May 7, 2010 6:40:11 PM - Jari Kaivo-oja
Times are changing ... and social change continues. We all recognize unique moments when we encounter them. Today when young people are entering the labor market for the first time, they have experienced many things I did not know well when I was a teenager in the 1970s. They have had two televisions, three laptops, i-Pod, the very latest mobile telephone, 2-3 boy/girlfriends, many computer games and a wardrobe full of fashion clothes.
This kind of change has been a real change in post-industrial consumer markets. This change is probably the strongest driving force in the market of the future. Moving from the physical to the metaphysical world also includes moving from product-oriented economy to a new value economy - to value-driven service economy.
The new economy - what it means? In this new economy we still must supply products, but the most important factor will be the metaphysical value that products and services convey to the individual customers. Consumers seek out brands that fulfill our unique needs. A high need for uniqueness undermines majority influence. That is why products and services must be unique, not mass consumption products. Uniqueness is even more important identity factor in the service markets than in the product markets. Active strive for uniqueness motivates individuals to resist majority influence and develop individual images and identities.
Companies must make more reflections concerning their brands, brand identities and brand images. They must ask critical questions: How metaphysical is my company? How unique is my brand? If a brand offers customers unique experiences and meets people's metaphysical needs, the company that owns the brand can live off the perception of value this creates for a long time.
Migrating from physical realities and from physical world to the metaphysical world and to the world of emotions is a necessary step towards success in the service economy. We will demand the unique services and products because most of our physical needs are satisfied. There is no lack of products to choose between in the markets of post-industrial society.
One important strategic issue in professional service design business is to understand that marketing is not equal to branding. Good marketing people are not necessarily good brand managers. By new sparkling logos and marketing campaigns we cannot create stronger brands. We need something more - more substantial ideas and actions. The task is bigger. We need real and unique brand strategies with high level service design competences. Being too similar to others has been described as evoking aversive feelings and motivating compensatory action.
The big task is developing and transforming the concept of the company in the metaphysical world to boost the most unique aspects of the brand. Instead of mass marketing, companies have to offer consumers and B-to-B -partners something special - something of great value.
servicedesign, competence, consumers, uniqueness, brand management, brand strategy