A new luxury mindset?

Refreshing the concept of luxury

In China, a country renowned for its efficiency and high-performance workers, Gen Zers have embraced a more relaxed philosophy as a form of protest against a system they now feel is rigged for the rich and powerful. This ‘burnt out’ generation of discouraged millennials worldwide has been rebelling against unbalanced wages, intense work schedules, and a lack of job security, even before the pandemic, and after isolation and distress in result, people are looking to adjust their lifestyle to a more balanced, healthier experiences.

Many consumers have learned that comfort is more important than being fashionable. Wellness and self-care have suddenly become more of a priority than ever.  Global brands should soon expect the traditional luxury fatigue. Although is a challenge, is not necessarily a bad thing, but is an opportunity to creatively refresh their portfolio and products offer, introduce new points of view that satisfy both needs. Wellness and aspirations.

Wellness and self-care have suddenly become more of a priority than ever and have the potential to revolutionize the luxury industry. Luxury brands can inspire this newfound awareness to create healthier and smarter lives.

Reducing the gap between traditional luxury through health and wellness

While consumers integrate wellness into every aspect of their daily lives, so there’s a new perfection that brands could change in their narrative. Outdated vertical luxury definitions fail to understand the convergence and multidimensional nature of wellness. Across sectors such as beauty, fashion, travel, and fitness, wellness is the world’s fastest-growing market segment. And affluent consumers are willing to pay a premium for perceived wellness solutions. Driven by Millennials, social media and online DTC retail, wellness brands can more easily grow globally.

Wellness has become a priority for most luxury consumers. A better understanding of the consequences of our lifestyle choices, and digital health trackers are contributing to inspiring modern affluent consumers to live healthier lives. Luxury brands need to integrate elements of wellness both in their offerings and marketing to capture increasingly health-conscious shoppers. An effective approach to wellness seizes opportunities to bolster a sustainable, healthy way of living whether through partnerships, cross-category expansions, and innovations, or new business models.

Affluent consumers demand natural and organic products. Fashion shoppers are drawn towards high-end athletic/leisure outfits both comfortable and stylish. Bars and restaurants are being replaced by gyms and fitness studios becoming new social hubs for affluent new generations.

The deep desire for health and wellness is radically reshaping what luxury brands need to offer to their consumers and how they communicate the value of their goods and services. Leading brands will be the ones whose efforts make positive contributions and empower consumers in their journey to wellbeing. Wellness is profoundly transforming the luxury industry. Brands creative, narrative and storytelling will benefit to incorporate elements of health and wellness that will resonate with the newfound awareness and new market.

Deepest renewal. La Mer’s iconic Miracle Broth™ reveals a bright, well-rested look.

Looking for a way to elevate your daily workouts or a way to turn heads at the gym? Louis Vuitton has just released the perfect accessory.

Inspire wellness through a new approach to luxury

On the domestic front, the retail industry has also experienced challenges since the onset of the pandemic. From margin pressure and shift to online shopping, affecting the footfall of domestic stores, malls, etc. Again, I believe all of this is a unique opportunity to create better digital experiences and cost-effective approaches, from creative to product development. The right digital initiative can help us measure effectiveness, traffic and better connect and engage with key stakeholders, inside company units, partners and audiences.

Through digital channels, with an aligned 360 vision across platforms, relevant narrative, brand commitment,  proactive, small initiatives and MVPs that allow us to know better our audience and consumers, creating a customer experience that is engaging, personal, healthy, and valuable. Luxury brands are starting to catch up with the market trends into wellness awareness inspiring us to live healthier and smarter lives. A new luxury mindset, where the true luxury is reflected in wellness, comfort, and work-life balance. Accordingly, brands should be prepared for this new mindset that the YOLO economy has ushered in. In fact, today’s YOLO economy has the potential to revolutionize the luxury industry. COVID-19 was the catalyst, but this change was a long time coming.


Creating a better brand experience

DFTR is one of the cornerstones of growth and development for luxury brands. Travel corridors are the heartbeat of the experience, it’s a glamorous ‘elevators pitch’ a brief opportunity to connect, capture and engage with customers. The DFTR channel also functions as an export channel for consumers traveling between countries and regions across the globe. In a way like ‘brand ambassadors’ expanding the brand to their country of origin. All the changes in recent travel patterns create a unique opportunity for business & brand development.

I.Faster, Creative, Cost-Effective initiatives

Margin pressure, a shift in behaviors, footfall downfall in stores, etc. even challenging, foster a unique opportunity for better and small initiatives to connect and understand our consumers. We need smart, proactive, and cost-effective approaches, from creative marketing to product development. A 360 real-time vision across platforms, that knows and inspires audiences to create a better experience and lifestyle value, from packaging to an email marketing campaign, and connects with business partners, and even stakeholders in the team.

II.Connect creative strategy to your audience mindset.

