#4, July 1998
the Loop tracks emerging consumer values which we
believe will become more important in the
market-place. Many of us are more than familiar
with the concept of convergence which deeply
affects many product categories. For example, the
integration of communications and computing
technology is now creating many new alliances such
as Symbian, combining the skills of Motorola,
Psion, Ericsson and Nokia to deliver the first
generation of smart phones. However, this is a
market response to a deeper consumer need.
Consumers are seeking new methods to reassert
control over their busy lives because of the sheer
shortage of time, the old ways do not work any
is creating an emerging consumer value, a search
for ways in which fusion can be used. Fusion has
many benefits at it takes the best from both
worlds in a new combination but releases the
baggage or downside of the old ways. It can help
to create new markets, companies and brands as a
response to this need. Fundamentally, fusion
allows the consumer to create not only new ways to
do common-place things but also new types of
experiences. Marketing, close to the millennium,
is about understanding the potential power of the
consumer need for fusion across products, services
and most importantly brands. There is an argument
for which comes first, the consumer or the market
lead. The reality is that one feeds on and
enhances the other trend.
are some examples of fusion where consumers are
leading and the market-place is following:
are taking some of the aspects of Eastern
culture and combining this with Western
principles of interior design. The Western
adaptation of Feng-Shui is just one example.
are continually searching for new food
experiences. They want to eat faster yet with
more taste. The interest in Mediterranean and
Pacific Rim foods is one response. A recent
up-market food magazine published a series of
recipes for Milanese Sushi.
pace of change means that there is some
comfort in looking back at the 1950s, 1960s
and 1970s and shunting elements forward into
the 1990s. Emotionally, consumers may mix
nostalgia and anticipation together. Much of
fashion and design does exactly this, look at
retro 70s products.
financial behaviour is changing and reshaping.
They do not have to go to a main street
traditional bank. They can access financial
services at the supermarket and get financial
advice on-line. Deconstruction of previous
modes of behaviour is a necessary precursor to
are meshing conventional religion with more
spiritual approaches. Some people are
combining Eastern and Western principles.
Traditional religion expressed in old ways and
through old media is sometimes seen not to
have functioned very well.
breakdown of old working patterns and the need
to have a more dispersed working day is
leading to a greater integration between work
and home and also work and leisure. New
skills, new work-places and new work tools are
needed. This will represent a long term shift
in employment patterns.
will drive media "channel" fusion as
they look for new forms of entertainment. They
will want to choose and direct the mode of
access. They will listen to the radio on the
web, watch TV on the computer or another set
box. Media brands will have to learn how to
encompass channels of access/ distribution.
are looking for a new integration between the
global and local communities. They are not
shaped by one or the other but are a fusion of
both. Both global and local forces impact
is a merging of menís and womenís roles, a
new androgyny, if you will. This will also be
a driving force for the future.
drive to combine new tools and tactics is leading
to new market and new brand opportunities. Through
the Loop is monitoring areas where the market
might be perceived as leading. Some of these are
Body Shop has moved beyond just selling beauty
care products but is now offering experiences
in certain locations. Pampering the consumer
should be inclusive of advice, care and
therapy, stress alleviation etc.
similar lines, Superdrug, the UK high-street
based chemist and cosmetics chain has just
launched its first branded hair and beauty
salon offering consumers a full range of
hairdressing, beauty and massage services. The
changes are an attempt to differentiate from
the market leader, Boots the Chemist.
de Cuba, a fashionable Manhattan bar, serves
34 rums from different countries and
Asian-Latino food. The cuisine is inspired by
Oriental, South American and Caribbean
influences. There is a 32 foot-long communal
eating table. A branch is set to open in
London in early 1999.
Kleinís new fragrance, Contradiction ,
appeals directly to this new consumer value.
The fragrance is designed to capture the
ambiguity of modern women. The modern woman is
a consummate rule breaker, has introduced a
new type of bank account which relies on the
consumer having just one bank account for all
types of financial transactions.
a different field entirely, Virgin is planning
a grand hotel in the air by 2002.
new alliance, Symbian, is expected to market
all kinds of hand-held device, with a wide
range of different computing and
FM is moving closer to the model of offering
its listeners access to the brand through not
just the radio station but also a magazine,
CDs. Classic FM starts to define the consumer
channel to accessible classic music.
introduction of nutriceuticals combines both
an internal need for specific types of
nutrition as well as a cosmetic benefit.
Kanebo, Shiseido already have many such
products in the Japanese market.
Rhodes, the innovative English chef has found
several ways to express the Rhodes brand:
through television and books, restaurants in
combination with Gardner Merchant and finally
now as a brand of frozen food in conjunction
with Hazlewood Foods (Rhodes to Home). "I
think I can give you better food than you get
in restaurants from the freezer in under half
products will need to encapsulate both a
service and an experience dimension. This will
lead to all forms of experimentation.
talent to combine product and service attributes
for the future has to be an over-riding objective
for the future. Through the Loop can show that
understanding and harnessing the power of consumer
fusion will create new markets and also
competitors. New competitive threats will occur in
this environment combining skills and
you looked at your business through the eyes of
consumer fusion? Can you nominate sources of
momentum and possible strategic discontinuities?
Through the Loop offers both Horizonô to take a
longer term view and Blackjackô to assist in the
creation of new products and services. Consumer
fusion is here to stay, new ways are needed.