Pauline Brown, former chairperson of North America for LVMH, claims that luxury brands and their leaders need to develop aesthetic intelligence in addition to traditional, artificial and emotional intelligence.
Brown defines aesthetic intelligence as the ability to use one senses to appreciate, elicit and create pleasurable experiences. Aesthetic intelligence touches all five senses. An example is going to a great restaurant. In addition to great food and an interesting, well-executed menu, there also needs to be ambiance, acoustics that enable diners to talk to one another without having to yell and appropriate lighting. And it’s about the small details, the cutlery, glassware, table and seating and how they interact with the food.
Brown points to classic examples of how aesthetic intelligence can take a commodity product and transform it into a luxury experience. Steve Jobs did it at Apple, and Howard Schultz did it at Starbucks. Today, Apple is not as much as a technology company as it is a luxury products company. iPhone purchasers pay a 600 to 700% premium for Apple products compared to competitors whose functionality is equal and sometimes superior to Apple's.
Using aesthetic intelligence enables showrooms to excite and delight their clients. Delight is not quantifiable. Most companies don't have a clue of its importance. However, an estimated 80 to 90% of product purchasing decisions are based on how the product or service makes the person feel. Most sales and marketing professionals are focused on features, functions, costs and benefits. “We really are in a rather unsophisticated marketplace for understanding how people feel, empathizing with it and actually taping into it. And delivering in ways that are genuine and uplifting," Brown said.
Your clients want to dream. They want to aspire. It’s human nature. What are you doing in your showroom to leverage aesthetic intelligence to make your clients’ dreams realities?