trends Archivos | Allegro 234
I would like to begin this synthesis with something said by President Clinton, ‘It’s the economy, idiot…!’. At the end of this short story you will probably understand the reason why I’ve begun with this.
At the end of January I wrote the first chapter of this affair between trends and branding. Actually, the one who talked was Dr. Utterson, Dr. Jekylls’ best friend… the one who knew the truth.
Now, for the end of this season, I’ve invited Dr. Jekyll (J), Mr. Hyde (H) and Dr. Utterson (U) to discuss with you through their own dialogues.
(U) Trends are showing that people are changing, going back to their roots… Finally, we are talking again!
(J) For us that’s good news, we are revitalizing concepts and honestly validating what is around us. Good dialogues produce a better and deeper understanding of our reality
(H) And it’s great because we can manipulate people in the way we want, just telling them that we are good friends
(U) My not-so-good-friend Hyde, we, as people, are able to decodify the messages and segregate what looks like misleading
(J) Please, dear Dr. Utterson, don’t take him into consideration, he is an idelogical monster
(H) I could be whatever you want, but I’m not alone… my dear ‘other side of the coin’!
(U) But trends are something that’s happening around the world… And I presume that there are more honest people than monsters like you
(J) The important issue here, I think, is that we are facing a new kind of human momentum, disruptive, empowered, fascinating.
(H) No, no, no… There is a special feeling, I would say you get in extasis, when you know that you are cheating somebody else… Here you are, here I kill you!
(U) Your point is interesting and actually, it could be true, but I believe that it’s not going to work on the long-term. We wish to feel good, to avoid nightmares, to see that what’s around us reduces our uncertainties
(J) Now is time to observe, to anticipate… to execute… to innovate… to be and feel unique… And this is important for us, for companies, for institutions… I’m sorry to say that your time, Mr. Hyde, is gone
(J) (H) (U) Can’t you see it?… It’s simple… It’s the people, idiot!
To summarize, seriously and responsibly… Among trends and brand experiences, what matters is people… Yes, we are the key!
Time to think, time to talk, time to create, time to use our brains 🙂
Branding is a question of people… As simple as that!
Things have changed… The traditional definition of luxury is losing content. Luxury will be whatever you want it to be.
Luxury, in a certain way, is related to scarce resources, and they are becoming an individual issue, specially, if the person is desperate to be different and unique. Does this sound like something strange?
Now, there are infinite ways to be unique. The days of better, more expensive, bigger are in the past. So, the concept has changed 🙂
Trend #7: Luxurious
The key is not to discover what is luxurious now, but to define and/or create it.
It’s a question of paying attention to the way that people in their different tribes are showing their status attributes.
Remembering Trend #1 ““Status & Recognition, some triggers could be:
- Green, eco, sustainable…
- Information and experience sharing
- Mastery in something
- Online image
Challenge #7: Create a unique experience
The challenge is simple to describe and difficult to implement (good brains are required): Create, design and launch something different, knowing that you are toasting with champagne on the Titanic’s deck.
The present “luxurious level” will descend in the Maslow’s pyramid to the “needs level” for future generations.
Interesting… Financial Times Special Report: Business of Luxury
Arriving to the “IAmMyBrand’ trend, I presume that we arrive to a point of real discussion.
As some of you may know, I have a clear opinion regarding personal branding. This is that I’m against that concept:
- Brands and branding was and is developed to objects: We can work on improving certain identity and build its image
- We are subjects: We are what we are and that’s something difficult to change. We can only work on personal image
- To work on subjects cannot follow a pre-defined process: If we all follow a process to improve our image, we will arrive to the same point that companies did when they applied reengineering… A new standard without a clear differentiation between one individual and the others
- Instead that we are gregarious and want to be part of certain tribes, as persons, we are unique and that is part of our identity
However, as everybody is defining the personal image as personal branding, I’ll use those words 🙁
Trend #6: “IAmMyBrand’ Trend
‘IAmMyBrand’ trend is about building our own personal brands online.
As it was said on the Trendwatching 2010 report: “The online world has unlocked existing needs in entirely new ways. Humans’ deep need to be interesting to others, to be loved, admired, coveted, special, recognized, unique can now be satisfied by building attractive online profiles and presences, which, if successful, will attract friends, followers, if not a proper audience’
The relation with products and services that make us more interesting is based on what they do, say, who they connect to… and help us as a dress to improve our own image. This trend needs you to be:
- An empathetic person
- A person who knows and tell valuable things
- A person who is able to envisage the future (next minute or next century)
- A person who understand the new reciprocity business framework
Challenge #6: Brands are for objects, Image is for subjects
Due to our online presence, brands can pro-actively learn about people preferences. However, there is a huge challenge here and it hasn’t solved yet:
- As individuals we have our own preferences
- Those preferences are based on our own experiences
- Experiences are lived with different brands… Each of us has a unique sort of brand salad (e.g.: we expect that the retail experience that we had in Barnes & Noble, instead that we are in Carrefour… we want that our new car has the same kind of apps that we have in our iPhone…)
- Companies need to understand that the issue is not their competition, is the competitors that we have in our minds (and that would reflect in our online opinions about brand experiences)
- Brands are like prÃªt-Ã -porter dresses for our image
Brands and individuals are now managing their images across multiple platforms in this real “off and online’ world, with different messages, different images, to different tribes… with the same identity.
