One of my responsibilities is to track what we call megatrends – ideas and movements that touch most consumers – and no, you can’t have my job. It’s that fun. One of my favorite resources is www.trendwatching.com – a free monthly newsletter that does a great job of finding, explaining and following megatrends and giving us plenty of examples.
In the August issue, I found a great scale that measures where your company/product/service fits on the “position” ladder. With consumers demanding ever more from companies/products/services, it’s a good idea to take a look and make sure that where you think you are hasn’t changed in the face of lightening-quick competition and constantly shifting consumer expectations.
Here’s the short version – listed from the lowest to the highest:
Free Love: cool stuff that’s free. Like Wikipedia. Like a rental car company that gives consumers the car to drive – because it’s rented out to advertisers. With all this cool, free stuff, consumers are increasingly unwilling to pay for things.
Cheap Heaps: the lowest prices with no frills. Think Costco. But the danger here is that consumers will leave you so fast for the discount from your competition that your head will spin.
No Frills Chic: Cheap but well-designed. Consumers can choose to upgrade when they’re tired of the Cheap Heaps. Examples include Target and Song Airlines. I have got to fly on Song (www.flysong.com) soon – have you seen all the options you can choose from?
Mass Class: Used to be middle markets, but pressure from Uber Premium has forced products that used to be considered luxury into this class. Think Haagen Dazs and Starbucks. Anyone can get ‘em now and they’ve lost some of their cachet.
Massclusivity: This is also sometimes called Trading Up. This is the new luxury standard for the masses. Coach handbags. Bulgari hotels.
Uber Premium: Luxury only available to the richest of the rich. The Maybach Exelero (I had to look that one up – it’s a very expensive car).
So here’s an example. In airports, the place to hang out used to be the Business Lounges, you know, the airlines’ club rooms. But not to be outdone, several airlines, including Virgin, are building their own luxury terminal in London – the whole terminal will be upgraded to reflect a higher standard. So now, the club rooms have been demoted to Mass Class, or worse.
Where are you playing? How can you prevent yourself from being demoted? How can you elevate your company/product/service and reinvent it to stay competitive? Big questions that will need your attention in the near future…