Find An Occasional Use
by Paul Nunes
 
 
 
  Old Rule
Make the "special" in a version suitable for everyday
use by the masses.

New Rule

Make versions of the "everyday" that are suitable only
for special-use occasions.
 
 

Most of us have experienced confusion at a formal dinner, wondering which fork or spoon to use for which course. But today's flatware choices are a far cry from what one would have experienced at a traditional Victorian dinner party. These banquets frequently entailed more than twelve courses, and up to twenty-four pieces of silverware might adorn each place setting. Each piece had a unique purpose and would have been chosen from the well over one hundred types of individual silverware in use at the time to accompany particular dishes and ingredients.

Take the soupspoon, for example. There wasn't just one style; there were spoons designed for clear soups and spoons designed for cream soups. There was also a spoon just for ice cream (there was an ice cream fork, too, in case the treat was on the more frozen side). For the more exotic dishes, rarely seen today, the host could also be expected to supply guests a custom-purposed utensil; witness the marrow spoon, sardine fork, and terrapin (turtle) fork.

Such specialization continued with the knives, which could easily number as many as eight at the table, each with a different design, for cheese, fish, game, roast, and fruit. Each knife would have its own knife rest, and each place setting would be rounded out with individual butter picks, salt dishes, and—when the season called for it—game shears.

Stemware was equally varied, having as many as eight pieces arrayed in two rows of four, or diagonally when fewer. Specially designed glasses were used for water, Chambertin, Latour, and champagne. There was also a green glass for sauterne, a sherry glass, and a red glass for Rhine wine.1

All this variety served to highlight the wide assortment of exotic, expensive dinner ingredients being presented. Guests were subtly made aware that while these ingredients were costly, they were commonplace enough in the host's home to justify their own tools and vessels.

Yet, this remarkable variety was not limited strictly to the highest levels of society. According to the Rogers Historical Museum, even average families could afford significant variety in their tableware: "A peek at the 1897 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalog (the 'Cheapest Supply House on Earth') shows an attractive dinner service for twelve, one hundred pieces total, which cost all of $11.50. With an average income of $75 to $100 a month this one-time purchase was an affordable luxury for a family." 2

The extravagance of the Victorian table—in flatware, stemware, and other tableware—illustrates how affluence has historically spawned enjoyment in profuse specialization of everyday products and how others of more modest but growing means have emulated the wealthier contemporaries.Though we rarely use marrow spoons today (if ever), we continue to spend our wealth on a profusion of products that are highly specialized but seldom used. We do this both out of appreciation for what this specialization can bring—the ease of eating crab with an appropriately designed pick, for example—and for the prestige of ownership, which is as enjoyable and important for us today as it was in Victorian times.

To the Victorians, having many versions of an item, each designed for a particular purpose or occasion, was an understated and consequently acceptable way of displaying and enjoying the benefits of wealth. It was an almost sensible form of flagrant overconsumption. It was inconspicuous in that no item was particularly ostentatious; an item was simply designed for an intended purpose. Each precisely met a gustatory need. Yet the practice was conspicuous, mostly by what was implied by omission. Observers were left to imagine what else the possessor must own if he had a coat just for fishing, and another just for hunting. Though few of us own terrapin forks today, the desire to show sophistication while enjoying the benefits of specialized products continues, particularly among the new affluent.

New Skins for Old Wine

Consider the simple wine glass. The Austrian firm Riedel (rhymes with "needle"), which has been creating glass and crystal for nearly three hundred years, made a significant contribution to glassware consumption in 1973, when Claus Riedel introduced a series of ten glasses, each painstakingly designed in its size and shape to enhance the flavor and bouquet of a certain type of wine. After selling as few as 2,000 glasses in the United States in 1989, Riedel today sells over 1.5 million glasses annually in the United States and 5 million worldwide and offers more than eighty different glasses in its collections. These glasses range in price from roughly $8 a stem for the Overture series up to $85 a stem for the Sommelier series. And like those of the Victorians, each glass is dedicated to one of an array of wines: Bordeaux, Burgundy (including one for grand cru), Syrah, and chardonnay wines, to name just a few.