Storytelling goes beyond language, screens, or platforms. It is something personal, a compelling mix of different experiences from both audience and brand content. We should inspire our audiences to create a healthier & balanced lifestyle. Technology has enabled new ways of extending and hosting the narrative and a different vision to understanding and implementing it. Technology enables a way to capitalize on consumer needs, share your commitment and focus to different audiences that otherwise would be impossible to reach. Segmentation is a tricky word, and without the proper reading can get you stuck, particularly in multifaceted markets. Many companies experience shortly lived growth because of this. A digital strategy is far more challenging than posting videos, regular updates, or pictures on social platforms. It’s an all-across brand collaboration to build a sensory experience and the proper narrative to drive the right story that understands the audience’s mindset.

III. Understand audiences beyond analytics.

Personalization and behavioral targeting will give you the conversion, but we also look for engagement and connection with our audience. I’m not talking about just creating an ad in a language like Spanish or Chinese. I’m referring to content that appeals and is relevant to customers where they are. Knowing the market goes beyond analytics and statistics, Is understanding that content is a way to expand your brand universe to reach new and existing audiences with innovation and creativity, a fresh perspective on the delivery/platform, connecting with customers where they anytime, anywhere. No matter is an airport or the gym.

APAC corridors are the leading driver on the luxury market travel retail. That’s why understanding the traveling consumer and adjusting POS creative strategies to better connect with clients in a more personal way using technology and partnership with retails, airlines, etc. I experience this while working with United Airlines digital creative programs for the Asia Pacific.

IV. Align Digital & In-Store experiences.

The balance between store experience and digital experience is challenging. Creating cross channels experience is not just an app or an online campaign. Brands need to stay cost-effective in any of the verticals, but beyond that, is also how the market is moving on. The combination of digital & sensory experience is vital. While working in Quadramma I created several digital experiences with this in mind. Buyer patterns are constantly changing but your message should remain constant at every touchpoint.

We partner with Starbucks to create their first mobile experience in LatAm that was really a huge hit: customers could share a personalized holiday message to friends and acquaintances decorating their favorite seasonal drinks. Or Jazmin Chebar with an in-store app with exclusive content. Once customers were in the stores, they took pictures, share content, watch live streams, and use in-store iPads. Beyond the product, we wanted to connect with what the audience thinks, does, and wants.


Transforming Anxiety into Creative Energy

Fast-paced enviroment, calendars max-out with meetings, full inbox, and 4pm calls leave us with very little time for strategic activities. Even the best jobs and the best teams experience this pressure in one form or another. The harder you work and the more motivated you are to succeed, the easier we feel we have no time to accomplish what is important to us and also to the organization advance. A week goes too fast and too furious.

Time constraints can get the better of you, and this anxiety bleeds over into how we interact with people. We want to inspire our team, but we literally don’t have the time.  How can we find the precious balance, be a good leader and still get things done? The answer maybe a bit hidden in between of meetings and dayly routine.

Small moments, big opportunities

Every day is a combination of smaller moments. So if we take those moments apart,  into smaller, more manageable situations we can make more sense of our busy schedule. With this deconstruction process we can take any situation apart and then assemble it back together in new and unexpected ways (my partner specializes in fashion pattern deconstruction and was the inspiration for this idea). Elements on a situation may have been intermingled and the way you deal with one will impact on other parts of the problem. 

How we use the small moments and brief interaction in our day? Small gestures and invisible situations can bring out the best leadership inspiration. We cannot fix everything, but we can make a difference. It makes me think of the small pebble creating big ripples in the water. I dont think even the pebble knows what is creating behind. Leading and inspiring is something you get better with practice and its done in step by step.

The first thing is to identify what these small moments in our everyday conversations and interactions at work, and even at home. We are too busy to take time but with little attention you’ll see them very clear as Neo sees the ‘Matrix’. You can seize a small moment into a learning opportunity.

Finding the ‘smaller parts’ can be a challenge, but once you identify this, everything becomes much easier and more productive.

Making space in our busy schedule is a challenge, but this terraforming creates an opportunity to growt and a vibrant playground for talent to make better products and services. Creativity is an energy and whether you realize it or not, you emit and receive energy. We have an electromagnetic field in which creative energy flows naturally, but when the polarity is disrupted our team creative energy system is affected. Is vital to pay attention, because is subtle but escalate quickly.

Become a power converter that change anxiety into creative energy

One of our focus, besides deadlines, meetings and product development is to motivate team members to grow, encourage intelligent dialogue, infuse confidence, and empowering the reach their best of their skills.Everything we do is fueled by it and foster creative energy is vital to the team and the work.  

Find quick opportunities to grow a creative playground

  • Don’t try to solve the problem, listen first.

  • Create a space for dialogue and growth.

  • Give specific, constructive feedback.

  • Take time to know people.

Don’t try to solve the problem…first listen: When someone comes to you for help, we rush giving people suggestions when they ask for help. Ask them what they think would be a good solution and then create a space to implement it or try it out. By this, the team member can develop ownership of the solution, as they learn how to seize the opportunity and make a change.

Create space for dialogue and growth: People are afraid to admit a mistake because of the consequences, understandable. But when someone comes and says, “I think I made a mistake.” Don’t jump at it with all your artillery. Create an environment for growth and show them you trust them, even when there’s a mistake in the middle. We all make mistakes, remember. Think about the time you screwed-up and how you’d liked to be treated. This is a critical moment, especially in the process of innovation where failure is essential to the exploration process.

