When we think of luxury items, we often conjure up the image of multi-million dollar homes, Birkin bags, yachts, high-end vehicles, rolex watches – items only to be enjoyed by the super rich.
We seldom think of human connection as a luxury item.
Things are definitely changing, as the Luxury Institute believes that the expertise of honest advice, emotional bonding with a trusted human being will always be welcome and sought out by most affluent wealthy and ultra wealthy clients.
I have recently noticed that there is a rise in in-person community events and meet ups. With the internet, there has been a big increase in online programs. Facebook groups are growing. Apple sends you a report of your average screen time. The convenience of doing everything in the comfort of your own home has been a major selling point.
Many universities and entrepreneurs have created online programs, because they offer flexibility. You usually do not have to quit your job in order to go back to school. Classwork and assignments can be done from anywhere. Furthermore, they are more affordable. With this flexibility, students can work around professional and personal commitments.
In 2017, when I completed my executive MBA, I chose a university that offered a blended model program. This model incorporates online learning with an on campus residency. We had to spend three weeks on campus at the beginning and at the end of the program. Students who specialized in international business spent an extra two weeks in Asia or Europe for a face-to-face residency.
We had the opportunity to make real life connections with our cohorts. This was where the value of the program was. To be able meet from across the world and create connections, it was indeed a luxury that would last for a lifetime.
For people who take online courses, they give up the sense of camaraderie that exists in a cohort of like-minded people for a period of time. The time together creates enduring bonds that is often valuable over the longterm.
Last year I made the decision to attend at least three in-person events for training, where I had to fly out of the country for two of them and out of the province for the other. Attending in-person events are now becoming that luxury item and people are going back to needing human connection. Getting away from the computer screen is a welcome relief.
Nothing beats the in person connection.
The human connection is one critical factor in the success model. Several companies in the luxury fashion space are innovating the use of the personal stylist to support online sales.
Some franchise businesses and direct sales companies are very good at having annual and leadership conferences so that people can gather in person with like minded peers for education and motivation. This is built in to their success model.
On the other hand, corporations have eliminated many of these events, and have even cut back on the annual Christmas party and other get-togethers.
With the increase of technology like Alexa and Siri, and the increase of screen time, human connection has become devalued.
The affluent is moving to high touch and lower technology. They have placed more value on the human contact.