The definitive guide to luxury marketing to UHNW women

The growing number of Ultra-High-Net-Worth women is changing the way in which luxury brands approach their luxury brand marketing. 

In 2016 UHNW women represented just 6.5 percent of the world’s richest. However, this has now shifted, with UHNW women now representing nearly 10 percent of the world’s elite, a 52 percent increase in just five years.

According to Wealth-X, there are around 29,300 UHNW women in the world, compared to some 263,700 UHNW men. While UHNW women are still a small percentage, luxury brands can no longer afford to ignore this growing and influential audience. They should therefore create bespoke luxury marketing campaigns that speak specifically to this audience.

Luxury marketing to UHNW women requires a highly tailored approach as UHNW women think, feel, behave, and make purchase decisions differently to their male counterparts. Therefore, luxury brands need to examine their diversity, equality practice, corporate social responsibility, and ethos to ensure that it aligns with UHNW women’s more empathetic, philanthropic, and altruistic approach to business. 

Understanding the key differences between UHNW men and women, including the different way in which these two audiences think, behave, and what influences their purchasing decisions is central to developing a hyper-targeted luxury brand marketing strategy. 

At Relevance, data-led in-depth audience insights drive all of our luxury digital marketing strategies. We know that it is critical to understand your audience to create effective marketing campaigns that drive engagement throughout the sales funnel. 

Here we outline how UHNW women differ from UHNW men, where UHNW women differ most from the overall population and finally explore UHNW women’s most salient personality traits. This unique insight can help tailor a luxury brand’s creative, tone, messaging, and philosophy to appeal to this unique audience. 

Luxury marketing message and tone: UHNW women vs UHNW men

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Emotional Awareness

UHNW women are the most emotionally aware of all the audiences, meaning they are aware of their feelings and how to express them. In this respect, they are poles apart from their dispassionate brothers, who rarely think about their emotions or express them. 

Therefore, to appeal to a UHNW woman, luxury brands need to show women being successful and changing the world by being emotionally open. An interesting company openly valuing EQ over IQ is Adoreum, an international members club for UHNWIs, business leaders, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, investors, academics and creative visionaries who believe in using their collective influence for good.

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Appreciation of Art

UHNW women are the most appreciative of art of all the audiences, meaning they enjoy beauty and seek out creative experiences. As a result, luxury brands will need to double down on their art and creative collaborations, as ‘The Londoner’ West End hotel and Rolls Royce have done with their ‘Muse’ programme. In addition, focusing on the beauty and exceptional quality of their messaging, rather than purely its message alone, remains a priority, as in Graff’s beautiful ‘Tribal’ Campaign. Finally, brands may need to increase their production values to appeal to their higher creative standards.

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Self-Transcendence

UHNW women have a much greater ability to self-transcend than their male counterparts, meaning they show concern for the welfare of others. Unlike their egoist brothers (see graph below), who are highly likely to show excessive self-interest and selfishness, UHNW women can appreciate and resonate with the plight of others (and have the power to do something about it).

Companies seeking to attract UHNW women should focus on the collective social gain of a product or service rather than purely the personal benefits. This might mean pledging to plant trees for every carbon-neutral private jet charter, telling the story of a hybrid, solar-powered yacht such as Nobiskrug’s Artefact, or indeed, pitching a socially responsible business idea for investment by a UHNW female investor.

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Cheerfulness

UHNW are more cheerful than UHNW men, which means they are joyful people and share that joy with the world. Ultra-luxe brands can therefore experiment with a lighter and more joyful tone of voice, replacing the serious and heavy tone of this Dunhill film about modern masculinity with more uplifting pieces like Walpole’s Love Letter from Jo Malone.

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Stoicism

UHNW women feel their desires more strongly and are more easily tempted than UHNW men, but they both have more self-control over their desires which are less intense than the general population. Ultra-luxury brand marketing managers should use a more emotional voice with UHNW women (than for UHNW men) but still exercise restraint compared to mass-market messaging.

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Luxury brand marketing message and tone: UHNW women vs the general population

The following insights identify where UHNW women differ most from the general population.

Altruistic

UHNW women are more altruistic than UHNW men and the general population. They care and have the means to make a big difference in our world. Empathy, philanthropy and social responsibility are of paramount importance, a Relevance finding seconded by Wealth-X.

High-value brands that need to appeal to UHNW women should make the celebration of good causes their number one priority. In addition, they should celebrate UHNW women who are making a difference. For example, Bentley’s customer, Julie Brangstrup, and her efforts to provide opportunities for women and Molton Brown’s push for a sustainable product, using glass refillable and recycled plastic bottles in line with the company’s original sustainability ethos. Olivela is another excellent example of humanitarian luxury curated around philanthropy and giving back, providing UHNW women with a guilt-free shopping experience.

