What will I be doing in 2019?

As us usual, I’m always influenced by the current zeitgeist. Today’s inspiration comes from a Vox video attempting to answer the question: Does expensive wine taste better?

I’ve always told my clients that wine is a sensory experience that requires the use of all senses, but I’ve learned that what makes me more successful than my competitors are the stories I tell; and how I empower my clients with enough knowledge to “try something new” the next time they go to the store. That’s an investment that yields infinite returns no matter what products you represent. #AlwaysAddValue

Yes, it is true that awesomely well-trained, data savvy, wine professionals like myself can manipulate clients to buy whatever we want to sell (see the research), but my satisfaction has always come from surprising clients with profound and pleasurable discoveries.

That’s why I love treating curious customers to some of my rarest or more expensive wines in the first meeting. Sometimes, they can’t even afford the wines I present – so why do I take this counterintuitive approach? Well, aside from the fact that it fosters desire, it’s also because what my clients value most – above ownership and consumption – is a journey. So, setting them up with a view of what they “could be” drinking is more important than someone telling them what they “should be” drinking. My clients don’t just want me to help them make memories – they want me to inspire dreams. Doing this the right way always requires more work that most professionals are willing to put in, but it is the most sustainable strategy to truly winning hearts and minds. 

Customers and friends still contact me every time they find something new. The most gratifying aspect of this is that they want me to share their new discoveries with them. I go from being a consultant to a partner. #SoThankful #KnowYourCustomer #KnowYourCompetition.

Here is my recipe for the work I’ll be undertaking in 2019:

  • Take my unique CX approach to #MakingMemories #InspiringDreams; and
  • Marry that with my purpose to “give clients access to the best that life has to offer”; and
  • Add my love of #Datasets and #GeospatialModelling; then
  • Throw in a sprinkle of data science with a dash of #SeeingAroundCorners; and
  • Add a continuous stream of confidence and perseverance.

2018 has already come to an end in some parts of the world and is only a couple hours away from my comfortable perch. I sincerely want to thank every person who has been part of my #Superstory thus far. I am especially thankful for the obstacles I overcame and all the experiences that have led up to this exact moment. Most of all, I am thankful for my wife and family. I couldn’t have made it this far without their support.

In 2019 and beyond, I believe there will be a lot more stories wanting to be told, and more memories to facilitate. I’ll be focused on the consumer frontline – bringing the fringes to the front by empowering makers (a word borrowed from a company I admire) and consumers with the tools to unlock hidden value.

#TurningDesertsIntoGardens

#HappyNewYear

#NextBigThing

#StartedFromTheBottom

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Advice: Don’t Take Things Personal

One Thing#Newsflash: You can’t make all your stakeholders, friends, colleagues (all the people you know or don’t know) happy all the time.

As professionals, we talk a lot about listening and looking at issues from multiple angles. Those are really important lessons that keep coming up in my career, but lately, there’s a bigger lesson I have learned:

Try not to take all that happens to you as a personal indication of your value or potential. 

If you dig deep enough you will be able to connect the dots in your past and realize that everything that happens to you is for your own good. You are exactly where you need to be right now. All the things that have happened to you HAVE HAPPENED. You can’t change the past and you do not know the future – but you have NOW.

What is the next thing you can do to move your goals forward? Have a big dream, but just focus on doing one little thing that gets you closer. Do that one little thing – that if left undone, you would regret not trying at all. Do one little thing for yourself.

#ChooseYourself #WhosLookingOutForYou #IfNotNowWhen

One Thing Well

UPDATE: Transactional Integrity and Luxury

I updated my last post on Transactional Integrity  with a new post on Linkedin Pulse. Check it out. I’m so glad to be blogging again. I also updated my visuals using free high-res images . Thanks to Kirby Ferguson (@remixeverything) for mentioning.

Transactional Integrity… and Luxury

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. Continue reading

Are you the target?

I came home this evening a very disappointed consumer. I had just seen “Man of Steel” and “The Wolverine“. I know it seems so off-message to start my post on luxury with talk of comic book heroes, but read on to see where this leads.  Continue reading

I Love The Business of Luxury Like A Fish Loves Water

So, the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference is over and I’m wondering why I go to this conference every year.

Well, its simple.

The Dream Team (and yours truly) - Members of the LuxRe Club from The College of William and Mary at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

The Dream Team (and yours truly) – Members of the LuxRe Club from The College of William and Mary at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

I like to listen to the array of views on what’s going on in the luxury industry. I also enjoy meeting new minds, and reuniting with old friends. However, the real reason I go to the conference is simply because it makes me feel good. It fires up my creative neurons and allows me to think about things in different ways. The best way to describe it is that I feel comfortable – like a fish in water.

Reimagining the In-Store Experience: One of the panels at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

Re-imagining the In-Store Experience: One of the panels at the HBS Retail and Luxury Goods Conference

Key Idea: Find those environments and business cultures that make you feel good about who you are. Find the people and places that excite your true passions. You won’t go far if you fail to be honest with yourself about who you are and what you believe in. Act like a luxury brand and stand for something.

My View: The main reason I joined the industry is because it stands for something that is important to me. Though there are opposing opinions out there, I believe that the luxury segment benefits a vast array of stakeholders in different geographic, cultural, and socio-economic segments – governments, companies, the environment, and of course, consumers. The industry doesn’t just provide beautiful products and valuable services for consumers – it also provides jobs and supports economic development.

BOLD Customer Experience Management, Blogging, @doubletree… I need more than 140 characters

I need more than just 140 characters

As soon as I tweeted it, I felt like I had to say more. Have you ever met someone, read a book, or watched a movie that contained ideas or dreams that you’ve always had? Thoughts that, prior to the encounter, you couldn’t concisely express?

I’ve been having those moments as I’ve been reading this book about companies that adopt a customer-first culture.

BoldThe book has been the breath of fresh air I needed to fill my lungs of passion for the customer. After going through some of my past posts, it dawned on me that I agreed with the authors (Shaun Smith and Andy Milligan) long before I received the book as a graduation present in 2012. Since starting the book, I have ordered four more copies for my friends across the US (and even in Japan). I think you should read it too.

Heck I might just send a free copy to the first person to send me a message via the comment box. 
 
Past Posts

As I was looking through my old posts, I felt so proud for having a point of view of my own, before being introduced to someone else’s. I couldn’t have begun to formulate my perspective if I hadn’t had a cathartic outlet like blogging. It never really mattered if I sounded stupid, smart, or experienced, I just wanted to put my thoughts out there. All that mattered was for me to develop my own point of view. Finding this book was such a proud moment for me because it lets me know that I’m not crazy. I’m just saying what I think. So its really important to blog.

If you need to develop a point of view on something that’s important to you, start putting your thoughts out there. Start a blog…. do something.

On to the next piece.

I’m in Boston, MA for the Retail and Luxury Goods Conference held by Harvard Business School. I’ve been coming since 2011 because its such a comfortable zone, being around luxury industry professionals. It’s especially relevant for me because of my personal mission in life and business:

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Whenever I come to the conference, I stay with the same hotel brand – DoubleTree by Hilton Worldwide. I have to say it is such a wonderful customer experience because I always get what I expect – the feeling of a home away from home. More to come sooner than you think.

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