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Re-defining luxury and the ‘richness vs reach’ equation

Shaun Smith has an interesting post on how The Six Senses resort brand sets out to re-define luxury, over at The Customer Experience Blog. That set me thinking on Evans & Wurster’s old (old? crikey. 1999) book Blown To Bits in which they look at how the ‘richness versus reach’ equation is now, er, blown to bits, as they put it. For example, banking divides its customer experience into a ‘mass’ offer (‘reach’, as in mass reach) and an elite, exclusive offer (private banking or the ‘riches’ part of the segmentation). This divide, increasingly, doesn’t work, as the customer dissatisfaction levels with banks shows.

The arrival of mass luxury (through mass affluence) has left the old equation (the assumpton that ‘mass’ and ‘luxury’ are distinct) in tatters, argued Evans and Wurster. Quite right. Brilliant Slideshare, below, helps cement our thinking on how luxury ain’t what it used to be. If you think fashion, for example, it’s now cool to mix designer labels with accessories from Zara, Top Shop, Primark (well, up to a point). In the Slideshare, look out for the parallel example of Louis Vuitton setting up ten street vendors in New York; not to sell knock-offs, of course, but genuine Vuitton stuff.

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