Memoirs of an Amnesiac - Antonio Paraiso -

How would you define excellence?

In 1983, I’ve read ‘A Passion for Excellence’, by Tom Peters and Nancy Austin, and gained a totally new way of understanding excellence.

Then, over a 30-year career in business, I got used to hearing that excellence is synonymous with extreme quality, perfection, or something that goes beyond normality. Dictionaries define it as something exceptional or extremely good.

But having studied Luxury Brand Management and read a lot about this world of fascination, I began to understand excellence differently. I read many experts, investigate the stories of luxury brands and reflect upon the subject.

Slowly, I’ve been changing the way I understand excellence and creating my definition of this concept. The subject is fascinating and following my reflection, I’ve created my own formula of what I believe is excellence!

Perfect tangibility

There is no doubt that an excellent object, service or moment will have to ensure that every tangible aspect is close to perfection. The quality of the materials, the design, the quality of the manufacturing, the place where the service is provided, the impeccable appearance of the service provider as well as their behaviour, all have to fit in what I call “perfect tangibility”. However, in my opinion, this is not enough to achieve excellence. There are four intangible attributes missing which, when wisely added to this equation, will produce full excellence.

Bringing intangibility to the formula

Memorable experiences, which demand all the senses, are decisive in building excellence. In this context, the creative ability is important in order to produce amazing experiences. It is worth watching the videos of Sublimotion restaurant in Ibiza to understand what are unique, unforgettable experiences.

Emotion has to be mandatory in communicating the brand to the target audience. When clients are touched by emotion, they are happier, less rational and spend more. Without emotion, there will hardly be excellence. The video series ‘The Proposal’ are a few videos by Cartier brand that clearly show the important role of emotion in this context.

The exclusivity of the products or services along with customized interaction add high value to the offer and make the recipient feel unique and special. For example, an exclusive and elegant gift would be a Port Wine birth year bottle.

Brands that allow the customer to be engaged in the processes, clearly increase the sense of belonging and loyalty. Berluti and Ermenegildo Zegna provide this enticing engagement in the ordering process of tailor-made products.

I truly believe that the formula that allows us to get closer to excellence in everything we do, be it in our personal or professional lives, is to combine “perfect tangibility” with the above-mentioned 4 Es.

I often say that luxury is made of the subtle combination of perfect tangibility with seductive intangibility. And excellence follows a very similar path.


António Paraíso

Marketing . Luxo . Inovação

Consultant and Speaker

The Evolution of Luxury

The Evolution of Luxury

The word ‘luxury’ stems from the Latin concept of light and – since the very beginning – it also was strongly related to excess, abundance, exaggeration, opulence, eccentricity, squandering, absence of measure. It is something above and beyond the ordinary and clearly not for everyone.

With this in mind, it may be said that luxury, as a sociological phenomenon of consumption, probably originated in the Roman Empire, around the year 27 BC. There is documented evidence of the Emperors’ abnormal behaviours of ostentation and wastefulness.


Luxury is about exclusivity and that is probably due to the phenomenon of the … please read more

Creative Liaisons in Luxury

Consumers showing abundant purchasing power do always have very high expectations, enjoy surprises that make life a lot more vibrant and when taken by pleasant surprise, seldom argue about price. Hence, permanent creativity is one of the essential ingredients in any luxury product or service. Quo vadis, Luxus?

The creative ability is fascinating.  I admire talented minds that create, inspire, provoke and surprise, whether in arts or business.

“Memoirs of an Amnesiac”, the book by French pianist and composer Erik Satie is an example of fascinating


and provocative creativity. A delight for the intellect. Satie was  … please read more

Charm is of the essence

In recent years, luxury has been too democratized, very much due to globalization, hypermodernity and trade up phenomena. Consequently, brands increase sales, but slowly and over time luxury products and services become more similar to one another and lose value. The new antidote against the democratization of luxury brands seems to be a clear investment in employees that convey genuine warmth and charm as a way of providing pleasure and happiness to customers. Quo vadis, Luxus?


