User experience in luxury marketing

The Human Element: Understanding and Enhancing User Experience

I recently had a lovely cappuccino with Alejandro Rivas-Micoud, Founder and CEO of Userlytics Corporation. If you recall, I’ve recently discovered the coffee bean and valued Alejandro expanding my palate beyond espresso to now include cappuccino.

He was surprised by how I defined what his company does to what I do as a luxury marketer and communicator. When he first explained to me what his company does during our chance meeting at Startup Ole, he described it with the following analogy:

Imagine a big grand room, where everything is perfectly in place, except for a series of cords, carefully hidden by carpet yet leaving an unsightly mound. Nine people walk across this mound without problem, each subconsciously acknowledging the obstacle so careful to raise their feet high enough to avoid tripping, but a tenth, too distracted to notice the mound, trips. This tenth person has now had a negative experience that will color their experience of this room.

What Userlytics does is identify that unsightly mound so no other person will ever have the same experience as the tenth person.  

At its simplest explanation, this is managing user experience, yet Alejandro would argue it’s more than this. It’s understanding psychology combined with experience to ensure your customers don’t have a bad experience with your company.

And this is what luxury marketing and communications does. I think everyone that follows me is clear on my belief that “the pursuit of luxury is an emotional endeavor.” Yet what shapes these emotions are the experiences we have with a company. The greater our experiences with a company over and over again, the more likely that company is to gain our loyalty.

Alejandro didn’t immediately see our converging worlds until I explained it to him like this. He doesn’t work exclusively with luxury companies, so by his perspective, every company should be paying attention to the experiences their customers have, not just luxury companies. I asked him why they didn’t.

“You have this great designer who sees clearly what he means by his designs,” he told me. “And then you have this great developer who also believes he’s created something so obvious in function.” Both are blinded by either their ego or a lack of regard of the stupidity of humans.

To be clear, Alejandro didn’t say that last sentence. That’s just me simplifying things as I find too often people fall too much in love with what they’ve created and fail to entertain that not everyone can read into their intentions. I am incredibly guilty of this as I suffer from foot in the mouth disease! Time and experience have taught me to be careful with my words, or at the very least, warn people in advance when I know I’m about to say something that could be taken very differently than I intended.

Because this is the world we live in, full of many different ideas and many different interpretations of things that one would think could only be interpreted one way. Yet so many companies fail to cater their strategies to the lowest common Cro-Magnon whose knowledge is limited to his prior experiences.  

So how can companies avoid falling into these traps?

user experience and the human element

  1. Simplified Communication: Use plain language and avoid jargon when explaining your product. Create documentation and marketing materials that are easy to understand for a broad audience, not just experts. Simplified communication strips away jargon to speak plainly. Imagine you’re explaining your product to someone who has never heard of it before—maybe your tech-averse aunt or a child. Use straightforward language and analogies that match with everyday experiences. Dumbing things down by making your message clear, relatable and contributes to a more effective user experience. Think of it as translating your genius into a language everyone can appreciate and understand. After all, the brilliance of your creation shines brightest when everyone can see it.
  1. Empathy Mapping: Develop empathy maps to better understand the diverse perspectives and experiences of potential users. This tool helps teams visualize what users think, feel, see, hear, and do, which can highlight areas of misunderstanding. With empathy mapping, you’re stepping into your customers’ shoes, seeing the world through their eyes, and crafting a user experience more holistically aligned. Picture creating a detailed portrait of your users’ thoughts, feelings, and experiences as they interact with your product. This helps you understand their frustrations, desires, and motivations on a deeper level. By exploring what they think, feel, see, hear, and do, you can uncover hidden pain points and opportunities for improvement. It’s like having a conversation with your customers without them saying a word, ensuring your product truly connects with their needs and expectations.
  1. Customer Personas and Journey Mapping: Create detailed customer personas and map out their journeys. This helps identify potential pain points and areas where users might get confused, allowing you to address these issues proactively. Customer personas and journey mapping dive deeper into who your users are and the paths they take with your product. While empathy mapping captures a snapshot of user feelings and thoughts, customer personas build a comprehensive profile, including demographics, behaviors, goals, and challenges. Think of personas as creating detailed characters in a story, each with their unique backstory and motivations.

    Journey mapping, on the other hand, charts these characters’ interactions with your product from start to finish. It’s like mapping their adventure, highlighting every touchpoint, emotion, and potential roadblock they encounter. Together, personas and journey maps provide a panoramic view of your users’ experiences, helping you tailor your strategies to meet their needs at every step. While empathy mapping gives you their immediate perspective, personas and journey mapping offer a broader narrative of their entire journey with your brand.

    If you need help with this, make sure you grab a copy of our 4 Faces of the Luxury Consumer, where we provide customer personas and empathy mapping for the four key groups that make up luxury consumers.

  1. External Review and Consultation: Bring in external consultants or reviewers who can provide a fresh perspective on your product. An outsider viewpoint can uncover areas of user experience complexity that might be overlooked by internal teams. External review and consultation bring in fresh eyes to spot what you might have missed. Think of it as inviting a guest critic to evaluate your masterpiece. Outsiders such as myself provide invaluable, unbiased insights. We see your product without the internal biases and blind spots that can develop over time. We can refine your creation through constructive feedback and help you ensure your product stands up to scrutiny from all angles. Your company will be stronger and more resilient in the marketplace for it.


  1. Understanding User Experience (UX) is paramount for companies, as even minor hurdles can significantly impact consumer perceptions. Prioritizing UX ensures a positive interaction with products or services.
  2. Luxury Marketing and User Experience intersect in their reliance on psychology and the creation of exceptional customer experiences. This synergy underscores the universal importance of prioritizing customer experience across industries.
  3. Simplified Communication is key, advocating for clear language and relatable examples to convey product or service information effectively. This approach fosters broader audience comprehension, engagement and makes for a better user experience.
  4. Empathy Mapping is a valuable tool for grasping user perspectives and uncovering areas for enhancement. By empathizing with customers, businesses can refine their offerings and elevate the overall user experience.
  5. Customer Personas and Journey Mapping aid in identifying pain points and streamlining user experiences. By tailoring strategies to meet specific user needs, businesses can foster deeper connections with their target audience.
  6. External Review and Consultation offer fresh perspectives that can identify overlooked complexities or areas for improvement. Leveraging external feedback strengthens products or services and enhances their competitiveness.
  7. Continuous Improvement and Adaptation are essential for staying relevant in a dynamic market. By embracing user feedback and evolving strategies, companies can meet evolving consumer needs and maintain a competitive edge.

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