All of life is nothing more than an eternal quest for status,” says Tom Wolfe, the bestselling novelist.
Nancy Etcoff, author of Survival of the Prettiest, maintains that affluent men market themselves to members of the opposite sex through “displays of status and resources.” Etcoff goes on to quote Ovid, who said almost the same thing 2000 years ago: “Girls praise a poem, but go for expensive presents.”
Status, according to Etcoff, who is one of the world’s leading psychologists, is psychological because it is based on comparison. One person has more status than another person because he has more money, or is better looking, has a more prestigious job, lives in a bigger house in a more desirable neighborhood, wears more stylish clothes, drives a more expensive car, has a prettier wife, and so on. The list is endless. All human beings participate in this comparison, this hunt for status.
Status may be psychological, but is often conferred by “things.” This means luxury products and services can confer status. Like everyone else, affluent people seek status. Which means understanding and targeting the psychological concept of status is an important part of marketing luxury brands to the affluent customer.