What’s trending now?
Just do it, yourself!
Owning is not enough anymore; people want to be involved in their purchases.
Product stories, where consumers are able to track the story of the goods they purchase has been trending for a while now. (Take a look at the IOU project for scarfs that come complete with QR codes that tell the story of the scarf’s journey from cotton, to hand weaving, to import to purchase.)
Another trend gaining momentum is the DIY trend, where consumers are increasingly keen to get their hands dirty gardening, cooking and even making their own ‘garagiste’ wine..
Now the two trends of product stories and DIY have met: Consumers want to be a part of their own consumption story.
Why it’s important?
As Dion Chang stated in his “Selling solutions, not just pushing the product” trend observation, consumers in our post-recession world want relevance and engagement.
Simply owning or consuming is no longer enough.
Brands, particularly brands selling ‘unnecessary’ luxury products and services need to offer consumers an opportunity to become a part of the product creation process.
This way, brands help consumers alleviate their subconscious guilt over needless personal indulgence – and the old-fashioned guilt trip of: not doing enough and taking the easy way out by paying someone else to do something they could very well do themselves…
Just like the cake-mix manufacturers of the 1960’s actually changed their all-in-a-box mixtures to allow for the incorporation of an egg because their housewives customers felt guilty ‘not doing enough’ for their families when all they were required to add was a cup of tap water!
In the same way, today’s consumers feel they get more value for their money when they get an experience thrown in along with their purchase.
What’s the butterfly effect?
When consumers have had a part in product creation, they are more likely to value their purchase – and more likely to talk about their experience with their friends and family.
This offers brands a triple benefit:
Firstly, the customer is more bought into the purchase and less likely to complain or return their new prize.
Secondly, there is increased likelihood free viral word of mouth marketing from the newly delighted customer.
And thirdly, the added bonus that the customer actually takes on some – albeit a small amount – of the work the brand had to do before!
The more creativity and involvement brands are prepared to hand over to their customers, are rewarded with increased loyalty and customer satisfaction.
Local pioneers include the hugely successful Build-A-Bear workshops where children can choose, stuff and decorate their own teddy bears, complete with their own voice and, of course our national obsession with personalised number plates (for which we are prepared to pay a huge premium)…
The global hot spots
The inclusive, personal approach to product creation is popping up all over the world:
French chocolatier, Elsa Lambinet allows her customers to play with their food through her new Sweet Play range of designer modular chocolates. Customers can create and customise their chocolates in three ways; the type of chocolate, the inner filling, and the topping, such as fruit, nuts or jelly.
On the other side of the world, a Canadian cheese maker is selling partly prepared mozzarella and poutine making kits through her service, Make Cheese.
Then there’s Child’s Own Studio that makes unique stuffed animals out of children’s original drawings…
In a nutshell, the more willing brands are to invite their customers to inject their individual personalities into the things they buy, the more successful they will become.
By: Bronwyn Herold
Bronwyn is an insatiably curious avid reader and an amateur physiologist who takes a keen and amused interest in observing the human condition.
She is constantly astounded at how predictable the world is once one is aware of the underling historical cycles shaping the trends driving our society forward.
Image credit: Gallo Images/ Getty Images