// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Random Thought Regarding Big Brands

Random thought. And not a particularly important one as you consider the trouble people of all types are facing due to the tanking ecnomy. But an idea worth considering in my estimation.

So I'm thinking on my way home from the office how much people have always loved their brands. Big name brands. Expensive ones. Then I'm thinking about how many talented people are making absolutely incredible stuff and flocking to etsy to sell it. High end stuff. Then I start thinking about how people are pulling back on their spending either by choice or by necessity. And how the faces I am seeing in thrift and resale stores are changing. Cool hipsters rifling through the clothing racks. People with means. People out of work. Everything in between. Empty malls and car lots. A Chicago auto show that was D-E-A-D (but fun anyway).

So then it hits me. The economy tanked and all, I see an opportunity. It's this:

People who are unknowns, but who make amazing stuff are the new hot brands.
It used to be people wanted to be seen in high end brands. It meant you were part of an elite club. By association these brands made you look successful in the eyes of the world.

That, in my estimation, is changing. It's a bit clumsy and perhaps repugnant in our current economic condition to show up dressed in these high brands. For some any way. Even those with money are shying away from this excess, perhaps cognizant of how many around them are struggling. Living within our means is top of mind like never before, and excess is being scrutinized. Perhaps as it always should have been, but never the less, simplicity and living within one's means is certainly more the trend of the day.

So I predict that small niche brands will be hot. Not just people on etsy but one and two people shops who do and make wonderful stuff. Fashion. Objects. Food. Furniture. Statements of Faith. You name it. And as these companies remain focused on small in terms of payroll, as well as expenditures like marketing and advertising, they will not have to get big to sustain a healthy profit. Distribution is no longer an obstacle. And getting the word out is simple. It is being done for them. Word of mouth. Niche service and insane client satisfaction. All hot, and getting hotter.

This is no doubt not new thinking. But the idea that wearing Armani and driving a BMW seems a bit silly. If my thrift store focus group is even close to correct, I may be on to something here.

What do you think? Do you still love you high end brands? Does seeing your household, your extended family, your friends and neighbors struggle financially make you want to refocus on less, but better. It does me. And buying from people on etsy feels right too. To me it's the equivalent of buying tomatoes directly from my next door neighbor, and knowing 96% of the profits go into his pocket.

It would blow you away if you knew how many amazing items I have bought for $3.99 or less at thrift and resale shops. All my clothes. Everything. Stuff that in some cases is worth several thousand. But even the stuff that isn't is 100% better than anything I could buy new at retail.

So that's it. I see big brands making way for high end niche at the local level. That's my story. My thinking. Weigh in if you feel like it.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Lock the Company Supply Cabinet

Seeing the direct need to lock the supply cabinet, I share with you a video from Eepybird that I was made aware of from Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan at Apartment Therapy.

EepyBird's Sticky Note experiment from Eepybird on Vimeo.

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Who wants their brand to matter? Yudu.

Your company creates something. What is it? What does it offer your customers? Why do you think your product matters? And how do you communicate this? What do you say? More importantly, how do you sound? Do you matter? Is it on sale? Is it better than the competitor's offering? What other things make your product distinctive? And do you really think your distinctive is really, well, distinctive? Do you think your customer cares? Does any of this matter?

When I speak of brand, I speak of trajectory. You must aim to inspire. To intrigue. To surprise. In ways that honor the audience's uniqueness and where it is you find them. Their condition. Their attention span. Their fears and desires. In ways that challenge your audience to something greater. That in the end, make them buy. And then drives them to convince others to do the same. It's your personality. It's your brand. It matters.

I have found a company who REALLY understands this. They are called yudu. Their product is cool. But so are their competitor's products. They've realized their ability to inspire people. To catch a vision for their product. A product that on the surface is like many others. But they frame their distinctive uniquely. Their product helps their customers express themselves. See for yourself. Watch "I Am Here." It's beyond marketing. The trajectory is higher. It inspires and delights. It creates emotion. And it is memorable.

Sit back and enjoy the inspired brand efforts of Yudu. Boy would I love to have one of these products.

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