A regular review of interesting cultural shifts & marketing developments as viewed through the collective lens of the Stancombe Research + Planning Team

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Everything the same, but nicer

According to Bain, one of the big 'Trillion Dollar Growth Trends to 2020' is 'Everything the same, but nicer'

The 2009 model Porsche 911

The 'new' 2011 model Porsche 911

They predict a lot of GDP growth in advanced economies "will come from a broad range of incremental improvements to existing offerings" - which they coin as 'Soft Innovations'

Characteristics of 'Soft Innovations' are:
  • Usually generated from market or consumer insight
  • Increase consumption of nonphysical (intangible) value 
  • Create incremental value rather than steal market share from competitors
  • Entice customers to trade up
  • Bundle rising quality with rising prices (i.e. implicitly forcing consumption of quality)
  • Meets niche and unmet needs
They use coffee as example of how a 'low-tech' product can be improved (i.e. made nicer) to create more economic value.

It's an interesting trend - suggesting that companies might be better off looking for small incremental improvements through market / customer research, rather than trying to find the next big thing through research and development.

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