The Rebirth Of Luxury For A New World: The Human Values Revolution
Luxury has experienced many ups and downs along its historical timeline over the centuries. There have been moments of great upheaval socially and economically that have altered how luxury is expressed and consumed. Over the past several decades, there have been things that have fundamentally changed how luxury is perceived and experienced which unfortunately, resulted in a loss of its meaning, value and understanding. However, as change is inevitable, we have reached a period of great change again for not only the luxury industry, but for all of humanity.
Leading the way is The Luxury Renaissance Show, created and hosted by Angela Tunner, Founder, EIC and Publisher of EAT LOVE SAVOR and Dr. Martina Olbertova, Founder and CEO of Meaning.Global and author of The Luxury Report that has started this movement.
The Luxury Renaissance Show gives us a unique platform and a meeting place in the industry to voice diverse perspectives and bring the knowledge and insight from the fringes back to the epicenter of the discussion. Our vision for this show is to elevate the luxury conversation and create new knowledge. We are creating a global community of like-minded people who share the same vision with us and want to support the initiative.
With our guest, in each episode, we take a deep dive into exploring a particular topic, and engage in a more in depth and richer conversation with an educational purpose. All together we are building the foundational blocks for the paradigm shift to the new luxury and facilitating the transition for a new world. Out of these conversations we will gain a richer context to pave a new way for brands, giving them actionable insights on how to take on future challenges in luxury and to elevate the overall meaning for the betterment of the entire industry.
You can read more about the creation of our new show and our shared vision and mission in the launch article: LUXURY RENAISSANCE: The Rebirth Of Luxury For A New World
Watch the full Episode 1 of The Luxury Renaissance Show on a link here.
The Introduction: Why the Human Values Revolution?
The theme for the first show was “The Rebirth of Luxury For A New World: Why We Need It? The Human Values Revolution”. But, why the human values revolution?
As you’ll hear Dr. Martina Olbertova say in the episode, in a world where there is a lot of emphasis on measurement, there hasn’t been true value to measure. What does that mean? If you look back over the years, meaning and value have been stripped away from luxury as it has become decontextualized and humanity has been pulled away from luxury and out of business. We have become a world of stats, data and information, but what about people in all of this? What we all agree upon is that it is a time to put back into life and luxury, joy, passion, love, meaning, value and humanity. Martina gives us her perspective to help us understand why this is an important turning point for us all, especially in this pandemic time.
Dr. Martina Olbertova says:
“The reason why we have arrived at this meaninglessness in business is that the soul, joy, love and meaning were stripped away and what we were left with were just cold excel spreadsheets. We are obsessed with measuring things, but not with creating the value to measure in the first place. We need to put the meaning back at the core of brands and businesses because meaning is what people actually value in things. Consumption is not about the brands per se, but about what they mean to us, what they represent and how we identify with their values based on our own values. It is all about personal relevance.”
“The new luxury is about an enhancement and elevation of who I am authentically, as an authentic human being with an essence, with my own set of values and then using brand and products to creatively enhance who I already am. Not to buy into being somebody who I’m not and trying to get a competitive advantage in a society, although that role of luxury is still going to be there, especially in the emergent markets, but it’s becoming much more about who I am and identifying with my own inner essence.”
Listen to Martina speak in this short video clip about the Introduction: Why The Human Values Revolution.
The Aristocracy VS Meritocracy Divide
There was a time when luxury was steeped deep in values and culture, the time when it was entrenched in its origins – a world with a rich legacy of aristocracy and royalty. Luxury items and luxury living were their actual lifestyles, a mindset, and something they grew up with. At this time, luxury was full of meaning that was deep and personal. There was great care undertaken in the acquisition and passing things on, the items and knowledge about them were part of the family’s legacy. More than just items, luxury was a lifestyle and an approach to living with a set of values. But, in the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a societal shift, and something that happened in the market that had changed this and began stripping away the value and humanity out of luxury. Luxury became decontextualized, it became all about the status symbols, but luxury was never supposed to be just about the symbolism – it was supposed to be about the meaning behind it.
Angela Tunner says:
“In the 1980’s we had two choices when it came to luxury: to go down the aristocracy route where luxury was properly contextualised, made sense, had the history, the culture, the knowledge and the foundation. Or to go the other route to meritocracy where the meaning of what luxury was truly all about was lost. This was the route of quick profits, making luxury more democratised, all about status and seeking flashy symbols of ‘I’ve made it’ without understanding what it means – what’s behind it – the whole knowledge, craftsmanship and history of family.”
