Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thinking About "Value"

More consumers opened accounts at Credit Unions since Bank of America announced its new debit card fee than were opened in all of 2010.

Credit Unions have added 4.5 Billion dollars in new savings accounts since September 27th:
"More than four in every five credit unions experiencing growth since Sept. 29 attributed the growth to consumer reaction to new fees imposed by banks, or a combination of consumer reactions to the new bank fees plus the social media-inspired Bank Transfer Day," the association said in a statement.

Christian said she did not intend to start a big movement when she shared her plans with her 500 Facebook friends. But as of Friday, 77,327 people have said via Facebook that they will "attend" the movement's Nov. 5 event.
The reality is that while we are viewing Occupy Wall Street and the various subsidiary protests as political movements we may, especially those in business, want to begin to accept these protests as a social movement.

Regardless of one's personal beliefs and or opinions, there is no denying that these recent protests are growing, have a worldwide focus, represent a broad spectrum of issues, encompass a broad demographic base, and are not going away anytime soon.

Successful businesses have to look toward the future and plan accordingly; and thus ask the question, "...what if these current protests represent the beginning of a fundamental shift in consumers?"

What if the concept of "value" is changing from low cost and mass consumption to something totally different?  

What if we are witnessing a fundamental shift from a "Wally World" economy to one where consumers demand a concept of value that does not involve only price?

What if the future belongs to "B Corporations?" Or, corporations that are founded on the following principles:
B Corps, unlike traditional businesses:

Meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards;
Meet higher legal accountability standards;
Build business constituency for good business.
What if consumers begin to expect corporations to not only provide product and services but also engage in solving social and environmental problems?

Maybe, as Steve Jobs noted;
Jump To The Next Curve:

Big wins happen when you go beyond better sameness. The best daisy-wheel printer companies were introducing new fonts in more sizes. Apple introduced the next curve: laser printing. Think of ice harvesters, ice factories, and refrigerator companies. Ice 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. Are you still harvesting ice during the winter from a frozen pond?
Which side of this new curve will you find yourself and your company on?

The reality is this new curve is here.  Patagonia has announced a new program that asks its customers to buy less by instituting a program to resell and or repair their existing Patagonia products.  Starbucks, which has been hugely successful by being ahead of the curve in a variety of areas has taken the lead in sponsoring a program of holding off on political contributions and now creating jobs in the United States.

Again, from Steve Jobs;
“Value” Is Different From "Price:"
Woe unto you if you decide everything based on price. Even more woe unto you if you compete solely on price. Price is not all that matters—what is important, at least to some people, is value. And value takes into account training, support, and the intrinsic joy of using the best tool that’s made. It’s pretty safe to say that no one buys Apple products because of their low price.
The concept of "brand" has always been about "lifestyle" and maybe now the concept of lifestyle is no longer about image but more about substance.  Maybe now the concept of "brand" has to be more a mission statement rather than a marketing tool?

No comments: