Posts filed under ‘Marketing’
Paris. London. Hong Kong. Milwaukee? Recently Craig, Kat, and I had the pleasure of staying at the Iron Horse Hotel, which we agreed was one of the best hotels we’ve spent a night in. Opened in October last year, the Iron Horse was founded by real estate developer Tim Dixon and is the first upscale hotel geared for business travelers and motorcycle enthusiasts alike, which makes sense given that Milwaukee hosts many conventions and is home to Harley-Davidson. Its name comes from the term Native Americans used for the train as it crossed the prairies, and today the Iron Horse is located alongside a historic yet active railroad.
This weekend I walked past the John Fluevog store in Soho, and was struck by their “Buy Better, Buy Less” promotion. In a time when shopping has ground to a halt and 70% sales are the new 30% sales, retailers are looking for new ways to connect with skittish consumers, an especially tricky thing for the luxury industry. One beacon of hope in high-end retail is the concept of buying higher quality, more durable goods, but fewer of them. While not an original thought (just ask your depression-era grandparents about the wastefulness of the past decades), durability has hardly been the backbone of the retail sector, or of pop culture as we know it. In fact, planned obsolescence is key to most business’ long-term strategies.
The “Buy Better, Buy More” wave of green products and free-trade-everything, has been followed by the harsh realities of the economic collapse. So while counter-intuitive from a traditional business perspective, I wonder if culturally, the time has come for companies to redefine their relationship with consumers on fundamental level: asking people to consume less. One viable way to do this would be to offering a more durable product, but augmenting revenue with service/maintenance add-ons. Fluevog for example, could offer re-soling services by cobblers who are experts at working with their designs, thus adding another year to your shoes. Skeptics will balk at this idea, pointing to the direct decrease in replacement shoe sales. But it’s a new era, and perhaps customer loyalty, the knowledge that resources are being maximized, and fresh revenue streams will become necessary differentiators. In most cases, keeping your customers may better than losing them all. –Kat
2008 was an unforgettable year for us at People Are Amazing. Aside from Kat getting married, and me getting typhus, we launched this very blog and (despite our best efforts), it is still up and running! Since then, we’ve been privileged to interview a number of amazing people from Kalliopi Kohas, owner of Greek pine sap purveyor Mastiha to Tony Dusko, 5th grade teacher by day, whimsical web animator by night. A personal highpoint was hearing the wise words of 90 year-old Dave Crawford on growing up during the Great Depression and how best to navigate a crumbling economy.
But the recession didn’t keep us from visiting some intriguing places. John took a trip to Brooklyn’s own Fine and Raw for a taste of artisanal, dairy/sugar/preservative-free chocolate. He brought back some perishable, refrigerated samples and we made sure they never reached room temperature! Kat found herself in the Mid-West wandering the aisles of Cincinatti’s own supermarket/amusement park Jungle Jim’s. Food, it seems, is a minor obsession at P.A.A.. Kat’s post about local panini-makers S’Wich found its way onto foodie blog Eater in May. I wrote about an awful new bottled tap water I came across at a bodega; in turn, that company curiously linked to our post, “Tap’NY Must Think You’re Stupid,” in their press section.
Surprisingly, our most popular post ended up being about a miscolored canine. In early May, I was experimenting with ways to boost traffic and I noticed that the search term “green puppy” was “volcanic” in popularity on Google Trends. Apparently, a Labrador with a pea-colored coat had been born in New Orleans and really people wanted to see the pictures. I posted the two images available at the time, unaware that moments later the popular site Buzzfeed would link to our post. Within a matter of minutes, we had thousands of viewers visiting our humble little blog. Thus, the “Green Puppy Effect” was born.
Obviously, you never quite know where a year will take you. This time last year, People Are Amazing didn’t even exist. But between blogging about diabetic rappers and Colorado grease thieves, we were thrilled to ride the ups and downs of 2008. Luckily for us, amazing things are always on the horizon and 2009 is sure to provide hearty fodder for the blog. Happy New Year and thanks for reading!
A long time ago, in the 90s, some savvy entrepreneurs figured out that big companies like Coca-Cola and Nike wanted desperately to know what was cool with the kids in order to stay one step ahead of a culture increasingly at odds with mainstream marketing. Thus the trendspotting revolution launched to prominence companies like Look Look, the Zandl Group, Trendcentral, and many others all dedicated to acting as middlemen between street culture and the marketing departments of corporate America.
In the interest of parity, most trend consultancies invited the youth and cultural niches they ‘represented’ to speak on their own behalves, addressing the movements of culture in their own words. For example, Look Look’s eponymous magazine promised aspiring young photographers and artists an opportunity to publish their work— ostensibly for their peers—which could then be repackaged as a value-added consulting offering for Look Look’s clients. Or the Intelligence Group’s Trend School showcased young early-adopters speaking on panels about their hyper-connected lives. In essence, trendspotters offered a clever bargain; a platform for youth expression in exchange for youth’s bloodhound sense for the next big thing.
But fast forward a decade and a funny thing has happened: in offering such a bargain, trendspotters have largely made themselves obsolete. (more…)