Another area in which the affluent are driving tremendous market growth through specialized product usage is cookware. Hugh J. Rushing, the executive vice president of the Cookware Manufacturer Association, told the New York Times, "Growing male interest in cooking is one of the bright spots in the kitchen retail market....Men tend to have no problem buying a special pan for paella, if the recipe calls for it, whereas women will make do with a regular skillet or pan." 3 He also noted that specialty cookware sales are up 17 percent since 2000.

The affluent are not the only ones to take advantage of specialization in offerings, of course—everyone enjoys using the right tool for the right task. But the moneyed masses do enjoy these specialized gadgets more often, and with less concern about paying a premium for the privilege. This assertion was borne out in our research, which uncovered data supporting the logical belief that high-income earners own more of everything—and more nearly identical versions of things—across a large number of categories, from cars to shoes. This distinction is important in understanding that product innovation through specialization, while likely to be attractive to a broad range of consumers, will have its largest impact first on those who consume the most, and at the highest prices.

Our research shows the moneyed masses are especially likely to purchase
goods for occasional use, because of their indeterminate social status. Their needs can range from a bowling shirt to a tuxedo. And owing to their purchasing power, they are quite likely to have both in their closets. In our predominantly anonymous society, consumers use possessions to communicate information about themselves and to achieve a sense of belonging in any given locale.4 We dress to fit in; different products or product types fit our different roles. The trend creates what one scholar has termed "a cohesive society of perfect strangers." 5

And the number of scenarios one can choose to be a part of proliferates.
So the need for ever more information-bearing goods (goods that communicate outwardly the owner's appropriate knowledge about the occasion) also increases. In generations past, the merely affluent were spared the expense of consuming simply to communicate status and gain acceptance. Not only did earlier generations have more class information available (because of smaller social circles and the use of heraldic titles, for example), but sumptuary laws made pretending to be in another class—through clothing and other outward symbols—a crime. Today, ever increasing populations and broad physical and social mobility have made "fitting in" in many venues a large and acceptable part of everyday life. Even the notable exceptions, such as the move to casual dress in offices—thought to allow people to wear what they wanted and, presumably, already owned—have quickly transformed into occasions to reaffirm one's status. Business casual is code for a new standard that pressures employees to acquire entirely new wardrobes of information-bearing clothes.

Well Heeled

Shoes are a classic example of products that have increasingly conveyed important, if implicit, information about their owners. Consider for a 88 ? The New Rules of Designing Offerings
moment: Men may own two or three pairs for work, a pair for casual wear, and a dress pair. They may also have a pair for black tie, if they own a tuxedo. Then there are the sports shoes—tennis, running, cross training, golf, and perhaps even skateboarding. Add in ski boots, hiking boots, and winter boots, and the average man can easily own twelve to fifteen pairs of shoes, for one pair of feet.

And that’s a very conservative estimate. Though few can match the 1,060 pairs of shoes belonging to the former Philippine president’s wife, Imelda Marcos, the average American woman in fact owns 30 pairs of shoes.6 Consumption researchers Elizabeth Shove and Alan Warde compare the choices of footwear for today’s and yesterday’s athlete: “We can now buy running shoes, training shoes, squash shoes and tennis shoes, whereas the previous generation just bought plimsolls [sneakers].” 7 More exactly, the National Sporting Goods Association lists no fewer than twenty-four athletic shoe categories alone.

What’s more, the number of pairs owned continues to grow. The number of shoes sold in the United States now equals five pairs per person, per year, up from an average of 2.5 in 1920.8 Much of this shoe fetish can be attributed to the disproportionate buying of the moneyed masses, whose share of total shoe purchases is disproportionately higher than their share of feet. Lou Ripple, director of sales and marketing for high-end shoemaker Allen-Edmonds, shared his view of the
trend with us:

    Years ago, somebody would buy a pair of black shoes and they would buy a pair of brown shoes and that’s pretty much what they had, and most of the shoes were dress shoes.When their dress shoes got to be kind of beat up, then they’d become their casual shoes or they’d wear them to cut the grass.

