Heron Preston’s collaboration with oral care brand MOON sounds like something out of MSCHF factory. Known for its purposefully absurd and random viral stunts, MSCHF is the creator of Nike sneakers filled with Holy Water, toaster-shaped bath bombs, and an app making stock investments based on astrological signs.
While it certainly wouldn’t look out of place next to the squeaky chicken bong popularized by the “factory”, the limited edition stain removal whitening toothpaste in fact dropped on StockX on October 27th. …
There’s no mistaking an Acne Studios store for any other. Regardless of whether you’re in London, Stockholm, New York, or Tokyo, Acne Studios stores are stages, with carefully considered lighting, layout, ambiance, furniture, art, and a cherry-picked cast of shop associates.
“Artists, architects, and furniture designers have always been part of Acne Studios’ DNA,” says Dan Thawley, Editor-in-Chief at A Magazine Curated By, a fashion publication which has worked with some of the world’s most innovative fashion designers — including Martin Margiela, Kim Jones, and Thom Browne — as guest curators. When Thawley originally pitched his idea to create a magazine titled ‘Floragatan 13 Curated by Acne Studios’ (Floragatan 13 being the address of Acne Studios’ new headquarters, situated in the former Embassy of the Czech Republic) to Acne Studios in 2019, Thawley was inspired by the strong physical presence that Acne Studios always had, as well as the opportunity for a deep editorial dive into the brand’s beliefs, ethos and curated aesthetics. …
Aspiration increasingly means different things to different people
The other weekend, in his Faster Lane weekly Monocle address, Tyler Brûlé generously offered a few “pointers” for “soldering through” the new lockdown. Brûlé’s pointers all sounded very privileged, but the one that stood out was to “start a grand project.” It involved suggestions to buy a house, build a little hut or commission a new-build boat. “These are good days for side projects,” was the author’s conclusion.
No doubt, some Monocle readers took these ideas to heart. Brûlé has, after all, been a taste-maker and an über-connoisseur for decades and he earned his stripes. Similarly, a business management consultant recently proclaimed in British Vogue that, once the pandemic is over, everybody will be buying more sustainably and responsibly. …
In the episode 13 of The Business of Aspiration video series, I talked with Jason Stewart, co-host of How Long Gone podcast. Described as “Los Angeles based DJ, more commonly known as Them Jeans, has long been one of the city’s cultural darlings” (not by me), Jason has excellent food, music and cultural taste. We talked about all of that. Watch our conversation below and follow Jason on Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to How Long Gone.
How to select the right value architecture
Aspirational markets are not a zero-sum game.
Consumers compare aspirational products with experiences, access, socializing, spirituality, charitable work or self-actualization: a concert can be equally desirable as a bottle of vintage bourbon as a pair of rare sneakers. This makes aspirational brands all part of the single market and interchangeable in terms of value in the eyes of their buyers. …
Lessons on brand growth, community and strategy
The Business of Aspiration drops tomorrow. It’s available on Amazon globally, Barnes&Noble, Books a Million, eBooks, Waterstones, Fruugo, VitalSource, the publisher’s website, etc. If you prefer to support local bookstores, and are in New York, you can also find the book at McNally Jackson, Books are Magic, Powerhouse, Greenlight, Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Book Club in East Village, Little City Books, or Bravo’s Book Nook on MacDougal, among others.
Thanks to The Business of Aspiration, I started this newsletter. It was as a way to force myself to write every week.
Thanks to this newsletter, I have been meeting a large and growing community of fascinating people who are the pioneers of the modern aspirational economy or, who want to learn more about it and apply it in their jobs. I am not sure I would have met a lot of you otherwise, and without you, I wouldn’t have been motivated to write The Business of Aspiration and start the YouTube series of the same name. …
To survive, mass fashion brands need to break themselves up
Much has been said about the decline of American mass fashion brands. There’s an entire genre of debate around what J.Crew, Ann Taylor, Express, American Eagle Outfitters, Hollister or Tommy Hilfiger can do to revive themselves. Some analysts suggest they should evolve their values, which is undoubtedly true. Others point at changing trends and tastes, which is how fashion operates anyway. Yet others talk about the need to modernize their retail and build their sustainability and community credentials.
Critics challenge mass fashion brands on account of their size, taste or lack of focus. …
Why differentiated and durable brands are rare
Last week, I wrote about value innovation and what modern brands can learn from Häagen-Dazs. This is the second part of that analysis.
Brands that enjoy quick growth rarely think about what will happen when this growth slows down. It inevitably does: coveted markets, like luggage and travel accessories and apparel get saturated as new entrants and legacy players set to capture the opportunity.
First-movers, unless they act quickly to build economies of scale and capitalize on their initial investments may find themselves stuck with disappointing IPOs and diminishing market share.
In the economy where supply exceeds demand, the best way toward long-term growth is to avoid competitive strategy altogether. Aspirational economy is not a zero-sum game. …
Forbes’ eighth annual special report “assesses measures of influence — defined as the impact a chief marketer’s actions and words have on his or her internal organization’s motivation and performance, corporate brand perception, broader marketing and advertising trends and, ultimately, corporate financial performance, including stock price — while this year also evaluating influence as impact on corporate, industry or community response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the racial-justice movement.”
This year, 427 global CMOs were eligible for consideration. To be eligible for evaluation, CMOs or their brand must have appeared on at least one major brand or marketing list in the past year. To make the Top 50, a CMO must be in the top 20% of CMOs on at least three different indicators of personal, industry or internal influence, or show extraordinary impact visibility on the conversation around Covid-19 or Black Lives Matter. …
How to use value innovation to grow in a saturated market
In the 1960’s in the Bronx, two Polish-Jewish immigrants, Reuben and Rose Mattus, created Häagen Dazs.
The Mattus’ knew they were entering a saturated ice cream market. Their strategic focus wasn’t to outcompete the existing ice cream brands, but to make them irrelevant by creating a fundamentally new and superior value in the market.
This new and superior value was social and cultural aspiration. Häagen-Dazs’ European-sounding name gave cultural biography to the brand that didn’t have any. …