Luxury car brands like Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Tesla have been delving into new product categories that have little or nothing to do with their auto brand.
But it’s been paying off in spades. These automakers have successfully tapped into lifestyle merchandising that gives buyers the quality they want with branding they desire.
Automakers, branding and quality. For example, Bentley has developed its fifth fragrance for men in two years, and also sells handbags, furniture, skis and hotel suites that bear the luxury automaker’s name. Other brands offer chess sets, shoes, sunglasses, briefcases and jewelry that bear their logos.
Why are they expanding their reach? It all has to do with aspirational branding. While a lot of people may not be able to afford a new luxury sports car, they can afford a bottle of HUMMER cologne or Ferrari Dice. They are tapping into the feel of affluence and achievement that come from the brands without owning their flagship cars – and brands are diving in.
Expanding to other items also helps these brands get a piece of the burgeoning luxury market. Industry sales in the luxury market have increased as the numbers of ultra-wealthy people in the U.S. and across the world has grown.
Although the trend may seem new, Porsche made its first steps into business as a clothier decades ago. Their high-end, minimalist clothing lines don’t feature the car companies’ logo, but show the same quality of craftsmanship and attention to design.
Trademarks for branding. In some cases, luxury branded merchandise can help companies fortify their claim in trademark cases. Since names like Ferrari and Maserati have become so popular, they are sometimes used by others for a variety of products. By expanding their product lines, luxury car brands can ensure that they keep their names active and push out any potential competitors.