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How Do Brands Create Value Post-Recession?

February 2011

By Claire Brooks, President, ModelPeople Inc.

As the world economy begins to emerge from recession, consumers are cautiously gaining confidence in discretionary spending once more. Trendsetting young adults are setting new standards of value, which combine affordability with high experience. For this issue, our international team of CityCorrespondents offer insights into new dimensions of brand value in this immediate post-recession period:

A social experience. Hosted Supper Clubs in NY allow strangers to connect and form relationships over dinner; in London, the Lucky Voice Party Box offers access to a database of 8,000 karaoke songs along with a microphone, for partying at home.

Functional high style. In Tokyo, the "Yama (Mountain)-girl" movement has inspired new styles in outdoor wear; on the Paris Metro, inexpensive WESC headphones in trendy colors are 'du jour'.

A unique spin on the conventional. Berlin’s Propeller Island hotel has 33 uniquely funky rooms; while the feel of an old style Hong Kong market is recreated in DNA Galleria.

A sense of craft or "hand". Yellow Owl Workshop offers DIY resources 'for low budgets and high expectations.'

A feeling of control. The Indian Government has finally allowed mobile phone number portability, opening up our Delhi blogger's choice of carrier; while our LA blogger is using Edmund’s "True Cost to Own" calculator to avoid impulse spending.

The last two years have been tough for brands, and not only in pricing terms: much has been made recently of how consumers are seizing control of the brand agenda, by means of social platforms like Twitter. As ethnographers, our objective is to explore the human universals underlying brand engagement. The consumer’s current quest for more personal value is an opportunity for brands to re-engage their consumers and re-assert their value on a deeper level beyond the merely monetary.


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