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