Ongoing economic uncertainty has made "aspirational" luxury customers—affluent and middle-income consumers willing to pay more for high-end goods and services—more selective about what they purchase than ever.

Aspirationals are aggressively prioritizing discretionary spending, purchasing a select few emotionally charged luxury items but buying everything else at mass or "masstige" outlets.

Companies that want to continue to profit from aspirational customers must make their brands accessible and relevant to them by taking their lifestyles into consideration and meeting them half way.

Aspirational customers come from all areas and walks of life: the affluent stay-at-home mom who plans five-star vacations and Target shopping trips with equal enthusiasm; the student who gives up daily Frappuccinos to save $200 for a pair of jeans; the bartender who won't settle for less than $300 sunglasses but lives in a spartan studio apartment.

Purchasing brands that the upper crust knows and respects provides aspirationals with feelings of success and status—even if they cannot afford the items they most covet or maintain the long-term spending pattern of the full-fledged luxury customer.

Here are seven tips to draw out aspirationals, just in time for the holidays.

1. Ramp up customer service

Make service seamless—in-store, over the phone and online. Great service—a must-have for this group—reassures aspirationals that they have made a good decision and spent their money well. It is also what compels them to open their wallets again and again.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Suzanne Hader is principal of 400twin (www.400twin.com), a New York City-based consulting firm that provides research and strategic direction for luxury brands. She can be reached at shader@400twin.com.