What do you think?
One of the deepest changes during this century has been that we have moved from a world split in real and virtual to one that could be described as offline and online… but always real. Now, there is little room for the virtual!
The effect of this new way of understanding our context has produced (also) a modification in our behaviors. In the online real world, the key is not longer to posses, but to allow that things flow. The new leader is not longer the one who has, it’s the one who becomes a master managing the flows… (Uoooppsss… I hope you understand this).
Finally, it’s relevant to recognize that after the homo-sapiens it came the homo-economicus… That’s what we are!… The homo-economicus is a special kind of bipolar individuos who is willing to belong and participate in a community (off & online) and, at the same time, feel unique and different to the rest of the tribe… Like my friend Dr. Jekyll.
Trend #5: Be real, off & online
Right now, almost 2 billion people are ‘on’, and for sure, almost all the young people are and enjoy their online lifes. And, BTW, the social events are generating more traffic/activity than the porn-sites.
For all of them, being actors or spectators, there isn’t a clear boundary between what it’s on and what it’s offline. For them, everything is real. Period.
In the online world (as well as in the offline) we can find:
- The Godfather: that person that is provoking and generating activities
- The Usual Suspects: those people who, independently of the contents, love to participate
- Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: those that sporadically participate and/or contact directly the authors of the activities and contents
- The Lord of the Rings: Those who participate in certain events that are driven by people of his/her ‘gang’
- Ghost: all that people who is paying attention to what’s going on, however, they only gives some evidence of their presence
This trend will evolve. Actually, it’s evolving. Each second, there are more people online, however, this situation doesn’t imply that there are neither more nor better conversations. Also, it is important to split the ones who are participating as actors in hubs & spokes of ideas.
So, as people are living in a real world, the meaning of this trend is that we are looking for the same kind of ‘functionalities’ in both online as well as offline experiences.
Challenge #5: brand experiences out of range
Brand experiences have to evolve by observation and anticipation. We, as people, have short scope radars, so, if brands are not close to us offering a dialogue in our ‘real’ world, they would be out of range.
Experiences will need to understand a new way of living, making thinks simple and forgetting the old paradigms of virtual and real world… It’s only real, off and online… but real!
Some brands already understood this shift and have begun to walk a new path:
- Lufthansa offering in-flight WiFi
- Givenchy launching ‘Play’ perfume
- Nike offering online ‘offline products’ customization
- Christies’ auction house (founded in 1759) has presence via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube…
- TruePower UCS understanding that other devises need energy…
Thoughts, comments… Want to talk?
During the last years, we have segmented and studied different tribes. Actually, we have arrived to “almost one member tribes”…
The real issue, behind the scene, is that thinking of this situation we have converted our gray matter in a sort of mashed potato. We have thought a lot… Gray puree!
And some results are as great as interesting… Probably the most important event is that our lifes are becoming disrupted… and so our innovation processes.
Disruptive innovation is not to invent the square wheel, because it would be useless… It’s to come with new categories of products/services that are answering a real need (although that this could be a philosophical discussion, I’m assuming that needs exist adn are not created).
Hence, our disruptive lifes should be followed and anticipated (both at the same time) by disruptive innovation.
Trend #4: Disruptive innovation
Disruptive innovation is part of a conversation between people who belong to a tribe and companies that love to give something relevant to that people.
During the last years we have saw companies giving especific answers to:
- Old people (retired)
Also, we have seen that due to the conversation, products and services are becoming the result of a co-design between people of each system (company + providers + clients + customers + strategic partners + …). As a result of this we envisage three main drivers for innovation disruption:
- Co-creation: People as part of the innovation event
- Convenience: Products come to the market faster than ever… and this is better and more convenient… Dont’ you think?
- Customization: Instead that ‘generosity’ is a trend, we will continue wishing to be unique and that requires personalization of the products and services that we use
Challenge #4: Brand customization
We are disruptives, innovation is disruptive… so, your brand experience should be also disruptive… Don’t be afraid, people will thank you!
A great number of brand experiences are changing and innovating. New categories are emerging and giving answers to especific tribes. Some examples:
- Tiffany & Co. is developing customized dinner ware
- Sephora has vending machines for cosmetics
- Barcelona has a bike system for citizens with their correspondant bike stations
- The Satndard Hotel has vending machine with socks and swimwear
- Underwear for left-handed people
- JVC’s Youtube camcorder
- And we can add products fro tribes, from women to baby boomers 😉
In a continous timeline, we are jumping as kids 😉
Phantasy is based in two movements that are happening at the same time:
- People are taking distance from mass-media, mass production, mass-advertising, mass-whatever
- People are emphatically showing their opinions and thoughts in a more transparent and conversational mode
Trend #3: The ‘Phantasy’ of being demode
The observed result is that when people, companies, institution find themselves in a middle of a discussion, they use to answer in a traditional way that could be consider unreal… a ‘phantasy’… I know that I’m only showing one of the effects!
