As a brand guardian, every time I get to introduce consumers to a brand I consider to be “true luxury”, it is nothing less than a privilege.
However, there is one rule: I never advocate brands, with which I haven’t had some reasonable interaction (as a consumer, loyalist, or enthusiast). To do otherwise would be disingenuous and represses Transactional Integrity.
What is Transactional Integrity?
Transactional integrity is an experiential concept describing the favorable interaction between brands and consumers. It occurs when brands provide consumers with the values, emotions, features, and/or benefits they desire (known and unknown).
Customer-Centric, not Brand-Dominant
This concept is customer-centric and has little to do with the benefits and features communicated by the brand’s marketing team. If a brand is to be successful at creating transactional integrity, it’s managers should first tackle two profound questions:
– What do we tell our customers about who we are and what we stand for?
– What do our customers know about our identity and values?
If the answers to those questions are congruent, then the brand is well positioned to succeed in the future. If they are not in sync, then that brand’s manager had better seek the needed alignment… or find another job.
It’s Not A New Buzzword
In speaking with successful retail practitioners and consultants, I’ve often heard “transaction” used to describe consumer purchases; and “integrity” as a substitution for feedback (or customer satisfaction). It occurred to me that the two shouldn’t be separate and I struggled to find some balance that aptly reflected a mutually beneficial relationship between brands and consumers. If achieved, transactional integrity means a consumer is satisfied and has no sense of buyer’s remorse. In fact, the consumer will willingly reengage and deepen their trust with/in the brand.
It’s a Part of the Journey
Though transactional integrity can be likened to authenticity, it really is a component of the customer’s journey. In fulfilling my purpose (connecting consumers with the best life has to offer), things get very interesting when I can enhance customer experiences either by “trading them up” or introducing them to a new category of luxury. Accompanying my clients in the journey deepens trust, heightens transactional integrity, and opens them up to new ways of expressing their definition of luxury. After all, luxury isn’t just about products and services. It’s about experiences. This progressional thought on consumer engagement has led to my most updated and robust definition of luxury:
Luxury is an enlightened preference for the things that matter to us. It reflects longing and abundance; the past and the future; the material and the abstract; trend and passe. Luxury is a journey – a continuous pursuit for the better because what we value at different stages of life are in continuous flux. – Edmund Amoye