“We are now starting this Luxury Revolution with our new show as a Re-Evolution to put this meaning back into luxury and choose the route that we didn’t choose in the past when we were at the crossroads. We are going back to retrieve what was lost in order to move forward in a much more meaningful direction that creates real value for people.”
Listen to Angela speak in this short video clip, discuss The Aristocracy VS Meritocracy Divide: How Luxury Became Decontextualized And Lost Its True Meaning
The Re-Evolution Of Luxury: What We Want To Achieve With This Show
Why usher the Re-Evolution of luxury? The COVID pandemic is showing us that the time for change and a revolution in human values is right now. Before the pandemic, there were signs of change coming, but with the arrival of this pandemic, the change is now fast-moving and more visible than before. The silver lining of this pandemic is that it serves as a catalyst allowing us to transition towards the new luxury paradigm much faster than we would have before. The show is a vehicle and platform we want to use to help facilitate this change.
Dr. Martina Olbertova says:
“We have created The Luxury Renaissance Show as the re-naissance – as the re-birth of not just luxury but also of ourselves. We are coming out as our Selves, with a voice, to voice the topics we are truly passionate about and the things we want to do in the world and in business. We believe that by putting true value and meaning and passion and joy and love into things we want to do in business will inspire not just this show, but also clients and new opportunities for creating new things. I hope you will enjoy the ride with us and support us! We are doing it for the community, so we are doing it for you, and we hope to spread the message and grow from here.”
Listen to Martina speak in this short video clip about the Introduction: Why The Human Values Revolution.
Deep In Conversation with Antonio Paraiso
In this in-depth conversation with Antonio Paraiso, we explored what is the True Luxury, the historical evolution of the luxury industry which helped us cast light on the loss of meaning in luxury products, we talked about the impact of the COVID pandemic on the world of luxury moving forward, the four core pillars of luxury for the new world and how the luxury brands can create new relevance in the future, some of the lessons from anthropology that make us remember how important the intangibility factor is to luxury and his own personal desirability formula he created for the luxury brands.
Antonio Paraiso is an International Luxury, Marketing and Innovation Expert and a TEDx Speaker. He has worked with some of the biggest luxury brands in the industry, Porsche, Armani, Sheraton, LOEWE, Pandora, P&G, Rocco Forte Hotels as an executive trainer and a speaker. He is also a strategic advisor to the Portuguese and Spanish niche luxury and boutique brands, such as 5* hotels, luxury Real Estate promoters and investors, family owned wine brands to help support the booming local artisan craftsmanship and niche luxury economy. He is a collaborator of the World Business Forum, speaks at many luxury conferences and writes articles for the industry magazines.
It was a long and fruitful conversation that could last for many more hours. We both (Martina and Angela) like to go in-depth with our guests to uncover insights and knowledge that is often missing from the luxury brands and the luxury industry that is often focused far too much on marketing products, rather than on creating knowledge, value and understanding that goes behind them.
Here are the highlights of our conversation with Antonio Paraiso, along with the video snippets from the show that correspond with each of these points.
We sincerely hope you’ll enjoy them. We certainly did!
What Is True Luxury?
The definition of luxury is widely debated, and with the loss of luxury’s inherent meaning, the general perspective of luxury was pulled further and further away from its roots and true value. Antonio Paraiso believes that the true luxury is a “sociological phenomenon of consumption. Where consumers are educated, demanding, cultivated, they have a very high purchasing power and so they are looking for products and services that mirror their culture, values, personality and tastes.” In all items, there is a tangibility. But with true luxury, there are elements of intangibility and these intangibles are crucial where true luxury is concerned. This is because the tangible parts are easily replicable, but what separates true luxury from any other consumer brands is the intangible part: the symbolic aura that is not replicable.
Listen to Antonio speak in this short video clip going in-depth on the subject: What Is True Luxury?
The Historical Trajectory Of Luxury: How Did Luxury Brands Lose Meaning Through Market Consolidation?
There has been an evolution that has driven luxury to where it is today, to this loss of meaning. There is a link with luxury’s origins and their businesses moving into the modern world. Since these were family businesses, they relied on family members for their continued operations, however there were succession issues at some of them that affected their decisions. Or they were simply looking for a fresh new beginning and a bigger market opportunity. Along with the market demand for growth that fell in line with the emergence of the middle classes and their increased access to the funds with which to purchase them, the accessibility of luxury also increased. But with their purchase, there was no context or knowledge about the culture – about what they were acquiring, and therefore the thinking behind them disconnected from the roots of luxury.