The real issue of this unreal situation is that people, giving their opinions, feel comfortable and enjoy this new power that they have obtained. There are no filters and/or obstacles from old institutions and corporations.
Challenge #3: Inclusive brand experiences
Brands need to evolve and their experiences have to be part of the people live experience. To do this, it’s simple (which doesn’t mean easy). We are talking about:
- Taboo adverse
- Having a real soul
Brand extensions will not be as we saw before. They will be as people want them to be… as a brand that gives something to improve their day-to-day experience.
Also, and this could be considered as ideological, what is false, must be done well… Seriously now, what I’m trying to say is that the story, the product, the promise should be good…
Examples to make this point clear (to see them, click on the images):
- Comme des Garcons released their ‘Series 6 Synthetics’ line, which is a range of perfumes based on unconventional materials. This Japanese creation is sold in London’s Dover St. Market. Actually, these are anti-perfurmes, however, as they have been honest telling people this story, they are a success
- Ticings: they offer decorative edible sheets of icing that quickly add modern design features to cakes, cookies, brownies and cupcakes. The taste of your cake it’s your problem… but, for sure, it will look so well 🙂
Some of you, actually only few of you, remember the very beginnings of Brand 3.0… The original name of this social network was “Jekyll & Hide on Branding”… It had 3 pages and the third one was the one that talked about trends, and the one who ‘wrote’ there was Dr. Utterson, the lawyer and loyal friend of Jekyll.
So, getting to the point, this is the first post of several which will talk about trends and branding… connections, implications and challenges… Hope you enjoy them!
Trend #1: Status and recognition
When you interact with other people you will discover (it’s not so difficult) that almost everything comes back to the need of recognition.
So, in a certain way and as a relative concept, status is like a brand driver; however, it looks like during the next months/years (perhaps and in certain way due to the crisis) those brands that behaved as traditional status symbols are not going to be the “aspirational desire” that we saw before.
As it was said in TrendWatching 2010, “status is to be attained in many more ways than leading a lifestyle centered on hoarding as many branded, luxury goods as possible”….
In certain societies, financial wealth is becoming something less important… In those cases, luxury goods would lose relevance.
Hence, status could be understood as:
- Green Status: For these people, to drive a Prius would give more status than having a Rolls
- Info Status: For people who have an audience willing to hear what they know… what they have to say
- Experience status: it will be more important the story behind the product than some functional/physical status symbols
- Knowledge status: As more people are becoming masters in the use of the tools, to “know why” will become a status symbol
- Online status: Hmmmm… You know what I’m talking about [however, try to avoid the recipes to build your personal brand]
- And… Traditional status will be seen only in emerging middle class people in countries like the ones that belong to the BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India, China]
Challenge #1: The brand understanding shift
This will not be to re-invent the wheel… If, at least for a moment, we admit that the trend presented before is true [actually, there is no reason to believe another thing… I’m just telling what it’s observed], brands are facing a great inflection point and companies will need to do something:
- More than ever, brands must behave as a holistic experience considering the brand itself, the communication, but also, the product, the value perceived, its usefulness, availability, related services… And other new issues like interactivity, asynchronism and tailor-made
- The ones who are acquiring online, info and knowledge status are becoming prescribers… Brands must make those individuals fall in love with them…
- Luxury brands are facing the end of their golden age. People are beginning to give more weight to issues that are out of the “economy sphere” to achieve their desired recognition
Actually, it seems like the real issue is not in the brand but in a need of a deep company shift in some encysted beliefs. Dont’ you think?
Within the framework of the celebrations for its 5th anniversary in the Spanish market (as a strategic marketing and branding boutique), Allegro 234 presented in Madrid the macro-trends that are changing our behaviour globally.
According to a survey by McKinsey & Co, nearly 70% of executives in the world agree that global, social, environmental and business trends impact their corporate strategies. So far, very few use trends while acknowledging that change, and from those only 17% are getting results. The winner minority!
In today’s world, where everything seems ephemeral, fast and fluid, “Trends & Insights” provided innovative content, aligned with that survey and in an understandable format.
More than anything, the meeting served to decode trends, This started with the understanding of the forces that are changing our behaviour globally. It was presented a typology which helps organize the kind of experience that somehow we are all immersed.
With examples of local and international brands and businesses that capitalize on the trends in products, services and experiences. There were 6 trend families:
- “It’s mine”
As an example, we were talking about the need of “FANTASY” and how Ferran Adriá applies this trend in his creations… and the impact and needs to create and mantain a relevant brand experience.
Then, during a workshop, and in an atmosphere of “meeting of friends”, company managers discussed and shared trends that they may consider to develop new products, services … experiences. They took clues and ideas to implement them the next day in their company.
Continuing with their celebrations, On May 23th, Allegro 234 will repeat the event in Barcelona. We will see how things go there, given that they look more “trndy”, at least for the number of registrations we already have … If you are interested and want more info, you’ll find it in Allegro 234 (even when our new website is still under construction).