Each day brings a new and exciting Chapter 11 filing. Chrysler doesn't plan to be profitable for at least another two years. This week, bargain shopping retailer Filene's Basement filed for bankruptcy protection.
Did you ever notice that luxury brands that have been with us since the dawn of time somehow survive economic turmoil? Ever wonder how they do it? Effective cash and product management plays a role, along with managing human capital in the most efficient way possible, but smart luxury brands have other tidy ways of staying alive.
Of course, smart search strategies play a role. With our daily brands folding like a house of cards, how can a luxury brand survive? Search alone can't save the world, but it sure helps.
Avoid the Cheap
One man's cheap is another man's pricey. On any given day, hundreds of thousands of searches are conducted for luxury products and services. Expensive vacations, handbags, jewelry, and home goods are among them. Naturally, everyone wants everything on the cheap, but search is no time to start.
Keywords, titles, and descriptions, along with landing page direction, need to work together as they always do. If you aren't selling a discounted product, however, avoid bidding on keywords associated with deep discounts or cheap anything.
While this may fly in the face of traditional thinking, remember that in a down economy, advertisers are flooding to search engine advertising. Paid search is a Mecca for advertisers who are looking for cheap conversions during hard times, but now isn't the time to cheapen your experience with misleading keywords and descriptions.
Test the Test
Testing is a never-ending process in paid search. Most luxury brands are a bit uptight when it comes to representing the best of the best, and those strict brand guidelines are part of the reason these brands are known so well.
If your luxury brand's guidelines are staunchly opposed to anything new, you're going to have to get creative with your... well, creative. While a brand might not mean "cheap" there's still an inherent need for "value."
Communicating a value concept in search advertising is complicated, but not without benefits. If "cheap" is misleading, "exceptional values" and "memorable experiences" are sure to stimulate click activity without rejecting brand disciplines. "Luxury within reach" phrasing can help position packages in a smart way.
Because search is a global phenomenon, now might be a good time to take a closer look at what's happening everywhere your brand is touched. Luxury brands cater to an experience and creative themes emulate that experience, so taking the best parts of creative and applying it to search advertising makes good sense.
Advertising disciplines working in unison are a far-off dream for many search advertisers. Agency creatives sit atop the artistic mountain while search specialists are often cast down with the quants. Well, the quants are winning these days, so the smart money says get them working together.
Data that supports what message points work best in which locations around the world will help a luxury brand survive through tough times. What's hot in Singapore might not work well in New York. Key themes from mainstream creative married to search advertising for each geographic area can help keep a brand alive when things get rough.
True to Life
Life's funny, and with less discretionary money floating around, there's plenty to do before abandoning the brand quality ship. Search is a tool for squeezing every last drop of conversion activity out of a brand.
Isolating geographies that produce is another handy-dandy way to increase revenues. It should go without saying at this point, but quite a few options for search advertising still exist outside U.S. borders. More advertisers are saying that Yandex and Baidu are secret havens for growing desired action rates. The often-ignored local channel is another way to boost undiscovered revenue.
Sooner or later, we'll begin the long process of making a comeback. Staying true to the brand now will reap massive rewards rolling forward.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!