This weekend I've been trying to work out how you make someone pay £42 for a candle. I mean, it may not be a huge amount of money to everyone, but it's significant... And wealthy people aren't daft. They don't go about just throwing their money away. There's much more to it than that.

The reason I was thinking about this is because my missus went to an 'invitation only' VIP event at Jo Malone in Manchester... She was fed mince pies and champagne and allowed to sample loads of their indulgent products.

Imagine my delight when she told me she came home without buying anything (that's what she told me, anyway)... But with all the powerful and emotive buying triggers at play, I was impressed that she managed to keep her nerve, take the freebies and dash for the door... Exactly what I'd have done.

Today's post is about how they manage to elevate 'decent' products to become luxurious and aspirational. It's very clever, but once you see how it's done, you can apply some of the ideas to YOUR brand.

The thing that 'luxury' brands know, that lesser brands don't, is that you need to indulge the senses... All of them, ideally.

This is how Jo Malone indulges the senses to elevate the status of their brand, and by association, their customers too.

Touch
The boxes are made from thick card with contrasting textures. Ribbon is wrapped around the packaging and contrasting soft tissue paper helps the product sit nicely in place... Serious consideration has been given to the 'unwrapping' experience.

Taste
In the store, they often give away nibbles and champagne... This obviously puts you in a relaxed frame of mind and more likely to reach for your credit card. Champagne is indulgent and is associated with status... By hitting the taste receptors with fizz, Jo Malone is putting her buyers in a celebratory and indulgant mood.

Sight
The visual branding is calm, confident and 'classic'. The typography is set in  Copperplate Gothic (I think) and is widely spaced. The use of colour is subtle and sophisticated. Just what you'd expect from a brand who is targetting a discerning shopper.

Smell
The Jo Malone range is a treat to the nostrils. The candles DO smell amazing, although not £60 amazing, in my opinion. But that's irrelevant. Many people are happy to pay the price, so they are valuable to the right audience. I love the finishing touches that they do with the packaging... When you buy anything in store, they hand wrap it and spray it with a little perfume. It's all about the details.

Sound
I've only experienced the Jo Malone brand in Selfridges, and in department stores, they tend to have the same music playing throughout. So Jo Malone struggle with this one. But it's the only sense they don't actively stimulate... And I bet in their own stores they've got this covered.

So, in summary... How do you make someone spend £42 on a candle?

Well, it's all about stimulating the senses.

You need to make the buying experience match the price point you're selling your products at. People need to feel that buying your candle elevates their status and helps them to create a sanctuary, and their own indulgent world. 

Use smell, taste and touch when you can to evoke memories and states of mind that are more likely to convince people to part with their money.

That's what Jo Malone does. And they do it really damn well.