Thomas L. Friedman in his book The World is Flat, analyzes the phenomenon of globalization and the increasing leveling of the different regions of the world, regarding the development of societies and their access to goods and services in general.

Gilles Lipovetsky, contemporary French philosopher, who was my teacher and with whom I have talked a lot about the sociological evolution of luxury and the ideas in his book The Eternal Luxury, was the first to realize that the hyper-modern society of  … please read more

Online and Offline as one Luxury Universe

According to the December 2010 edition of, consumers of luxury and premium goods and services, worldwide, are increasingly using mobile web devices – smartphones and tablets – to search for information about everything they want to buy. Quo vadis, Luxus?

Luxury smartphone

The use of mobile Web is experiencing impressive growth. It is estimated that there are about 5 billion mobile phones in the world and about 30% of users have regular Web access in this way. And although this percentage is not the same in all regions of the world – in Europe it is still relatively low – it surely is an indicator of the predictable evolution in the near future. And this evolution will be particularly fast in the premium market, because nowadays the luxury consumer belongs to the best educated generation ever, achieves wealth at younger age than previous generations, is very technology-savyy and knowledgeable of new ways of communication, using them both … please read more

Luxury is Going Green

The global recession has also affected the financial situation of those who consume luxury regularly. It has somewhat led them to reassess their lifestyles and rethink the values upon which they live their lives. Among others, they feel growing concern for the environment and favour brands that also feel that way. Quo vadis, Luxus?

Pamela Danzinger

Pamela Danzinger is one of the most respected researchers in consumer behaviour in the luxury universe. Her market research The Luxury Market Is Going Green and Luxury Brands Can Not Afford to Ignore It, confirms that … please read more

“Thou shalt not flaunt it”

There is a recent phenomenon, somewhat paradoxical, that begins to gain momentum in the luxury market. It is called Secret Shopping. This trend invites premium and luxury brand executives to think about and eventually adapt to some good practices. Quo vadis, Luxus?

Sometime ago, I have read an interesting article about this phenomenon written by my good friend Susana Costa e Silva, PhD, university professor and marketing researcher, arguing that the economic crisis is driving luxury consumers to be more socially responsible and more discreet in the form of purchase and consumption. The article also quoted Milton Pedraza, President of the Luxury Institute – whom I met in New York City to discuss ideas: “It is distasteful today, to adopt exuberant and flamboyant behaviours when buying luxury products and services“.

A friend of mine who lives in Spain and works as store manager for a very well known French luxury brand, recently told me over dinner that, in recent times the purchase by phone and internet of leather bags and purses has increased, because such customers still wish to enjoy their favorite luxury items, but do not want to be seen in the store buying in these times of recession.


An article published in the Universia Knowledge newsletter of Wharton Business School cites Roxanne Paschall, senior merchandising director of the Italian luxury brand Bottega Veneta: “It’s a little bit gauche to be ostentatious with  … please read more

The Fascination of Luxury

The Fascination of Luxury

The luxury market, like any other sector, is experiencing considerable change and the brands that serve this segment need to know where it is heading so to adapt their offer. Quo vadis, Luxus?

The world of luxury has a fascinating appeal. It draws you in.

It draws your attention, curiosity and the desire to belong.

It draws you in by its prominence, its excellence but most of all because it is untouchable. It has mystery, elegance, innovation, history, tradition, exclusivity, sophistication and pleasure for all the senses, making it desired by many, yet accessible to few.

Luxury is essentially a state of mind. It is a way of life. It is much more than just high purchasing power. Mademoiselle Coco Chanel once said, “Some people think that luxury is the opposite of poverty. But it is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.”

Coco Chanel, luxury


In fact, the high and insouciant purchasing power is not the only factor typical of the luxury markets. Usually, these are … please read more