inconspicuous consumption

an article in the ny times discusses bulgari, luxury and the economy.  there is something about a brand that can scream security or luxury. many brands over the past few years have moved from their tried and true status into expansion lines  that somehow tried to grow, and in some cases diminish, their original brand value

speak to the common man who has a credit card at his disposal. worry not if he really represents your brand; take advantage of his aspirational credit line. and if he starts buying? make your original customer feel safe…take a climb up the ladder away from the common man. make them feel special.  how luxurious is burberry when we now have the prorsum line? coach used to be a “preppy” brand and it now speaks to a “hip” factor that one never would have thought.and the consumer they have courted will be the first to stop shopping; or be cut off from shopping. such is the result of tapping the trendy and of the moment.  certain brands have gone the other way – how is it that jcrew; one of the tried and trusted brands of the westport fantasy – jcrew is charging $2,000 for a coat? why did j crew feel the need to sell up? and is it selling OUT the brand? jcrew will always have a market; but i do wonder how many of those italian shearlings are selling.

if your brand is luxurious – shouldn’t you always be luxurious and be able to withstand a bump? rise to the very definition of luxury?  a material object, service, etc., conducive to sumptuous living, usually a delicacy, elegance, or refinement of living rather than a necessity

if your brand is tried and true and trusted – like a burberry – do you really need the prorsum line? only if you’ve courted the “wrong” consumer to your original brand and offended them.

somewhere along the line people thought that EVERYBODY should be buying luxury brands. and it’s just not true.

i think that many luxury brands have gotten greedy and brought their own standards down. and i think that many tried and true brands have stuck their ground. remained true to their integrity.

The LL Bean holiday commercials (using the music of one of my old favorites Fountains of Wayne) are making me feel like the most luxurious and safe gift i could want this christmas is a pair of shearling slippers. Comfy cozy that i can wear in front of a fireplace, with a dog at my feet, ensconced in my home safe from the literal and figurative cold.

bulgari. time to go back to your roots. luxury was never meant to be for all.

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guess what? it’s ALL social media!

I’m very fascinated with the “hype” around social media right now. very very fascinated. this morning’s adweek newsletter headline delivered the message “why brands need a new kind of leader” – truns out this was an article on ford’s appointment of a social media “guru” to evangelize social media throughout the organization. a smart move to say the least – but i do wonder how many employees at ford might already be participating? how many assistants have their own blogs already? photostreams? etc…

My mind was a whirl with the thought that people feel like this is “new” – that “new media” is now “social media” (which wikipedia defines as an umbrella term that ecompasses ALOT) Similar to how new media was considered something out of the ordinary – is social media now the new “ghetto dept”? understaffed, trying to do it all, other departments unwilling to “change the course” of their old ways…just when we get PR to update the website with the latest “on message” statement now we want them to actually converse with the consumer? egads!

All this thinking led me to Howard Rheingold’s website…who i consider to be the godfather of social media. His book Smart Mobs changed my thinking – dramatically. Howard is teaching a class at UC Berkley on Social Media and Virtual Communities – I spent the next few moments gathering the reading list, watching his vlog interview with a city planner of melbourne who created a wiki to come up with the future melbourne (how’s that for a community hearing!) much to read – and yes – students are assigned to keep a blog.

But i ended HERE. It is a really great account of social media history. It is fantastic – because it really does hit you – it’s ALL social media. People just want to interact with other people around ideas that interest them. Very simple. It’s about time that brand land open it’s eyes to the ability for that to be continuous. It doesn’t have to be a 12 month market research study – it can be a 12 minute video post or a 12 line blog entry. The best quote for me?

“The evolution of the Social Web was driven by fear, desire (to be with others), and fandom. By no means exclusively an American story, it shows instances in which users succeeded when striving for open access, jointly negotiating with corporate platform-providers.”

As any good entertainment marketer will tell you…It’s all about the fans…always has been…always will be….