Give specific, constructive feedback: Concentrate on positive and specific suggestions on the situation and behavior. Not the person. Kindness and accuracy are important. Finally, what was the impact of the conflict or situation? Feedback is not criticism or praise, it is about observation. It’s timely and specific. It describes but doesn’t judge, and brings an understanding of the situation or issue. It’s one of the simplest yet most effective ways to develop others, creating a pattern of learning and growth.

Take time to know people: teams are made of people, personalities and attitudes. Recognize the diffences and look for ways to connect similar interest. A quick ”How are you, how’s everything? can open up a dialogue. Kindness is never out of fashion, and a bit of empathy can overcome frustrations and give you understanding on and how to offer support. It’s about build connections to inspire growth. Especially with creative teams, artists, designers, developers, well…everyone. Strive for authenticity, not perfection. Remember that conversation is with people, not to people.

Photo by Curtis MacNewton on Unsplash

Creating a team identity.

Creating a team identity beyond language.

Audiences and markets have become globalized and teams have grown to an amazing ecosystem of culturally diverse talents, inspiring brands across the globe with unlimited growth opportunity and fresh perspectives. We have offshore teams with copywriters and designers in London, development & QC in Buenos Aires, software engineers in Chennai and marketing teams in NYC. Maybe your campus in Prague has members from different nationalities.

Inspiring and managing teams is a wonderful challenge, and with team members from different countries and different cultural backgrounds and languages, it requires also a fresh and diverse perspective as their teams itself. Wherever your team is in one office or globally dispersed, they are expected to deliver their best performance, creativity, and unique point of view into the game. So, how do we leverage, support and inspire such a diverse workforce?

Language and cultural differences.

One of the key components of every collaborative relationship is trust, and open communication among team members is key. Language proficiency is a challenge and can undermine trust between its members. Colleagues with different levels of proficiency could be perceived as less communicative or reliable, undermining healthy trust-building in each other’s abilities and skills. It is crucial to find ways to transform these differences, into creative energy. It’s important to explore those differences so we know how to interact and grow as a group.

A way to encourage this understanding of diversity is to create unstructured moments, not necessarily 'a meeting'- where everyone can share their cultural background and expectations about communication and working style. The team gets to learn more about each other by listening, sharing and asking questions and sharing about their backgrounds, even to learn what kind of food they like, or learn a traditional recipe from your home. It's amazing when teams discover that we are not that different after all.

Teams experience a lot of pressure, and members of multi-language teams frequently relieve stress by switching into their native tongue, inadvertently excluding other teammates from their conversations. We need to reverse language barriers and communication anxiety by encouraging open dialogue in teams as a whole, creating a "team identity" equipped with amazing different strengths and unique backgrounds, united in one vision. Like a team of superheroes.

Reducing language gap

The success and strength of every multi-national team reside in one basic -but rather complex- aspect: communicationHow can you measure the degree of language connection among team members? When people come from similar nationalities, the level of 'language distance' is usually low. Even if they come from different backgrounds, people can interact formally and informally, align, and build trust. They arrive at a common understanding of what certain behaviors mean, and they feel close and congenial, which fosters good teamwork.

Coworkers who are geographically separated, or come from different countries and cultures, could experience some kind of language anxiety that could prevent interactions. This originates from the inability to communicate, missing information and/or negative evaluation. This negative dynamics reduce team performance, and especially for creatives, artist, and designers, where creative energy, collaborative expression, and multi-team interaction is vital.

Creating a team identity

In a team, is important that everyone gets enough speaking time, and that everyone knows what they’re working toward. What’s our vision and why we are doing what we do. Bringing everyone around common goals and a unified vision is key. I can not stress this more! as evident it may seem, this is poorly done, and team members spot it quickly when is fake. Is has to be an honest take, not a speech. That's why you need to know the brand, the clients, the team, the story. You need to be the first one to believe it to be able to inspire it. Highlighting the importance of each diverse skill in your team will level up the group dynamics, and also how much value the team is contributing to the success of the service, product or brand. Be open about the unique appreciation for everyone’s input and encourage meta-communication. Each particular story amounts to create a more solid, trustworthy and collaborative team.

Bringing everyone around a unified vision is key. Its has to be an honest take, not a speech. That's why you need to know the brand, the clients, the team, the story. You need to be the first one to believe it to be able to inspire it.

Break down your common goal into actionable steps and outline each individual’s role and responsibilities. This reduces the chance of misunderstandings and lets everyone know that their contribution matters. Clarity of each team member’s contribution also makes it easier to address team performance as a whole. It sets expectations for what needs to be done, by who and when.

Building a team identity also entails finding common things between team members. Make space in your working day to promote team interactions, to get to appreciate each other team members. Perhaps there are teammates who share the same taste in movies, music or TV shows. Some may bond over hobbies or share information about their families, etc. Personal connections within the team make it easier to work together, trust and have a solid team identity.

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To be continued…