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In Meta-Luxury: Brands and Culture of Excellence (Palgrave), Interbrand’s Managing Director for Italy Manfredi Ricca and Global Director Rebecca Robins explore the concept of luxury today. The authors provide a muchneeded guide to the meaning of true luxury which enables the reader to navigate through a fog of increasing misconceptions. Robins accepted the opportunity to be our temporary beacon to start our journey.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE CONCEPT OF 'META-LUXURY' TO OUR READERS?
The concept of meta-luxury is based on excellence as a conviction versus luxury as a convention. It is both a cultural and economic paradigm based on four drivers of choice. The first driver is craftsmanship, which we define as the infusion of unique personal competences and passion into the creation of items that are the result of an authentic labour of love and judgment. The second is focus, which embodies the quest for depth rather than breadth, driving the pursuit of excellence. The third is history, as longevity is an objective datum of a brand, an invaluable asset which can be achieved only through the passing of time. The fourth is rarity, the result of a process combining knowledge, purpose and timelessness. Rarity drives pricing; remunerating the operating and capital costs of excellence requires a more ambitious pricing policy.
AND WHY DID MANFREDI RICCA AND YOU DECIDE TO WRITE THIS BOOK NOW?
The term ‚luxury‘ is possibly one of the most problematic and diluted terms in the language of brands and business. This very lack of precise meaning has been and remains a challenge for brands that occupy a different space in terms of offering and demand. Meta-luxury was inspired by the confluence of our research, experiences and the conversations that we were having with our clients.
IS META-LUXURY COMPATIBLE WITH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES AND THE CURRENT INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION?
There is a prevalent misconstrued notion of craftsmanship as something that is discordant with innovation and technology, but the reality is that the craftsmen behind many of these unique creations have been combining their knowledge and human judgment with the best tools for centuries.
As Horacio Pagani, founder of the Pagani supercar business, said to us, ‘The best craftsmen. State-of-the-art technology. Extraordinary materials. The best combination of design and function. The utmost effort in terms of imagination. All of this stems from a form of extraordinary care, stretching from creativity to production’.
The shift we‘re seeing in the demand for luxury now is one that‘s gravitating increasingly towards the value of experience. This is going to be a significant challenge for luxury brands that historically have been purveyors of excellence in product. Brands are radically rethinking how consumers experience their brand, from micro-moments to the macroexperience and the whole notion of the value of experience to their business.