If you know luxury, then you know Milton Pedraza. For nearly two decades, he has been at the helm of one of the world’s most trusted voices in the luxury and premium goods and services sector, The Luxury Institute. With exceptional expertise and emotional intelligence at the core of LI’s message, Pedraza has transformed thousands of companies into high-performing customer-centric organizations. And Luxcelerate, LI’s leading neuroscience, and emotional intelligence-based training program have radically improved the leadership of many Fortune 100 companies.
As you will see, Pedraza believes industrial age solutions won’t work for luxury brands in a digital world. Relevant, rich, and real-time data, can only be gained from deeper, more trustful brand experiences. And for luxury brands, digital storytelling may provide a strategic advantage.
Click here for the Luxury Institute’s press release on Consumer Behavior During and Post Pandemic
In an exclusive, Pedraza sheds light on how elite businesses can use digital reality to create immersive client experiences that inspire brand loyalty, build a narrative, and drive growth.
DRW Communications (DRW): From the Luxury Institute’s perspective, what does it mean for luxury and premium brands to be “authentic”?
Milton Pedraza (MP): It means the founder and management are clear about their purpose and values, and that they communicate and live those values in the way they deliver value within their products and services (fastest-growing part of luxury) daily, moment by moment, experience by experience, individual by individual.
DRW: What challenges must businesses overcome in conveying their “authenticity” to customers when collaborating with digital reality technologies?
MP: They must overcome the Industrial Age mentality of command and control, mass production and marketing, and the focus on truly being customer-centric. Digital is simply a tool to communicate, express and truly personalize the authenticity.
DRW: Are these challenges resolved at the marketing/public relations level, or at the level of organization (i.e., Emotional Intelligence systems; the role of Chief Customer Officers)?
MP: They must be resolved at the purpose, values, culture, and execution levels. Brand communications should reflect the reality of the relevant company value proposition. Not what they claim, because it sounds great, or because it’s popular, but cannot deliver.
Creating and delivering value from radical creativity, innovation, and constant adaptability, delivered with humanity and emotional intelligence, are critical.
DRW: What opportunities for innovation do you see for businesses and marketers to bring emotional intelligence and digital reality storytelling together? How might this inspire deeper customer loyalty?
MP: Just as when we judge how we feel about a human being, consumers will judge brands, not only for their expertise and innovation in the industry but also the emotional intelligence that is expressed at every touchpoint, whether algorithmic or human or combined. If brands can optimize these and deliver value not just to segments, but to individuals, in a truly personalized way, they can succeed and capture customer loyalty and maximize lifetime value and referrals and recommendations.
DRW: Where might the blind spots be?
MP: The failure of boards, managers and founders to think purpose, culture and values first, and then develop the value propositions that deliver functional and emotional value underneath. The Industrial Age mindset still weighs heavily on all generations, including Millennials and Gen Z, because most schools and corporations still behave, and treat employees, as if they work on factory assembly lines, with little creativity or emotional intelligence.
Business is about thriving in corporations that are humanistic, dynamic complex adaptive systems that exist in a complex adaptive world. Creating and delivering value from radical creativity, innovation, and constant adaptability, delivered with humanity and emotional intelligence, are critical.
DRW: From an Emotional Intelligence perspective, what should organizations and elite experts think about when building a profitable digital reality storytelling strategy?
MP: The story must contain genuine positive, noble reasons for constituents to believe that brand founders and managers created, and run the brand, for missionary reasons, to serve others, and add value, vs. mercenary reasons, just for the ego, and/or just for the money. Mercenaries will fail in the next decade. Trust is a maximum requirement for people brands in a digital, transparent world.
For more information, check out LI’s podcast, The Expertise of Emotionally Intelligent Luxury, where you get insights on everything from privileged access and advanced personalization, to post-pandemic luxury brand reinvention.