Every Brand Needs to be a Luxury Brand

Luxury is the celebration of uniqueness — Carlo Pignataro (Author, Consultant)

Today every brand needs to be a luxury brand, or at least aspire to be. This goes much deeper than industry buzz words like omnichannel, customer personas and touch points. This goes down to the very essence of what the brand represents to the people working for the brand and the people buying the brand.

In today’s digital world brands need to 10X their attention to detail. The bar has been set very high by digital-first players, who have data departments, user experience teams and in-house development teams.

The head start in people experience (as opposed to user experience) that Amazon and Netflix have is immense. Traditional business are barely out of the starting blocks in their digital transformation journey, while digital-first players such as Amazon are so far beyond digital that they are integrating the physical world into their digital eco-system.

Amazon stole the show at the recent CES with Alexa, while Netflix just rolled out their most requested features, the ability to download content for offline viewing. Compare this now to some of the appalling digital or e-commerce experiences you have had, which mostly come from physical-first or traditional companies.

I won’t name the e-commerce site I recently used, but here was my experience:

1. I order an item, willing to give these guys a chance (ok)

2. I get no notification of dispatch (not ok)

3. I receive it and it is entirely unsuitable (not ok, but that happens)

4. I login to my account (no cookie was set, so I have to login again) to enter a return process (not ok)

5. The return process does not work, the screen-tips don’t work (not ok)

6. I email support (not ok)

7. 3 days later I hear back (not ok)

8. I have to print out a label and include it in the package (ok)

9. The label says “due to limitations of our system this will be marked as a credit, please ignore this your credit card will be refunded, but not your postage costs” (for the love of God, you just confimed to me that you don’t care, that is never ok)

10. I post the package registered to get a tracking number, it costs €25 (you are kidding me, not ok)

11. I email an email address with the tracking number (not ok)

12. I email them the support email, that doesn’t work (not ok)

13. I have still not heard back (not ok)

14. I will never use this brand again and will certainly recommend against anyone else to use this brand (not ok)

All this tells you as a user that this brand does not care, they won’t hone and perfect their system, they won’t put the person first, they certainly won’t personalise the experience. If you have an e-commerce site, it is live, this means it is alive, it is most likely a global site so you need to be 24/7 on your game.

You have to step outside your role and become a user of your own product. Walk a mile in your customers shoes and fix everything as a matter of urgency. In a World of so much choice, you get one, maybe two chances.


When you hear the word consistency you think of your favourite brands, perhaps it is the coffee from your favourite coffee shop, perhaps it is your favourite sports player, perhaps it is your hairdresser. They deliver the goods consistently. When you shop luxury, this is what you get every time.

People will not tolerate less than this any more, the user experience you get from Amazon or Netflix is impeccable. Netflix has a team who will help you in real time if you have an issue, I have heard tales that they may even intervene if they see you are having an issue.

Amazon have the same service on the Fire tablet, they have a tremendous customer chat support, so perfect you would swear it is a self learning Ai, which it will be in time.

The Internet is a great leveller, it levels the playing field, but also raises the bar. Any e-tailer or publisher is being compared to the best. Think of the gulf in experience between the best and the next best. Hence we see it in stock prices and the death spiral a lot of traditional companies, who are simply not adapting (or adapting fast enough) to a digital world.

The reality is that most of the resistance or delay comes from people protecting their status within companies rather than a lack of investment or speed to deploy technology. Oftentimes the only way to achieve true transformation is to build an adjacent cannibal business, in a sense you need to incubate Netflix within Blockbuster. Buckminster Fuller nails this in the quote below.

A Segment of One

Personalisation is a term we hear quite often these days. In reality, many traditional companies are massively failing.

Think about Netflix, Facebook, Google and Amazon and their department of data scientists and data analysts. They are beyond personalisation, they are training AI to predict your user experience and indeed predict what you need before you may even know.

In luxury sales you want everyone to feel listened to, to feel the love. This means to compete in a digital world you need to be a luxury brand and tend beyond customer segmentation to a segment of one or at least make the person feel that this is their unique, bespoke journey. This is how high the bar has been set. This is the current expectation.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail is a long-term strategy — Carlo Pignataro

In this week’s Innovation Show Carlo delves deep into the psychology of Luxury brands from CRM to Neuro-Linguistic programming. The quote above can mean so much as attention to detail applies to every aspect of your brand.

One place this counts so much, but where a lot of us fail is our hiring policies. We can be lazy in this vital aspect of our businesses. A luxury brand not only hires good people, it hires impeccable people. People are the lifeblood of any company, so people can make or break that company.

There is so much to take from the aspiration of becoming a luxury brand. Even setting that goal itself will set your brand apart.

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On this week’s Innovation Show, we talk to best-selling author of ‘Sell with Style’ Carlo Pignataro. Carlo works with the most prestigious luxury brands all over the World. Carlo tells us about the psychology of luxury sales from active listening to CRM to NLP.

We speak to Buddy Rizer of Loudoun County Data Centre during his tour of Europe. We talk data clusters and the opportunities they can bring.

Finally, we speak to Wikimedia Foundation Director Juliet Barbara. We get an insight into how Wikipedia was founded, how it operates and how it is funded.

Subscribe to the Innovation show here: iTunes

Alternatively, catch us on RTE Radio 1 Extra 3 times weekly at 3pm Saturday and 7am and 3pm Tuesdays.

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