Brand loyalty is a strange thing, it seems like it is a bit back to front to me. Powerful and large corporations expect you to be loyal to them. But ‘we’ are the one’s who feed them with our money. If a dog should be loyal to it’s owner – those that feed it – then surely brands should be loyal to us?
Here’s another error companies make when it comes to loyalty. They are loyal to marketing methods, social forums and their infrastructure. If there is anything a brand should have total disloyalty to it’s the methods in which they go to market. They are just tools. And tools should always be replaced when a better method arrives. Especially when the objective is serving others.
If the Quiksilver bedding wasn’t enough, Quiksilver have done it again and introduced possibly the worst, most ill conceived product in surfing history.
The Wetsuit Suit. Yes you read that right, a wetsuit designed in the shape of a business suit. I can only hope that this is some kinda hoax – and even if it is, it surely isn’t worth the effort and ridicule?
The first question that comes to mind is why? Did someone not get the memo that the water is a place we escape the corporate grind.
The second question that comes to mind is why? It would simply never perform as well as a skin hugging wetsuit designed specifically for surfing, or a fitted Hugo Boss.
The third question that comes to mind is why? It takes all of 5 minutes to change out of a wetsuit…. but that’s right, Joey Corporate Surfer must too important to waste even 5 minutes.
The fourth question also happens to be why? I imagine it will be super comfortable wearing a wetsuit as the salt dries and itches your skin and you’ve got sand up your bum during a power meeting with your boss in your Quiksilver work wetsuit….
Why, why, why? It is incomprehensible. Maybe the Private Equity firm Oaktree Capital Management who took over the company this year knows why? They’d want to, or the $600 they invested to take the company out of bankruptcy (it still has $300m debt) might be kinda hard to recoup.
Don’t you just wish you never had to change in and out of that stinky old wetsuit of yours? Well consider your prayers answered! Presenting the oh-so-literal wet suit by Quiksilver. Because how many times have you wished you could just live in one outfit for the entire day? And seriously, who wouldn’t want a soggy crotch while sitting though a budget meeting? Well, logistics aside, this is happening. Quiksilver Japan is apparently onto a market that the majority of us had no idea existed – which consists of businessmen who wish they could just go straight from the water to the conference room all while looking like colossal tools? Sure!
With all the incredulity aside, it shows a company who doesn’t know their customers at all. A company out of touch with why they originally succeeded. A company which is focused on the wrong side of where work society and technology is taking us.
Here’s an interesting presentation by Prof Mark Ritson which Nic pointed me to. A compelling talk in which Mark debunks some of the commercial numbers of social media, especially as a channel with organic reach. The basic premise is simple – you want reach, you’re gonna have to pay for it. That said, while he talks up the hours people watch TV, he fails to break down the attention given in those hours – are people really watching? My advice is to watch this with an open mind and investigate his premise. It’s a great starting point to demystify the fragmented media world we are now living in. Enjoy.
The internet is filled with How To advice. Which proves how important it is in building the life you want. But it has a simple flaw we ought remember:
How to advice is disposable.
How to’s are a set of tactics which need to change as the world around us changes. This means we need to constantly re-assess what we know, and ask if it is still relevant. With the pace of technological change today, this is a question we need at the top of our list.
This is why philosophy is always greater than tactics. Philosophy is enduring, and tactics and temporary. If we have a guiding philosophy on what we are doing and why, finding the best tactic for the day becomes infinitely easier.
It’s not surprising that ‘consumerism‘ emerged as a thing in the post World War 2 era. The last 50 years of the 20th century was a time when we quickly homogenised under the influence of the TV Industrial Complex. We all drifted into a suburban symmetry with little variety in the western world. People had to find a way to display their worth to their tribes and wider community. As many of us entered administrative jobs (think white collar clerk work) which literally looked like we were doing the same things, we needed to find a way to show our position in the hierarchy. And boom – hello consumer land. The more people had, a better car, better clothing, more expensive toys, better furniture, the more successful people would think we were. It was an unwritten ground rule we all abided by. And it was a very effective way to show people that we were creating ‘economic value’. Someone’s consumption patterns told the story of where they sat in society.
I’m starting to wonder if the ‘experience economy’ has the same underlying driver. Sure, we all claim that we’ve moved beyond shallow consumerism, that experiences are more valuable and worthy, but it could be that they provide the same emotional benefit and are just different tactic.
For me it’s more than a coincidence that the experience economy is emerging at a time when people now have the tools to show off their experiences. In the past, our experiences were invisible to all but those who viewed a photo album in our home or heard our story first hand, face to face. Now our experiences are only matched by our desire to share them on every social tool we use. The shift to the experience economy has come at a time when it’s finally possible to share what we do, in ways we never could. Just like conspicuous consumption, experiences can now be shared with strangers, loose associates and colleagues. Even the profile pic is best suited to a tropical locale, or the burning man festival. It sends a message just like a fancy automobile can.
I don’t know if this idea resonates with anyone else, but I do now that a great deal of our human drivers have not changed in 200,000 years – just the ways we express them does.
On line markets where people sell peer to peer – think eBay sellers, or used cars on line – can trick our perception of the price of things. Here’s why:
This is the advertised price, not the price it sells for.
When we compare similar items on line, we are more likely to see the price of things that haven’t sold yet. The price people actually buy at, is often not advertised long enough for comparisons. This means the real value of something is often much less than we think. Especially when we are looking to sell something we own. We are weirdly programmed to think items we own are worth more than they are.
You might notice a car like yours is advertised for $20,000. There may even be multiple advertised at this price. Other sellers also see the most common price and follow the market. But we need to remember these are the cars which ‘haven’t sold’ – those that sold probably did so at $17,ooo and are no longer listed. It’s the overpriced stock that creates our price perception.
Why does this matter? Because it is counter intuitive, the opposite of what we’d expect. It’s the filter bubble in action. The more we see homogeneous products with price X on line, the more we should remember it’s the price people hope for.
So you’re a bit early… maybe you startup, or whatever project you have a deep need to undertake is far more important than that. Maybe it’s a gift to humanity.
When Gutenberg built his moveable type printing press around 1440 the market looked like this:
7% of the population in Europe could read.
Reading glasses hadn’t been invented. (people didn’t know their eyes couldn’t focus that small!)
There were no public libraries .
Schools for the public didn’t exist yet.
There were exactly zero bookshops.
Maybe he should’ve waited for Amazon to come along….. he did it anyway.
When Karl Benz built his first combustion engine car around 1882 the market looked like this:
No one knew how to drive an automobile
It was illegal to drive
There were no roads
It was slower than a horse
It was many thousands of times more expensive than a horse
Maybe he should have waited for the Autobahns to be built….. he did it anyway.
We can focus on what the market wants. Build them houses, sell them packaged food, and provide entertained where the good guy wins, or we can do a project for ourselves. When we do it for ourselves we only need to finish it to satisfy who it is for. And we might just make something the market really wants as well.