February 13, 2014

Old value equations, like price equals benefits divided by product costs, and economic principles, such as supply and demand, are continuing to be fundamentally reshaped as we start to redefine what it means to live a successful, good life—one that is more holistic and full of meaning.

Consumers are recalculating value and considering factors that go beyond benefits, features, quality, and utility. Now they are considering a more comprehensive experience, adding to the value equation by weighting things like purpose, simplicity and convenience in purchase.

With changing consumer values will come a changing value equation. Today it seems there’s a desire for a purchase transaction to become much more clear, both in transparency and clarity of message.

  • Walmart is testing a new Price First brand based on low price and direct communication in over 20 product categories with plain, simple packaging that further solidifies its low quality proposition. It’s taking a book from Canada’s Loblaw’s, which introduced its yellow label private brand way back in 1978. In a similar fashion, this new line provides complete value transparency and shopper simplicity.
  • Honest by, an e-commerce apparel retailer, is also espousing transparency—they are being upfront and meticulous about their efforts to make their products sustainable. The bigger surprise is that they are revealing what most companies fiercely guard and protect—costs. Honest by discloses the costs of materials and labor, along with environmental impact, arming consumers’ with the data to make informed cost/benefit trade-offs.
  • Patagonia continues to set the bar for redefining business models. Building on its Common Thread initiative, which encourages reducing our impact on the environment, the company this year launched the promotion, “Worn Wear,” where it clearly promoted what it stands for and what you can expect from its products.

Brands should take note that communicating benefits very clearly—at the shelf and in marketing communications—will be appreciated by consumers who don’t have the time today to research to the nth degree.

For more insight, download SIGHTINGS – The Forecast Issue: The Age of Redefinition.