Listen to Antonio speak in this short video clip about the consolidation of the luxury industry: The Historical Trajectory Of Luxury: How Did Luxury Brands Lose Meaning Via Market Consolidation?
The Impact Of COVID On The Luxury Industry
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the world. It has shaken us to our core. It has caused us to question our priorities and what we truly value. Things that once seemed to matter, the superficiality that blanketed our world, that which held no value, is falling away. In this life-altering moment, there is a silver lining; an opportunity to pivot and course correct. We have been shown that people matter. It has reminded us that we desire a life filled with meaning rather than objects. This inevitably means that some parts of the luxury industry are on the rise, such as the wellness, well-being, seclusion and private travel, while others are witnessing a steep decline in their attractiveness to customers, mostly personal luxury.
Listen to Antonio Paraiso speak in this short video clip about the impact of COVID on the luxury industry: The Impact of COVID Pandemic On The Luxury Industry.
The Four Core Pillars Of The New Luxury For The Future
In this new post-pandemic world, there is a need to re-think the foundations on which luxury will be built, sold and consumed. The four core pillars of the new luxury industry will need to be firmly rooted in embracing digital as the new environment, in sustainability and values, in spirituality and human essence, and lastly in a greater attention to the brand’s symbology.
Where lockdown and travel restrictions are concerned, digital will have to be embraced as a bridge between the seductive and interactive experience of purchasing luxury in the physical stores. The luxury industry will have to think about how to recreate the same personal intimate experiences online. According to Antonio, digital is not the natural environment for luxury, because the human element is needed for the seductive ‘dance’ but sees it as inevitable that luxury will have to embrace and adapt to take brands into the new post-COVID world.
Here are the four pillars for building relevance of luxury in the new world:
- Digital & Technology: Augmented reality, virtual reality and meaningful digital and phygital experiences that make the seamless connection between the offline and online worlds
- Sustainability: Sustainable supply chains, sustainable business models, circular economy, zero waste, local production and cultural diversification – entering new markets and new cultures
- Spirituality and Essentialism: Making luxury brands, services and luxury experiences more essential, based on universal human values, emotions and experiences
- Symbology: Brand Meaning, Cultural Relevance and Creating New Contexts Around Brands
Listen to our discussion on these four core pillars of luxury for the new world in detail in this clip: The Four Core Pillars Of The New Luxury For The Future
The Anthropology And Philosophy Of Luxury
During his studies, Antonio has some great teachers who taught him about the role of intangibility and meaning in luxury, about the role of dreams and the cultural lens with which luxury brands need to be created and maintained. Two of them were the influential French philosopher Gilles Lipovetsky and the past owner of the Loewe brand, Mr. Loewe. In our discussion, Antonio was recalling what these encounters have taught him about luxury.
Antonio says: “Dreams are essential to our Humanity. Luxury is an absolute necessity to human beings to assert their superiority over other animals on the planet. Otherwise, our existence is only about survival. How boring!”. To truly express luxury, there is a great deal of philosophy and aesthetics. We need to find the place for beauty in business again. Beauty is very much needed today, as it seduces the customer and creates desirability.
Listen to Antonio speak in this short video clip about luxury values: The Anthropology And Philosophy Of Luxury
The Desirability Formula For Luxury Brands
Desirability is important and a vital aspect of luxury, for without it there is nothing driving a potential customer to buy because desirability is linked to emotions and the emotional connection, which stimulates sales. Inspired by an interview with Bernard Arnault CEO and Chairman with LVMH spoke with Bloomberg TV about what drives their sales. Mr. Arnault said he believes the key was about the desirability of LVMH brands.
But, what is desirability? How does a brand become desirable? Antonio Paraiso spent some time in reflection and then created his own desirability formula for the luxury brands. As Antonio says: “Luxury is all about the art of seduction. You don’t sell to the customer. You seduce them.”
