20 May 2008

Upcoming book on the “high end”

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Future High Tide of High End
A few weeks ago we were contacted by Marco Bevolo of Philips Design who was looking for some advance feedback on the book he is writing together with co-authors Stefano Marzano (also Philips Design), Dr. Howard R. Moskowitz and Alex Gofman (president and vice-president of Moscowitz Jacobs Inc.). We were sent a galley copy for a first reaction.

The book, which has the tentative title “Future High Tide of High End” and will be published by Wharton School Publishing, provides a socio-cultural and people-centred understanding of the concept of luxury — more specifically prestige products for the masses (which they call “High End”) — with the aim of delivering insights and guidance for future business development in this sector.

Made possible by about seventy conversations, contributions and interviews with industry experts, thought leaders and opinion makers, the book is quite unique in its approach, and bound to become a must-read for anyone conceiving, developing and marketing higher-end consumer products and services.

A focus on the intersection of social trends, designer visions, and deep people understanding, allows the authors to propose a series of original insights, including a new, experience-based concept for the future of the industry, as well as a toolbox from which to create and understand new “High End” product and service offerings.

To understand what the soul of the High End is going to be in the near future, the authors also introduce an experimental method, the Rule Developing Experimentation (RDE) — with people having to evaluate pairs of future scenarios, with those data then statistically analysed to find out which underlying ideas are the real drivers. They then present the results of an original experimental study based on this method, that was conducted in four countries (US, UK, China and Italy) with more than 500 end-users, all from somewhat higher income brackets.

The book, which is currently in advanced editing (partly on the basis of our feedback), is bound to be published before the end of the year. The authors told us they will soon publish some more material on their website (such as an abstract, a table of contents, a sample chapter, etc.), so that also our readers can contribute their own insights and suggestions.

A small endnote is one of pride: this is the first public piece on the upcoming book. Marco said he would be happy if it came from his hometown (Torino, Italy) and so are we.

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