Glamour: it’s unattainable and endlessly enthralling. Try to describe glamour and you’ll find even its meaning is elusive, but the air of mystery begins to make sense when you dig deep into the word’s etymology. As Virginia Postrel explains in an interview with Design Observer, the Scottish root word literally means a magic spell — one that tricks people into seeing things that are not there, especially to make things look better than they are. While the meaning shifted over the 19th century, the word glamour still holds roots to this sense of enchantment, an essential component of the marketing strategy and design associated with “glamour” brands including fashion, jewelry, and beauty.
If glamour is so difficult to pin down, how do we define it? Glamour is a lot like humor in many ways — you know it when you see it. There isn’t any universal attribute that makes a joke funny — you know it’s funny when people laugh; in that same way we recognize glamour. Glamour is an imaginative process, addressing the panging needs in the audience: “I wish I were like that,” and “if life could be like that.” It is designated by an aspirational sense of longing, transforming our discontent into a different world that we imagine would relieve it all, reaching out into our ordinary lives and pointing us toward an ideal. Glamour is projection, and communicating the attributes of glamour in fashion brand development and luxury brand extension, an art unto itself.
Virginia Postrel claims that unlike traits such as humor or style, nobody thinks of themselves or their lives as glamorous, and as such, the deep desire for glamour is universal. But how does a luxury brand take advantage of something so powerful yet so difficult to model or even define?
As products evolve in function and even style, market differentiation becomes increasingly difficult, making it more important than ever to embody a unique brand identity that resonates with and makes an emotional connection with audiences—especially with fashion and beauty branding. For luxury brands, drawing on glamour’s deeply personal ties can be extremely powerful and highly effective, enabling you to speak not only to the people your audiences are but to the people they aspire to be.
The most powerful ideas and processes involved in branding and advertising utilize these notions, communicating how products can help consumers experience life as they imagine it should be. The award-winning Los Angeles branding agency Articulation Agency specializes in developing branding strategies and identities rooted in these aspirational concepts for beauty, fashion and luxury brands. By helping companies realize and authentically address the deeper needs and benefits their consumers seek, the Articulation Agency helps them to glamorously differentiate, creating communications and even cultures that truly and effectively resonate with their target audiences.
Take an in-depth look at some of our award-winning fashion and beauty branding projects showcasing these principles of glamour.