The Changing Landscape of Luxury Marketing: Meet the ‘New Guard’

In recent years, the luxury industry has witnessed a shift in consumer attitudes and behaviors. The rise of the modern ‘New Guard’ has brought about a new era in luxury marketing. To connect with this evolving audience, luxury brands must adapt their communication approaches and marketing strategies. In this article, we will explore the beliefs, values, and preferences of the ‘New Guard’, and provide valuable insights on how luxury brands can engage and connect with this audience.

The Rise of the ‘New Guard’

The ‘New Guard’ represents a younger generation of luxury consumers who have distinct attitudes and behaviors compared to the traditional luxury loyalists. According to the New Shape of Luxury report by Financial Times and the IPA, there are seven key audience segments within the ‘New Guard’, each with its own set of beliefs and values. These segments are driven by generational differences, with the ‘New Guard’ being more open to new ways of purchasing luxury goods, including second-hand options. Sustainability is also a central issue for this audience, as they have grown up with climate change as a prominent concern.

Despite these differences, one thing remains constant: the desire for status. Luxury goods continue to serve as a means of signaling social status and personal identity. The ‘New Guard’ uses luxury goods to project the image they want to portray to others and themselves.

Building Emotional Connections

To effectively engage with the ‘New Guard’, luxury brands need to go beyond focusing solely on their products or heritage. Instead, they must build a bigger narrative that resonates with this audience. While we live in a digitalized world, the in-person experience still holds value. Emotional connections play a vital role in luxury marketing. According to Pip Usher, the global luxury content director at Financial Times, content is key when targeting the under 35s within the ‘New Guard’. They expect brands to engage with them across various channels and mediums, such as exclusive video series, podcasts, or even mobile games. By leveraging storytelling and aligning with broader trends and topics, luxury brands can seize the opportunity to connect with the ‘New Guard’ and reflect their values.

The Importance of Cultural Credibility

To truly resonate with the ‘New Guard’, luxury brands must understand their wider interests and behaviors. This understanding allows brands to create content that meets their needs and feels relevant to the moment. Gucci is an example of a forward-thinking brand that embraces risk-taking and cultural relevance. By having cultural credibility, luxury brands can establish themselves as relevant and appealing to the ‘New Guard’.

Based on insights from Pip Usher, here are three top tips for luxury brands to engage and connect with the ‘New Guard’:

  1. Experiment: Luxury brands should embrace the opportunity to connect with the ‘New Guard’ across multiple touchpoints. By exploring different channels and mediums, brands can reach this audience in various aspects of their lives.
  2. Reflect: Luxury brands must mirror the sustainability values of the ‘New Guard’. Adapting strategies and practices to align with their expectations will resonate with this audience and build a stronger connection.
  3. Evolve: Luxury brands need to stay agile and adaptable. While they should maintain their core DNA, it is crucial to evolve and adjust to changing attitudes and behaviors. By keeping up with the shifts in the luxury landscape, brands can remain relevant and appealing to the ‘New Guard’.


The ‘New Guard’ represents a significant audience for the luxury industry’s future. As spending on luxury goods continues to rise, luxury brands must be willing to experiment, reflect the values of this audience, and evolve their strategies accordingly. By understanding the beliefs, preferences, and behaviors of the ‘New Guard’, luxury brands can successfully engage and connect with this evolving consumer segment. The key lies in building emotional connections, leveraging content across various channels, and establishing cultural credibility. By embracing these strategies, luxury brands can navigate the changing landscape of luxury marketing and thrive in the era of the ‘New Guard’.

To gain a deeper understanding of how luxury brands can navigate the changing luxury market, download ‘The New Shape of Luxury’ report here.

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