July 21, 2005
global microbrands etc
From Trendwatching: The Nouveau Niche.
Consumers are more individualized than ever, expecting every good, service and experience to be addressing their unique and oh so important selves. Gone are the traditional demographic segments, the distinct consumer classes: this is all about being MASTERS OF THE YOUNIVERSE. Gone too are the days when, as BusinessWeek so eloquently put it; “the ideal was not merely to keep up with the Joneses, but to be the Joneses.” In a NOUVEAU NICHE world, where the demise of institutions and their stifling conventions has unlocked latent hyper individualization, where it is all about ‘me’ (for better or worse), where being special will lend consumers status, to be mass is now every consumer’s nightmare. Witness GRAVANITY, witness MASSCLUSIVITY. Even the few mass objects of desire that still manage to unite large groups of consumers — iPods, Nokia handsets, or the Mini Cooper — are likely to be customized and personalized the moment they leave the warehouse, website or store.
Consumers are also more experienced than ever. They expertly cut through the crap, ignore advertising, and know which quality and price levels are fair. They actively hunt for the best of the best, [my italics] and the best of the best is often NOT mass. (The only mass they’re willing to put up with is the stuff they don’t really care about and can get on the cheap at Aldi or WalMart). As Chris Anderson, author of the excellent Long Tail article points out, the only reason mass used to equal ‘hit’, had to do with the now outdated perception that if something sells well, it must certainly be good.
Yep, I can relate. Last February (before English Cut had taken off) I wrote:
We have gone beyond the tipping point. We are not blogging because it’s cool or hip. It’s now mostly about survival.
We have entered an age where anyone who wants to make a living above minimum wage will have to get used to the idea of building and owning their own “global microbrand”. If you’re not blogging already, I would start. Seriously.
Re. All this sort of stuff I like to write about– blogs, English Cut, The Hughtrain, Seth Godin and his Purple Cow, the slow death of Madison Avenue and Big Media, The Cluetrain, etc etc:
It’s all connected. In the last week or so English Cut got e-mails from people wanting appointments, from all over: Dubai, Japan, San Francisco, Washington, Atlanta, New York, India, etc.
It’s all about The Global Microbrand. English Cut is my way of expressing it. But had it not been suits, had I not had a friend who was a Savile Row tailor, it would’ve been something else.
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