Here are the 3 core aspects that Antonio Paraiso has identified to build desirability for a luxury brand:
- Creativity – Using creativity to foster innovation and uniqueness
- Design – The brand’s own aesthetic universe and beauty
- Brand equity – Meaning, symbolism, brand story and exclusivity
Listen to Antonio discuss this further in the clip: The Desirability Formula in Luxury by Antonio Paraiso
Three key takeaways
1 – The stripping away of meaning in luxury has powerful historical roots that lead to the meritocracy and aristocracy divide and further on to the consolidation of luxury in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a societal shift towards the rise of the middle classes and a subsequent consolidation of the luxury industry, which have began stripping away the inherent value and humanity out of luxury. In result, luxury became decontextualized, it became all about the status symbols, but luxury was never supposed to be just about the symbolism – it was supposed to be about the meaning behind it.
2 – Luxury sales are all about the Art of Seduction. As Antonio Paraiso says: “You don’t sell to the customer, you seduce the customer.” A luxury purchase is about creating a meaningful experience for the customer which is all about the values and the ways to connect with the luxury brand and the luxury product on a deeper emotional level.
As Dr. Martina Olbertova says: “The luxury purchase is not really a sale and it’s not even about acquiring an object of art or a luxury item. It reminds me much more of picking your own spouse – not to relegate spouses to objects, the other way around. It is a long-term process and you are going to be with that brand or a product for a long period of time. And sometimes it’s a hefty investment so you need to connect with it on a profound level.”
3 – The importance of embracing digital fully into the mix as a new environment for creating meaningful luxury experiences and ways to connect with the customers on an emotional level. Luxury brands need to be making experiences more tactile and multi-sensory from the technological perspective, but equally rich in values, meaning and symbolism from the brand experience and storytelling perspective.
Listen to us discuss our takeaways in this short video clip: KEY TAKEAWAYS from E1 The Luxury Renaissance Show: Loss Of Meaning, Art Of Seduction, Digital Luxury
Thank you for watching and reading and we will see you on the next episode on Meaningful Luxury Experiences on August 19, 2020 at 4pm BST / 8 am PST / 11 am EST!
Where to find out more about Antonio Paraiso
About The Luxury Renaissance Show
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ABOUT THE LUXURY RENAISSANCE CREATORS
Angela Tunner is the founder, editor in chief, creative director and publisher of EAT LOVE SAVOR® International Luxury Lifestyle Magazine. Tunner is a multidisciplinary woman. Stemming from her experience as a sous chef and manager of a fine dining restaurant manager, she sees fine food is an integral part of the luxury lifestyle, so she integrated it into the magazine. EAT LOVE SAVOR® is more than a magazine name – it is a mantra. Angela has invested over thirty years into an independent and passionate study of luxury communications and branding. She has a keen eye for luxury, understands its language, DNA, its essence and continues to study and searches the world for high-calibre luxury goods, services and experiences to share with the magazine’s readers. Driven by a passion for education and positivity in media, she takes pride in providing the best timeless, educational and enchanting reading experience possible and content written by luxury industry professionals. As a seasoned, multi-disciplined professional, she is accomplished in a wide variety of fields. In addition to her primary job functions, Tunner’s accomplishments include a nomination for the RBC Women’s Entrepreneurs award; winner of the Women of Excellence Award “Woman of Vision”, winner of a Gourmand World Cookbook award for “Best Easy Recipes” for a cookbook she wrote and published, and the fine dining restaurant she co-owned and operated was the winner of two Wine Spectator Grand Awards.
Dr. Martina Olbertova is the world’s leading expert on creating meaning and cultural relevance in business. She is a speaker, writer, brand advisor, cultural strategist, social scientist and semiotician on a mission to redefine the role of meaning in the industry, teaching organisations how to create meaning to encapsulate value from the inside out.
She is advising brands and organisations on how to maximize value creation and meaningful growth from the point of view of where the businesses, culture and society are going in the 21st century.
Martina is the Founder and CEO of Meaning.Global, a global strategy & cultural intelligence consultancy helping brands and businesses navigate the shifting symbolic meanings in global culture and adapt to the fast-changing context of our world today to profit from culture change and create new value and relevance.
She helps brand and business leaders be more culturally savvy and create authentic meaning to connect with their customers around moments that truly matter.
Martina is a contributor to Branding Strategy Insider, a commentator for Forbes, Luxury Daily, Luxury Society, Eat Love Savor magazine and author of The Luxury Report: Redefining The Future Meaning Of Luxury.
She holds a doctorate in Media Studies from Charles University in Prague, and regularly consults, teaches and speaks at conferences around the world.
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