‘The Essential Kitchen’ with Kevin Henry: The Tao of the New Economy: Part II–Marketing to the SoCon

Last week, In Part I, we took a look at the “SoCon” —these Socially Conscience Consumers understand that the purchases they make have a profound impact on the world around them, both economically as well as environmentally Darwin is often misquoted…it is not the survival of the fittest…but rather the survival

Last week, In I, we took a look at the “SoCon” —these Socially Conscience Consumers understand that the purchases they make have a profound impact on the world around them, both economically as well as environmentally

Darwin is often misquoted…it is not the survival of the fittest…but rather the survival through adaptation. How are we to adapt to the new economy? How must we change to survive the current market conditions?
 
1.    First we need to re-think our products and services in this new economy…our clients are looking for value, not just a deal, not cheaper materials, they are looking for real value from their ever-shrinking dollar. The SoCon () will invest a few dollars more for something that was built to last and not have to be repaired or replaced in a year or two.

2.    Be the company that cares, who understands and feels the pain the consumer is feeling. These are emotional times. The SoCons are leery and more than a little shell-shocked from what they have been going through. What can you do to meet the client half way? How can you be the company that “Gets it”?

3.    At the core of marketing to the SoCon is “Justification”. Justification such as value, craftsmanship and longevity are the underlying motivation of SoCon purchasing. These justifiers are used as rational excuses to give oneself permission to buy. The overriding justifier behind all-discretionary spending is to improve the quality of life, of individual, of the family and ultimately of the species and planet. The SoCon wants a better, more satisfying, fulfilling life and they will search out and attain those items to fulfill that need.

4.    Branding still has value to the SoCon. They still believe that traditional indicators of value are most important. To our target consumer, products must be sold through a trusted name, be made well, as well as live to a higher standard that contributes to the global good.

5.    As today’s lifestyle purveyors, we are talking about sustainable luxury…products that are solutions, not just commodities. That can mean anything from environmental friendly factory to using sustainable materials in manufacturing to enforcing toxic-free workplaces. Again the “currency of consciousness” and the “Social Return On Investment.”

6.    Thoreau said “Simplify, Simplify.” I say he went too far…I say “Simplify (period).” Keep your sales approach simple…nothing complicated. Educate your client about the benefits and value of your product or service as well as create an atmosphere of trust and dependability in these uncertain times.

In the end trust goes beyond product. It is about people putting their trust in other people. It comes down to one simple question…”would I give “you” my money?” What is your “trust equity?” Do you and your company live up to the brand promise?

(Kevin Henry is the executive VP of Bazzèo Kitchen + Bath, as
well as writer, speaker and industry activist. He can be reached at
kevin@nyloft.net)