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"Trading Up" highlights from the Book by Micheal J Silverstein & Neil Fiske

Artisanal Products Emotional Engagement Trading Up

some highlights from the book which I gleaned, some of which I think is applicable to the Products that Kelsey’s Collection creates.


“Trading Up” by Michael J Silverstein and Neil Fiske


“rocketing” means spending a disproportionate amount of income on a single category by consumers who are not considered affluent….. on products that are emotionally meaningful to them.


“New Luxury” products possess higher level of quality, taste, and aspiration than other goods in the category but are not so expensive as to be out of reach…. Always based on emotions.


A New Luxury product must connect with the consumer on three levels of a ”Ladder of Benefits”


  1. First it must have technical differences in design, technology, or both.
  2. Those technical differences must contribute to superior functional performance.
  3. The benefits must engage the consumer emotionally


When a New Luxury brand solidly delivers the ladder of benefits, it can catch fire…quickly changing the rules of its category, grow to market dominance, and force a redrawing of the demand curve. As that happens, the category tends to polarize. Consumers TRADE UP if the category is important to them or trade down or go without if it is unimportant.


New Luxury leaders follow 8 practices.


  1. They never underestimate their customers…consumer has the desire, interest, intelligence, and capability to Trade Up.
  2. They shatter the price-volume demand curve…earning disproportionate profits as a result.
  3. They create a ladder of genuine benefits…..not meaningless innovations
  4. They escalate innovation, elevate quality, and deliver a flawless experience
  5. They extend the price range and positioning of the brand.
  6. They customize their value chains to deliver on the benefit ladder….control of the chain rather than ownership of it.
  7. They use influence marketing and seed their success through brand apostles….they work harder to define their core audience…spend more time interacting with customers….frequent feedback from early purchaser.
  8. They continually attack the category like an outsider


Women have always had a particular ability to judge the value of goods and a keen understanding of the complex emotional meanings and social messages contained in them…the minutest details of design, manufacture, and packaging - and from a very young age. Women are the quintessential New Luxury consumers.

New Luxury consumers also like to learn about specific products and the companies that make them. That’s why so many New Luxury brands have a narrative associated with them.


Among 20 categories of consumer goods, the home or apartment topped the list.




Taking care of me, connecting, questing, and individual Style


Outsider thinking is important in importing ideas and practices from other industries and culture and applying them to every aspect of strategy – including produc t development, pricing, consumer profiles, organization, and marketing.


Patterning – the connections between elements that have not been made before, creating a new frame of reference for themselves and the category.


The most basic definition of quality is “freedom from defects” and that is a guiding assumption of New luxury goods.


Elements of craftsmanship or artisanal in nature. This artisanal quality allows for variation in the look and feel of the goods, yet this is “mass-artisanal” because the basic patter or process does not change.


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