I’m bored of cheap & cheerful. I want a massive luxury overdose.

Over the last ten years we’ve seen consumers gravitate towards both extreme ends of the brand price spectrum. This trend, that can be traced back to the economic recession, leads to a situation today where we’ve turned low budget shopping into an artform but at the same time are happy to splurge out on desirable and ultraluxurious items if we feel like it.

As a result brands that are no longer the cheapest or the most desirable have become their own worst nightmare. They’ve become irrelevant.

In order to survive and keep your brand alive you have to make a bold choice. Are you happy being cheap and cheerful or do you want to be desirable and ultraluxurious?

Massive luxury overdose

Apple isn’t technically a luxury brand but it employs luxury brand strategies. This is the case with Apple Watch: carefully selected distribution partners, a premium price, an exclusive service package, messaging centered on living an ideal lifestyle…all of this to develop a unique experience aesthetic and a strong sense of community.

citizenM trendy boutique hotels say on their website that luxury doesn’t have to be expensive. They offer highly affordable rooms but created a desirable and ultraluxurious atmosphere in their hotels with the most stylish livingroom-like lobbies, the latest in-room technology and access to free wifi and movies on demand. They found a smart way to position their brand as the place to be for the fashionable traveller of tomorrow.

Cheap and cheerful

On the other side we see brands like H&M, Primark, Action and Lidl also thriving on the same consumer trend. New shops are popping up everywhere because the cheap and cheerful concept is booming. Another side effect of the continuing economic recession because a large group of people ended up with little or no money to spend on lifestyle and leisure. For them there is simply no alternative.

While many companies still remain in the soft, mushy center, the ones with a bit more insight into how the world has changed in the last couple of decades are taking steps to differentiate themselves from their competitors and stand for something.

DEARDAN says: polarize away!

And remember that every successful brand in history is unpopular with a distinct demographic, but it certainly hasn’t hindered their chances at success. If anything, it’s fueled the fire for crazy growth, fiercely loyal fans and an audience that will stick with you through every ounce of thick and thin, which is what every brand needs to survive.

If you’re still seeing risks, I’ve got two letters for you (V&D). Just let me know how the whole “meh” approach to business is working out for you next year, that is, if your customers aren’t turned off by your brand and run away in the meantime.

Make it simple but significant.

Thanks to Danil Golovkin for Fashion Gone Rogue, Jean-Noël Kapferer (HEC) and Erika Napoletano (American Express OPEN).