    What has happened over the years is that there have been many different kinds of shoes developed. So, customers really have a wardrobe of shoes. What we saw was twenty years ago, you’d have people who said, “All I have is Allen-Edmonds shoes. That’s all I wear. That’s all I have in my closet,” and you could have people who had anywhere from six or seven pairs to twenty-five or thirty pairs.

    As different companies came out with different types of shoes, we found our customers saying, “Well, I have Allen-Edmonds for Find an Occasional Use ? 89 my dress shoes but then I have some Timberlands, I have some Rockports.” You know, they have different shoes that they wear for different occasions, and over the years, we’ve introduced more different styles for more different occasions. So we now capture that customer who used to wear Allen-Edmonds just for dress or just bought the dress shoes and now has dress casual and casual shoes. And they’re returning to where they may have all their wardrobe back to Allen-Edmonds shoes now because we have shoes that address all those occasions.9


Two Feet Under

How can a company create advantage in an arena full of products designed for every occasion? In the crowded, competitive market of shoes, one would expect to find it difficult, if not impossible, to create
much new opportunity or innovation. But recently and in the past, both incumbent and new companies have managed to grow their businesses dramatically by exploiting new footwear usage occasions. The key in all these cases has been attentiveness to subtle trends and a quick response.

In 1987, incumbent Nike introduced a shoe that would spur the development of an entirely new category of footwear, the “water sport” shoe. Being attuned to the market, Nike noticed that one of its failed lightweight running shoe lines had become a favorite of people who windsurfed. These customers were searching for—and couldn’t buy off the shelf—a shoe that would be comfortable and provide traction while in water, but would also be durable and provide cushioning when the wearer was walking over rocks and gravel on land. Nike promptly modified the shape of the failed running shoe and added neon colors, and voilà: The Aqua Sock was born. The first 50,000 pairs sold out in less
than a month, and production quickly jumped to 3,000 pairs a day.

Competitors quickly followed. Omega, known for foul-weather gear and flotation devices, introduced the Reef Runner, and Reebok the Kahuna. It is not entirely surprising that water sport shoes took off.
Water-focused activities, though always popular, were in a period of rapid growth. In the late 1980s, the National Sporting Goods Association noted that swimming ranked first among participant sports and passed other activities like aerobics, walking, and bowling.Windsurfing, boogie boarding, and volleyball had all also picked up noticeably in retail sales.

A spokesperson for Nike explained at the time: “The unexpected success of our Aqua Sock convinced us that there was a big market for product in and around water.Windsurfers and small-boat sailors are on the leading edge, setting trends in sports.” Completing the bigger picture, she added, “We see [Nike] not as a shoe or apparel company, but as a sports company.We want to be in touch with leading-edge consumers and give them the product they need.”10

But not everyone was highly impressed by Aqua Sock’s sudden success, or by the opportunity it demonstrated to serve the unmet need for shoes worn only occasionally, for that matter. In 1989, two years after Aqua Sock’s introduction, Stephan Encarnacao, head of marketing and research for Converse at the time, opined, “It’s good for people to take their sport seriously and to immerse themselves in it. But you can take this thing too far. I wouldn’t want us to take ourselves so seriously thatwe really believe you need a croquet shoe.”11

Maybe we should not take ourselves that seriously, but taking occasional use seriously is another matter—one that might have saved Converse from the ultimate fate of bankruptcy. In 2002, after ninety-three years as a grand “Made in America” shoemaker, Converse was forced to shut its factories, having lost all but 2 percent of the market. According to Rick Burton, director ofWarsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon, Converse, “rode the basketball horse too long,” by choosing to stay mired in its Chuck Taylor All-Star high-top.12 Designed in 1923 by a former high-school all-state player, the All-Star had led Converse to command 90 percent of the basketball shoe market by the late 1960s. Though it was once the shoe of choice for professional players
like Wilt Chamberlain, it quickly fell into decline with the introduction of leather into sport shoes. And by the mid-1980s, even endorsements from famous players like Julius “Dr. J” Irving and Larry Bird could not stop the decline of the brand or the company.

