This time around, the opening of the Hello Kitty Cafe at Changi Airport generated huge and serpentine queues. According to a story in The Straits Times, this is the world’s first 24 hour Hello Kitty Cafe, offering a modest 84 seats in total.
In the world of business, there are few winners and many losers. The merciless marketplace leaves little room for companies trying to be all things to all men, spreading their resources too thinly across many areas. Those who make it focus their energies and resources on focusing their energies on one of the three key value disciplines – operational excellence, product leadership or customer intimacy – and look at ways to continually improve superior value.
According to The Discipline of Market Leaders, the true formula for enduring strategic success is to be either operationally excellent, exceptional in leading the market in product development, or to have one’s entire business closely integrated with one’s customer’s processes. Authored by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema, the slim volume proposes that market leaders choose their customers carefully and find the best ways to meet their needs in a highly differentiated and focused manner while ensuring that quality standards are not compromised.
American Girl dolls casting their branded charms (Courtesy of Lauren-xo)
“Lights, cameras, action!” Put on your “costumes”, don your best “branded” behaviour, and perform in the stage of life’s biggest commercial brands.
That seems to be the key message of Maurya Wickstrom’s volume Performing Consumers which described the multiple ways in which big brands endear themselves to their customers through performance and theatre. Peppered liberally with theories of performativity and theatricality, the book illustrated how the creation of brandscapes in the retail environment induces deep emotional connections between man and merchandise.
I first heard about Richard Florida’s ideas from a public sector conference back in November 2008 and was intrigued by his ideas on how the world isn’t flat (ala Thomas Friedman) but is in fact spiky and dominated by mega-regions. Florida’s earlier assertions about the rise of the creative class and their catalytic roles in urban regeneration have been so significant that they are often cited by cities around the world as reasons to invest in more heavily in cultural infrastructure.
Who’s Your City was a highly ambitious undertaking by the urban theorist and economist Richard Florida to understand the importance of place in both economic and social spheres. Working with armies of researchers and statisticians from Gallup and various universities, Florida plowed through an impressive mountain of economic, social, geographic, psychographic and even cartographic (yes Florida is pretty big on maps) data to substantiate his findings.
“People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” – Zig Ziglar
This quote from the legendary sales guru Zig Ziglar aptly describes the world of marketing, where it is vital to reach the heart in order to generate a buying response.
While the rational part of us would sort through the price, features, and logical needs we have for a particular product or service, it is the emotional part – the feelings, benefits, wants and beliefs – which determine the purchase decision.
While languishing in bed for two days last week, I managed to pick up the book “The Tipping Point” and finished reading it all in one go (almost). Malcolm Gladwell’s thought provoking tome isn’t exactly the newest trick of the trade, but some of its principles are useful to share.
In essence, it postulates that hits do not just happen by accident. There are various factors which lead to these “social epidemics” occurring, and they cause the phenomenon known as the tipping point, leading to quick and massive “infection” in the population. This idea has been much in favour recently, with many new media theoreticists claiming that web 2.0 and its inherent qualities make tipping much easier.
Before a virus, idea, shoe, movie, even disease and suicide rate “tip”, however, there are three pre-conditions and three sets of people needed to catalyse the process. Gladwell’s three rules for tipping are: