Thursday, March 01, 2007

Get into real life (revised version)

When I used to travel intensively to the US of A, I was fascinated by some companies such as The Gap, Starbucks, etc. What do they had in common? They represented the American myth: wearing their stuff or telling about these coffee shops meant looking like the discerning traveller.
Italian tourists were landing in the States with empty luggages and fill them with goods from these companies.
Some of these brands have lost their appeal as of late.
No longer able to identify themselves with the cultural changes in society, they started looking only in their backyards for inspiration.
The Gap launched a division for women 40+ in a country where age is a taboo: something like "my dress is my ID".
Starbucks sold its "third place" experience to save one or two minutes to people in line. What it communicates: take your coffee and run when coffee is a pleasure that takes time to enjoy.
Many others followed the same path.

Some suggestions:

Get clued in -- read marketing books, but read newspapers and magazines as well
Observe -- go shopping and see what people look for and buy
Interact -- don't stop looking around and listening to people
Drive -- those changes, if you can
Experience -- be part of the world outside your office, your facilities
Adapt -- to the social and cultural changes

This is a revised version: thanks to Valeria

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Lewis Green said...

Good suggestion Gianandrea, especially for executives and everyone in marketing. Get out of our offices and watch our customers do what they do and listen to them when they speak.

starbucker said...

Great advivce! (read your comment on Brand Autopsy). Sitting in the "ivory tower" without entering the real world is an invitation to failure, especially for a marketer. All the best!

gianandrea said...

you guys were really fast in reacting. i did a revised version (thanks to Valeria Maltoni for the support) but it doesn't change the insights. corporations should send people on field to get the customers feeling. i love starbucks and when in london or paris i pay my visit for breakfast. but i did get this strange feeling that the service quality was lowering as well as the feeling of being in the third place.

Valeria said...

Thank you for tipping the hat, Gianandrea. I too offered some suggestions on how Starbucks can get his groove back at Brand Autopsy. Although, I must confess I prefer local coffee shops to the canned experience of a chain shop with loud music and too few seats.

gianandrea said...

valeria, thanks for your support. our italic roots show when it comes to choose between chain shop and local shops. and this is well reflected in several of your posts.