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Episode 108
Featuring Pauline Brown

Demetri Kofinas speaks with Pauline Brown, the former Chairman of North America for LVMH, about how anyone can strengthen and grow his or her own aesthetic intelligence and apply it towards enhancing the quality and prosperity of one’s life and business.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Pauline Brown, the former Chairman of North America for LVMH, the world’s leading luxury goods company. Pauline has over thirty years’ experience acquiring, building, and leading some of the world’s most influential, luxury brands. In this conversation, she shares insights about how anyone can strengthen and grow his or her own aesthetic intelligence and apply that intelligence towards enhancing the quality and prosperity of one’s life and business.

Pauline’s case for aesthetic intelligence rests on four basic points. The first is simply that aesthetics matter, not only in life but also in business. The second is that aesthetic intelligence can be cultivated. In fact, each of us possesses far more capacity than we use; aesthetic vision and leadership also have the power to transform companies and even entire sectors, as has been proven time and again by companies like Apple, Dyson, and others. Lastly, in the absence of aesthetics, most businesses are susceptible to potentially fatal challenges. In other words, when a company’s aesthetics fail, so does the company.  

Her overall message is that aesthetics matter and that they can be cultivated. As Pauline says: “Although I believe that each of us has the potential to boost our aesthetic intelligence, it takes time and effort. It is just like developing other muscles.”  In this episode, we learn approaches and concrete exercises for building one’s “aesthetic muscles” and using them to win over customers, starting with exercises for enhancing what Pauline Brown calls (1) attunement, which she defines as “developing a higher consciousness of one’s environment and the effect of its stimuli;” (2) interpretation, which means “translating one’s emotional reactions (both positive and negative) to sensorial stimuli into thoughts that form the basis of an aesthetic position, preference, or expression;” (3) articulation, or expressing the “aesthetic ideals for one’s brand, product, or service such that team members not only grasp the vision but can execute on it with precision;” and (4) curation, or “organizing, integrating, and editing a wide variety of inputs and ideals to achieve maximum impact.” 

According to Pauline Brown: “When it comes to aesthetics, editorial command is all-important; as Coco Chanel said, “Elegance is refusal.”  

You can access the transcript and rundown to this week’s episode through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers are granted access to our overtime feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at http://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Pauline Brown has (over the course of 30 years) acquired, built, and led the world’s most influential global luxury brands. Most recently, she served as the Chairman of North America for the world’s leading luxury goods company, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. In 2016, Pauline joined the faculty of the Harvard Business School, where she introduced a new interdisciplinary course for graduate students named “The Business of Aesthetics.” A book based on the learnings and insights from her HBS course, "Aesthetic Intelligence: How to Boost It and Use It in Business and Beyond,” will be released by HarperCollins this November. Since 2008, Pauline has been a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, a program that seeks to develop the next generation of community-spirited leaders. In 2013, she joined the board of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program. She also currently sits on the boards of the Parsons School of Design and is a former board member of the National Retail Federation, Fashion Group International, and Cosmetic Executive Women.  Pauline received an M.B.A. from the Wharton School and a B.A. from Dartmouth College. She is a member of Wharton’s Executive Alumni Board and a former member of Dartmouth’s Alumni Council.

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Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

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