[Clean Slate Brand, Lockitron: Home Security Via Smartphone App]
Conventional wisdom has always been that it’s hard to bring a new product to market because consumers have an inherent preference for the familiar. Humans are hard-wired to resist change, because in our caveman days, change meant danger. So whether they’re buying toilet paper for the bathroom or telemarketing services for their business, most people stick with brands they already know versus unknown new brands.
But that may be changing, Trendwatching reports, thanks to new consumer attitudes creating a preference for “clean slate” brands. That is, new and unknown brands that are suddenly enjoying consumer approval.
What’s behind the clean slate trend? Several factors, Trendwatching says. First, big brands are widely perceived as tired or even evil. With just 33 percent of U.S. consumers saying they trust big brands, new, small, innovative businesses have a built-in edge.
Second, consumers are crazy for the new because thanks to social media, everyone wants to be the first to discover and share new trends. Sticking with the tried and true isn’t seen as smart, but as stodgy. Since consumers can quickly find out from friends and family (what Trendwatching calls the “F Factor”) whether a brand is worthwhile, the hurdle of gaining trust is lessened.
Finally, there’s a fresh feeling to new products and brands that consumers like. Newer brands and businesses are typically leaner, more transparent and more flexible. And many new companies and products are based on socially responsible foundations.
So how can you benefit from the clean slate craze? You don’t have to be a startup, or even be launching a new product or service, to take part. Here’s how to wipe the slate clean for your business, no matter what stage you’re in.
New Brands: You Can Benefit From “Clean Slate” Brands
Complexity befuddles customers and makes them suspicious you’re hiding something. Make your customer service process simple and straightforward. Be transparent to your employees, too.
Share Who You Are
Authenticity is a big part of clean slate brands. Customers want to know who’s behind the business, what they stand for and what the company’s story is. Put your story on your website and in your marketing materials.
Social media makes it easier than ever to engage with your customers. Don’t just push your messages out to them, but also listen to what they have to say and what they want from you.
Harness the Friend Factor
Solicit testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers. Ask them to share your business on social media and spread the word. Ask for referrals to others who might want to try your product or service. Recommendations build instant trust.
Be Socially Responsible
Don’t try to force this, but if getting involved with causes can flow naturally from your business model, all the better. Tell customers what you do to help the causes you care about and show them how buying from you makes them part of the solution.
Work With Clean Slate Brands
Use locally sourced produce and meats in your restaurant and tell customers where it’s from. Highlight products from small, new or socially responsible businesses in your retail store or on your website. Partnering with other clean slate brands creates a halo effect that boosts your own business.
Visit the Trendwatching site for more examples of clean slate brands that are making waves.
The desire to try something new, and be the first in your group or circle to do so, is being popularized by the hipster movement. Visiting the nearby college campus will quickly show you how much “hipster” influence you can look forward to in the coming years.
I agree, Robert. You can definitely see this in action on college campuses.