Masstige is a marketing term meaning downward brand extension. The word is a portmanteau of the words mass and prestige and has been described as “prestige for the masses.”
Here we should highlight research of Michael Silverstein and Neil Fiske in their book Trading Up and Harvard Business Review article “Luxury for the Masses.” There, Masstige products are defined as “premium but attainable,” and there are two key tenets:
- They are considered luxury or premium products
- They have price points that fill the gap between mid-market and super premium
Silverstein and Fiske cite several examples of Masstige brands:
- Bath and Body Works Lotion that sells for $1.13 per ounce versus $0.30 per ounce.
- Pottery Barn housewares that are considered premium but are widely available at attainable price points well below super premium brands.
- Kendall-Jackson Wines that entered the market at $5 per bottle versus the standard $2 per bottle.
- Porsche Boxster
Definition of Masstige
Masstige is a class of products that are affordable for the general consumer but positioned as luxury goods
Massification of luxury brands pyramid presented on scheme below
So called “New luxury brands” are positioned between accessible super-premuim brands and old luxury brand extensions.
Accessible super-premium products are priced at or near to the top of the category, but are affordable to the middle market consumers.
Old luxury brand extensions are lower-priced versions of goods that have traditionally been affordable only to the rich consumers.
Masstige can be defined as:
- A retail category that includes brands and products that have high-end, prestigious characteristics but with prices and locations that make them accessible to a mass consumer audience.
- The blurring of distinction between prestige and mass end of the market across many elements of the marketing mix.
- A fashion statement that mixes both mass-produced and prestigious clothes.
Today there is huge opportunity for creating a new market segment that gives goods to consumers and the opportunity and apply their products the luxury and fashion treatment to companies. This new offer is possible because customers are more sophisticated and open minded. Their needs can be classified in such groups:
- Taking care of me
- Questing (making brand experience a never ending game)
- Individual style
Masstige: Consumer Consumption Drivers
Selective Extravagance defines an individual consumer behaviour that sometimes moves up, trading up, and sometimes down, trading down. Such behaviour is ever more common in the middle-to-high market range.
The phenomenon is also known as Rocketing: spending large sums of money, beyond one’s income level, on a few important and expensive luxury items, and penny pinching on everything else, compensating with private label brands and discount products.
By comparison, Mix and match brings together luxury and mass market consumption with an overriding aesthetic perspective. An individual’s search for trendy clothes runs the gamut of high and low brands and products.
As we mentioned before, it has been suggested that luxury marketers thinking about developing their own masstige strategies should be aware of the possibility for brand dilution. To avoid this, it is suggested that adequate price premiums are maintained and access is limited to middle class consumers as brand dilution tends to occur when purchases from middle class consumers becomes frequent or habitual. The more available a product is the less prestigious its perception. Luxury marketers should also focus on developing a prestigious environment around the brand by advertising in glamorous magazines and prestigious stores, and holding seasonal fashion shows so that the brand appeals to consumers as an “aspirational” brand.
Same time, communication is the most important driver for bringing mass market into prestige.
Masstige brands compete primarily through communication:
- Elevating product status with the signature of designers and celebrities
- Choosing top models for testimonials in advertising campaigns
- Creating artificially, limited editions
- Occupying high-traffic locations
- Investing in huge retail space as a sign of visibility
- creating an aspirational lifestyle
Boundaries of Masstige
Mass market companies can leverage on some elements of the marketing mix. However masstige brands are not luxury because they offer a “mass” experience, which is not unique.
Location of masstige we can see on this scheme (by research of University of Berlin):
The product cannot be bespoke, you cannot have the best raw materials, the best design, the made in…, otherwise your price wont be affordable anymore.
Masstige brands can achieve differentiation by focusing on a single feature, but they can not afford to offer a luxury system, to act on all fronts simultaneously.
In the need of search for a more sophisticated but still affordable consumption masstige is primiumization of product categories once considered undifferentiated, products turned from commodity to chic, popular prestige items or goods.