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Energetic

UHNW women (and UHNW men) enjoy a fast-paced, busy schedule with lots of activities. Whatever goods, service or experience a brand is providing to UHNW women, they should make sure transfers are on time and swift, activities are involving, not passive, and with plenty of unique experiences to keep their interest. Lifestyle concierge services such as Ten Group and Quintessentially have perfectly catered to this need by offering tailored itineraries for UHNW.

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Calm

UHNW women (and UHNW men) want a quiet and relaxing lifestyle, have restrained emotions and the activities they enjoy may be more conservative. Although they like to be busy, this does not mean it has to be high adrenaline or exciting. On the contrary, UHNW women enjoy being occupied constantly but with calmer pursuits, such as art, reading, education, movies, than the general population. 

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Complacency

UHWN women aren’t very practical. They may seem indifferent and disinterested in getting a job done (complacent) and unconcerned about skill and efficiency. In contrast, the general population (+44%) and their male counterparts (+14%) are more practical.

Business and efficiency analogies won’t work well with UHNW women. For them, it’s not about how hard you work, how clever you are, or how much control you have. Instead, for them, getting things done requires a certain degree of magic, nuance, persuasion and personality. Collaboration is key to effective brand messaging.

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Confidence

Don’t try to guilt, shame or embarrass UHNW women into doing something. They are even harder to embarrass than their male peers and are self-confident most of the time, unlike the general population, who are 42% more sensitive to what others may think of them. UHNW women don’t have qualms about any products or services such as breast surgery, facelifts and therapy.

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Driven

UHNW women (and UHNW men) set high goals for themselves and work hard to achieve them – whereas the general population feel 40% more content with their level of accomplishment and do not feel the need to set ambitious goals.

As personified in this Patek Phillippe video, UHNW women like to constantly challenge themselves to learn new things, try new experiences, travel, and soak up culture. However, note that their view of getting things done doesn’t usually mean doing it themselves. For UHNW women, working hard to achieve something may mean persuading and leading others to do it for them; hence, we repeat, the spirit of collaboration is essential.

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Luxury digital marketing message and tone: UHNW women top attributes

This section focuses on the top attributes of UHNW women, rather than what makes them different from other audiences.

Empathy

They are the most empathetic of all audiences – meaning they feel what others feel and are compassionate towards them. They can tap into other’s feelings and are moved by them. Brands need to show that they can, too, if they want to stir the hearts and minds of this exclusive audience, which is why Maari’s brand pillars of Consciousness, community and culture feel spot on. 

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Accommodating

UHNW women are the most accommodating of the audiences analysed – meaning they are easy to please and try to avoid confrontation. They may find the portrayal of arguments in ads and content distasteful and inelegant. So instead, brands should show healthy disagreements and focus on the resolution.

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Uncompromising

They are the most uncompromising of all the audiences analysed, meaning they think it is wrong to take advantage of others to try and get ahead. They will not find selfishness or social climbing at the expense of others appealing, so they will reject brands called out for unfair or exploitative working practices. 

Instead, UHNW women look for brands with Positive Luxury’s butterfly mark, signifying a commitment to making a difference in creating a sustainable and circular economy. But, of course, lip service will not wash in this arena, and all efforts need to be authentically true to a company’s core. The Walpole provides Britain’s luxury brands with guidance on how to manage such initiatives so that they will genuinely appeal to UHNW women’s sense of fairness and generosity of spirit.

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Sociable & Outgoing

UHNW women are the most sociable and outgoing of all the audiences analysed. Meaning they enjoy the company of others, make friends easily and feel comfortable around other people. In contrast, the male UHNWI segment has a stronger desire to have time to themselves.

Luxury brands marketing to UHNW men based on their propensity to enjoy alone time will need to rethink their messaging to appeal to UHNW women. Furthermore, recognising that UHNW women are influenced by others like them, it is vital to provide opportunities for them to meet up and mingle with other like-minded UHNWIs, as in this personal styling event by Porsche Design. Last but not least, an ultra-luxury brand must demonstrate the same sociable qualities. For example, Maison Tamboite and Linn came together to create this social event for HNW women in Bastille, Paris.

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It is clear that UHNW women are more confident, driven, energetic, and altruistic than the general population. They are highly empathetic, sociable, and outgoing, enjoying the company of others. Luxury brands that can align with the values of UHNW women and devise their luxury digital marketing strategies around these key personality traits will be able to better foster engagement that drives positive action. 

If you need help marketing to UHNW individuals, contact us to learn more about how our team of luxury digital marketing experts can help.