[Best to read this first]
A high-end jeweller drops a direct mail piece in a neighbourhood of young families where the average income is much too low than could afford to buy something from the store. Sound crazy?
An aspirational product is desired by many but owned by relatively few (some say 30% ownership among total audience exposed is optimal). For the jeweller, pumping up demand will make the product more desirable (and command a price premium) in the short-term to those who can afford it, because they know that so many other people want to have it (but can’t). In the long-term, the people who can’t afford it will build brand preference and postpone the purchase until they can.
The whole idea of aspirational products seemed odd to me because I never understood how people who could afford these products would know that so many other people wanted them too. Now, with social media, I can see how it can happen.
The BMW Facebook page is liked by 5 million people, but I’m sure not all (or even most) of these people actually own one. Social media provides a great opportunity for companies to survey their fans and discover the ratio of who wants their product vs who owns it, to understand how aspirational their brand is. Better still (for the company), people who can afford to buy the product can now easily see how much desire there is to be associated with the brand, and the motivating influence of aspirational products will have more effect.