figure out how to build out their own ways to make products for luxury (the $20,000 to $20 million dollar price point). A few days ago, I described Yeezy as a turnkey luxury brand:
Luxury brands are the way of the future (better margins, stronger branding, improved longevity, cultural relevance, increased desirability—I want to explain this more in another piece!); every business will need to be or own an upscale brand, the same way that Toyota has Lexus, and Honda has Acura.
In other words, working with Yeezy enables corporations like Adidas and Gap to essentially develop their own luxury brands through mind-melding with Yeezy’s product understanding (see the Yeezy-Adilette slide conflict), as well as Yeezy’s halo effect.
There’s a similar concept in business software, which basically involves business-to-consumer companies selling to enterprises for exactly the same reason; you and I may pay USD $25 per month for the basic version of Shopify, but a corporation could pay literally 80x that for Shopify Plus (not to mention much more in transactions).
If you’re working as a creator, you don’t just need 1,000 true fans, 100 true fans, or 10 true fans. You need all of them; some of them will pay at the $200 price points, and a few others will be able to pay at the $20,000 price point or higher—make sure you have products and services that can add that level of value. Elevate your creative work.
On a related note, Joe Duncan responded to the recent piece I wrote about Medium, and in turn I responded to him with an idea:
Medium will basically be a discovery platform, the opportunity would be to support creators in making money with their expertise—coaching (a-hah!—the incoming CEO also leads a coaching platform), books (like Thought Catalog), merch, etc.
Basically, one strategy for creators is to set up and sell an array of products and services—books for $15, courses for $200, a platform for $10,000 per month (like AxiosHQ!), etc.—to make the most of the opportunities available to them. In order to do this, you need to figure out how to own your marketing!
In situations like this, low-priced content like books are merely the sample for the higher margin and higher value products and services.