The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape
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From the former trendmaster of Target—how the power of contradictory trends can help reframe your business strategy
Contradictions are everywhere! These days we wear Old Navy with new Gucci, Hanes T-shirts with Armani suits, couture Chanel with vintage denim. Suburban mansions are filled with flea market finds, and we show off our Michael Graves teakettle from Target on Viking stoves in our gourmet kitchens that might even include cabinets purchased from IKEA.
When Robyn Waters began her career in the late 1970s, a trend was defined as something that everyone wanted at the same time. Fashion and business magazines proclaimed what was "in" and what was "out." Back then, it was fairly easy for companies to determine the next big trend, and ride it all the way to the bank.
In today’s marketplace the "next big thing" has been replaced by a thousand next big things. And in order to discover what consumers are hungry for companies need to discover what’s important…to them. Today a cookie cutter approach no longer works. Waters explains that for every trend there’s an equally valid countertrend.
In The Hummer and the Mini, Waters explores the new trend landscape and urges companies to stop looking for the one right answer in their industry. There are many good ways to design products, develop a line of goods, merchandise a store, or craft a marketing message. You can thrive by selling huge cars (the Hummer) or tiny ones (the Mini). You can turn something old into something new and desirable (the Vespa) or turn a commodity into a luxury (In-and-Out Burgers at the Oscars). You can even customize a product designed for the masses (personalized postage stamps) or sell less as more (Minute Clinics).
Through lively tales of influential trends and countertrends, The Hummer and the Mini will show you how to live with the contradictions, make the most of the inconsistencies, and embrace the paradoxes of business as a source of fresh ideas.
just not going to happen. It notes that “whether personally or professionally, the very act of taking the time to pen a note by hand speaks volumes and stands out.” Clearly, e-mail has brought us real-time convenience, but it has also brought the added hassles of unwanted spam and pesky computer viruses. How ironic, then, that the logical “replacement” for pen and paper in reality served to reinforce our love of—and need for—a tactile experience with the real thing. Here we are in the “age of
consider dishwashing liquid a commodity—a cleaning product that helps us take care of a task that isn’t particularly pleasant. But not those women who know about Caldrea home cleaning products. Caldrea is a line of luxurious, 100 percent natural aroma-therapeutic dishwashing detergents, hand soaps, laundry detergents, window cleaners, and the like. The entire line helps turn a drudge into a dream, and women love the fresh aroma and the idea that there are no harsh chemicals to hurt your hands or
but in true trend/countertrend fashion, they also love mini. Not since the miniskirt has America been so fixated on the barely there. The Mini Cooper automobile makes cute look clever. The iPod goes from small to mini to nano. Micro breweries grow their share of the beer drinking market, and mini spas for the maxi stressed pop up everywhere. Conferences feature mini workshops and colleges offer mini credits. Mini Oreos and mini pizzas are featured at the grocery store. Tapas restaurants serve
in counterfeit authenticity. I had been duped into thinking that the real thing was a fake! Which got me to thinking, what is real? And what is fake? What makes something faux, and is that just a nice word for fake? And what constitutes authenticity anyway? Is it, like beauty, only realized in the eyes of the beholder? Let’s explore some of the unique products and experiences that demonstrate this trend. In each case there’s a distinct advantage to selling the consumer something that’s obviously
here, etc. Regional marketing manager Jerry Thorpe estimates that there may be in the neighborhood of nineteen thousand ways to order a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Perhaps you’d be interested in a nonfat half-caff-triple-grande quarter-sweet sugar-free vanilla nonfat-lactaid extra-hot extra-foamy caramel macchiato—a theoretical worst-drink-order-scenario conjured up by some off-duty Starbucks baristas and posted on the blog paulsop.com. To help put customers in charge of their choices, Starbucks