As part of look ahead to 2016, Firebrand Group released a new Ebook, 20.16 Big Ideas for 2016. In it, we asked a number of our favorite award-winning marketing experts, authors, and other thought leaders--in addition to some of our own team of digital strategy and branding experts--to recommend one "Big Idea" that companies can take advantage of to get ahead in 2016. You can download the entire Ebook here.

One of the thought leaders I was fortunate enough to interview for this project was Alexa von Tobel, who is the Founder & CEO of LearnVest, the award-winning personal finance platform. She's also the author of the New York Times bestseller Financially Fearless. Here's some of my conversation with von Tobel, whose Big Idea for 2016 is for companies to start embrace the democratization of luxury products:

That's an interesting one. How'd you pick that?

Now more than ever, technology has the ability to bring luxury products and services to the masses. This is central to LearnVest's mission, but we're also seeing this theme pop up everywhere from Uber to Blue Apron to digital personal assistants--and we are only going to see more of this in 2016.

There's an obvious "social justice" element to your Big Idea, but there's also a strong economic opportunity for companies that invest in this idea. Can you talk a little about that?

There is huge growth potential for companies that focus on segments other than the top "1%." By appealing to the mass-market, companies have access to more potential clients, and they'll likely face less initial competition since incumbents offering this luxury product or service likely ignored this portion of the population.

This begs the obvious question: if what we consider to be luxury is made available to everyone, will it still be considered luxury?

Today, I don't reserve the term "luxury" solely for products that are extremely expensive. Instead, I consider luxury products or services things that make my life easier, more seamless, enjoyable and consumable that were not necessarily available to the masses. So, they don't necessarily need to have a hefty price tag.

You mentioned Uber and Blue Apron. What are some other examples of companies doing a good job of democratizing luxury?

Handy, GLAMSQUAD, InstaCart, Hello Alfred, and TaskRabbit...just to name a few. Each of the companies are expanding upon "luxury" services previously reserved for a small segment of the population Today, technology brings each of these services to the fingertips of anyone willing to download an app and pay for the service, which are also made more affordable, as greater use and improved technology can bring prices down.

Looking for more from von Tobel's peers? Access the entire Ebook here. And here's wishing you plenty of success at embracing the democratization of luxury products in 2016.

Published on: Jan 4, 2016
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