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Most of Our Richest Don't Care About Brands

To reach this audience, advertisers need to steer away from the slick and often shallow visual marketing campaigns and provide more information-oriented ads with text about the product and its quality craftsmanship.

For instance, the six brands that the survey participants said they support and value (Clinique, Lancome, Nordstrom, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Lexus) -- get that support specifically because the affluent said they feel the brands appeal more to the "quality oriented" consumer, not the "status seeker." 

The survey, conducted in September, asked participants what type of consumer they felt specific luxury brands are targeting -- "status seeker," "quality oriented," "style oriented," "wealthier than me," "younger than me" and "like me."

Interestingly, a surprising number of survey participants said they feel luxury brands are often targeting or appealing to someone "wealthier than me" -- this from a group of people who own more than 80% of the stock and securities owned by Americans, according to Kurtz.

The net worth categories used in the questionnaire were selected to conform to the categories used by the Federal Reserve Board to define the wealthiest 10%, 5% and 1% of U.S. households. Those categories translate into people with a minimum net worth of $800,000, $1.5 million and $6 million. 

"These are people who are careful spenders and very aggressive savers. But the point is that they have the ability to afford these products. The question is whether they see the value of acquiring the products," Kurtz says. 

"These advertisers simply need to present a credible story about the quality and value their products represent," Kurtz concludes.

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