Brownstone Blog

Monthly Archives: August 2012

Why Brand Experience Matters

Here’s shocking news for retailers out there. There’s a trend emerging in people’s buying patterns that may have little to do with a recession. People are not buying stuff. Now, if you’re a manufacturer or retailer large or small, you’re probably reading this and saying: ‘Tell me something I don’t know’. We’ll get to that part in a bit.

For now, this trend has turned out to be more complex than previously thought. At first, marketers figured it was generational. The Atlantic ran an article ‘Why Don’t Young Americans Buy Cars?’ noting that Generation Y was showing a distinct aversion to owning a vehicle compared with previous generations. Economic climate and the price of petrol notwithstanding. However, a follow-up feature in USA Today revealed that all ages are reflecting this change – people no longer appear to be enjoying purchasing things the way they used to.

So, what’s behind all this and more importantly, what can advertisers do to meet the challenge? The finger of blame has first been pointed in the direction of cloud – yes, that heavenly home where all our beloved old movies, songs, images etc is stored until we retrieve them from the ‘other side’. Certain research suggests that people are actually beginning to prefer this reality to the actual ownership of a physical product. Another article in Wired revealed Generation Rent – again, a trend not defined by an age demographic, but by the increased need to adapt to changing economic times and circumstances. You rent a DVD – or car. Where before you might have gone and bought a power drill to put up those bookshelves and it would never have been touched again – now the trend is just to rent one for a weekend. It’s the same with homes. Not only is getting on the housing ladder beyond most people but renters can up-size or down-size easily according to their economic circumstances and the landlord remains responsible for major repairs and maintenance.

But cloud and Generation Rent aren’t the whole story – they are merely extensions of the way we’re starting to think differently about what it means to ‘own’ something. It’s impacting on everything from car buying to music listening and it’s occurring everywhere across all age groups and demographics. So, now we know what it is – what can we as advertisers do for our clients?

Let’s go back to the internet for the moment. Thanks to it, nothing is really scarce anymore. All you have to do is jump onto the worldwide on-line flea market to find it. Because of this the balance between supply and demand has been altered, and the value has moved elsewhere – to connection. Because when we can acquire pretty well anything we want the question is: ‘What do I do with it?’ and here is where the opportunity lies. In other words, it’s no longer about purchasing something, it’s about how that something connects the buyer to something else – a feeling or to someone else be it a group or individual. Apple are masters of this and clients and their agencies have to think about the products they are selling now as instruments of connectivity – to a brand, feeling, social network or experience.

Discovering that connectivity could mean the difference between life or death for your business. If you’re ready to discover what connects your brand with this new market – talk to Brownstone. We’re ready to connect you.