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Navigating the future of luxury retail with cutting-edge compliance and communication

May 7, 2024

Karla Jo Helms is chief evangelist and anti-PR strategist for Joto PR Disruptors, Tampa. Karla Jo Helms is founder and CEO of Joto PR Disruptors


By Karla Jo Helms

Have you ever had a moment where a slightly negative review made you want to hit the delete button and pretend it never happened?

It's a common reaction, especially for brands facing the pressures of regulatory requirements and high demands of consumers. Organizations like the FTC are strengthening regulations and requiring authenticity in brand communications.

Nevertheless, given their easy access to information and high standards, consumers expect near perfection from the brands they select.

The power of genuine engagement
Constructing a sophisticated communication approach, while applying findings from up-to-date analysis, is crucial for establishing appropriate practices and cultivating strong relationships with prospective clients and buyers.

Each one of us looks forward to amazing reviews to draw customers, which is very valid when we know that nearly 95 percent of customers read online reviews before purchasing anything.

On the other hand, some companies may be tempted to use unethical means of constructing their online presence, fabricating positive reviews or burying negative feedback, for example. This dark road can lead to serious consequences, both in terms of brand reputation and legal compliance.

Section 465.7 of the FTC's proposed rule lays it out plain and simple: you can't pull a fast one on consumers by pretending your ratings are flourishing in positivity when you're actually cherry-picking the positive ones.

In addition to the FTC not accepting this, altering testimonials is deemed dishonest and actively undermines customer confidence in the business. However, if you're using consistent, fair criteria, you may still exclude fraudulent or unrelated reviews.

Although it may appear like a solution, removing bad reviews is a risky shortcut. It undermines trust in addition to breaching regulations.

Rather than focusing on scrubbing their online presence, brands must resist this urge and strive to prioritize real engagement. A thorough and proactive communication plan will guarantee that positive interactions outweigh unfavorable comments.

Genuine criticism, even if it comes along with occasional negative reviews, is invaluable for building trust and credibility in the long run; it shows real brands and true public opinion. Customers value clarity and honesty, and companies that welcome honest criticism show their integrity and sincerity, which improves their audience relations.

Elevating luxury brand communication
For luxury brands aiming to make the biggest impact in their communication strategies while maintaining a trustworthy and credible reputation, the following approaches stand out:

1. Influencer collaboration for social impact: this strategy leverages the credibility and reach of influencers who align with the brand's values and are influential in areas like sustainability or diversity. By associating with high-profile influencers and directing campaign proceeds to related charitable causes, luxury brands can enhance their image of corporate social responsibility and connect deeply with consumers who value ethical practices.

2. VR press conferences: utilizing virtual reality to conduct press conferences or product launches provides an immersive experience that can significantly differentiate a luxury brand in a crowded market. This approach not only showcases the brand's commitment to innovation but also provides an engaging, exclusive experience that can attract high-end media coverage and influencer attention.

3. Behind-the-scenes livestreams: offering a transparent look into the brand's operations, especially highlighting craftsmanship and luxury detailing, can significantly enhance consumer trust and appreciation. This method humanizes the brand and reveals the meticulous process behind the creation of luxury goods, enhancing consumer perception of value and authenticity.

These strategies can help luxury brands effectively communicate their values and uniqueness, fostering stronger connections with their target audience through innovative and engaging experiences.

Transparency and authenticity: the cornerstones of luxury communication
By adhering to FTC guidelines and prioritizing genuine engagement, luxury brands can cultivate authentic relationships with consumers and distinguish themselves in a competitive marketplace.

Compliance with regulations is not just a strategic move in an era where authenticity is highly prized; it's essential for luxury brands aiming to uphold a reputable presence.

In today's digital "PR World," where public perception is paramount, it is crucial for these companies to demonstrate their commitment to ethical practices and to highlight their altruistic initiatives effectively.

This approach not only aligns with consumer expectations but also solidifies their standing as responsible leaders in the luxury sector.

Karla Jo Helms is founder and CEO of Joto PR Disruptors, a public relations firm in Tampa, Florida. Reach her at