Pride & Prejudice & Trends | Director
* THIS ARTICLE BY WILL FIRST APPEARED IN ‘THE DIRECTOR’ *
“Today’s consumers are giving companies license to break down barriers, merge genres and create multi-sector products and services around their core strengths,” says Will Higham. “Companies should embrace the opportunity.”
“Last month saw the release of ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’. Based on a New York Times bestseller, the film tells the story of what might have happened if Jane Austen had included a zombie invasion in one of her books. There is currently speculation as to whether Facebook, Apple or Google will buy Spotify if record companies decide to cash in their stock after its IPO. And Amazon recently opened a bricks and mortar bookstore in Seattle. Three disparate news stories but all point to one thing: how accepting consumers have become with cross-genre projects.
“Older generations of consumers expected brands and sectors to remain within boundaries. Today’s consumer is less ‘prejudiced’, more open. When I was in the music industry in the 1990s, it was virtually impossible to sell artists that didn’t conform to a single genre. But today’s music fans love Renaissance artists like (R&B, Pop, Hip Hop, singer-songwriter) Pharrell and (Pop, R&B, country singer) Taylor Swift.
“Meanwhile, the openness of today’s drinks consumer has driven significant sales around flavoured beers, flavoured spirits – even spirit-flavoured beers (or ‘speers’). Millions of Facebooks users now post links to news articles and videos, turning the site into a newspaper as much as a communications medium. Kleenex has launched a skincare range. Blog site Tumblr has launched a clothing line designed by its users. Confectionery? There are now 28 different flavours of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk available in Britain, including Oreo, Ritz cracker and ‘Dairy Milk Marvellous Smashables Rocky Mallow Road’ flavour. In Australia there’s even a Dairy Milk Vegemite flavour.
“Today’s consumers are giving companies license to break down barriers, merge genres and create multi-sector products and services around their core strengths. Companies should embrace the opportunity.
“When I was a child, apparently my favourite phrase was “why shouldn’t I?” (I used to claim it showed early interest in innovation: but as a recent parent, all I think now is how irritating it must’ve been). Maybe that should be the cry of every CEO today. “I run cinemas and want to sell DVDs and film-based toys in them …” “I make healthy food and want to expand into healthcare products …” “I offer financial services and want to work with a partner and offer financial and legal services …” Altogether now: “Why shouldn’t I?””