By contrast, since Nike’s introduction of the Aqua Sock in 1987 (two short years before the Converse comment was made), the company has grown from a $1 billion company to a $10 billion company. Along the way, Nike has introduced shoes and apparel targeted at women, hockey, and golf. With the acquisition of Hurley International LLC, Nike has ventured into two of the potentially hottest arenas for occasional-use sporting goods: skateboarding and surfing. And in September 2003, the
company acquired none other than Converse.

New occasions for athletic-shoe use, based on emerging unmet needs, appear remarkably far from being exhausted. The fragmentation of participants in traditional sports like baseball and football into
dozens of “X sports” like mountain climbing, snowboarding, motorcross, and skateboarding continues to generate tremendous opportunity and margins, particularly for fast-moving new entrants. As Galbraith points out in The Affluent Society: “So long as the consumer adds new products—seeking variety rather than quantity—he may, like a museum, accumulate without diminishing the urgency of his wants. Since the average consumer owns only a fraction of the different kinds of goods he might conceivably possess, there is all but unlimited opportunity for adding such products.”13

Bringing Occasional Use Home

Even some of the most expensive items in the typical household budget are becoming occasional-use necessities. The automobile, a rare and coveted luxury possession less than a lifetime ago, has changed its consumer significance today. Not only do we seek to own an automobile, but we also seek to own many of them. Although the superrich have always had their collections of Rolls Royces or Bugattis, this trend has moved considerably further down the line. It was cemented a few years
back, when the number of licensed automobiles outgrew the number of licensed drivers in the United States. By 1998, the ratio had climbed to 1.14 cars per driver.14 In just three years, from April 1999 to April 2002, the number of three- and four-car households jumped 31 percent, from 10.9 million to 14.3 million.15 Not surprisingly, the affluent are fueling this market. Research by J. D. Power and Associates shows that of the 13 percent of new-vehicle shoppers who are considering luxury makes, 40 percent already have three or more vehicles.16 The increase has come from consumers buying all sorts of vehicles that are not intended as their primary mode of transportation—convertible sports cars, pickup trucks,muscle cars, and antiques. From 1998 to 2003, the number of car models offered increased by more than 50 percent, giving consumers unprecedented selection and specialization. Alaska has even created a special occasional-use license plate for these cars, allowing reduced taxes to be paid on these cars because of their reduced-use status.

To accommodate such a shift, the affluent home has had to change as well. In 2001, 18 percent of new housing units had space for three or more cars, up from 11 percent in 1992, the first year the U.S. Census tracked this figure.17 Not that this space is entirely dedicated to cars. The garage is increasingly being used as household self-storage (a trend accelerated by the growing preference for finished basements we mentioned earlier). At least one company, appliance maker Whirlpool, has
jumped on this opportunity, shifting focus from washers and dryers to its new Gladiator GarageWorks line. This line’s offerings include everything from workbenches to cabinets to tool walls and even a garage refrigerator. Not just a smaller version of the in-home kind, this appliance has been specifically engineered for use in a garage, having a builtin heater to keep its contents cold but not frozen, even when it is surrounded by a temperatures well below freezing.

This discussion brings us to another, still more expensive occasional-use necessity: the residence. Even the home itself, usually the largest single purchase a consumer makes in his or her lifetime, is
increasingly being purchased in multiples, for part-time rather than full-time use . . . and by more than just the superrich. An estimated 6.4 million American households (roughly 5 percent of households) own second homes today, but perhaps more importantly, nearly 10 million households are expected to have them by 2010.18

This trend is being driven in part by the baby-boomer generation’s purchasing vacation homes in preparation for retirement. But the purchase of these homes, and everything that goes with them, will remain a significant sales opportunity for some time to come, boomers or no, for those companies that see the opportunity and design their products to this particular market.

Rising to the Occasion

How can companies infiltrate and conquer the occasional-use market? A number of companies have capitalized on it by concentrating on two distinct strategies. In doing so, they have managed to achieve great business results relative to their competitors.

Create new usage segments. Successful companies excel in uncovering new uses within established, traditional usage behavior segments and categories.

Improve the fit. Companies can concentrate on honing their offerings to better fit a specific occasion. This creates additional distinction for their brand and offerings, based on their ability to overcome specific underlying component challenges of use.

Finding the Use Within the Use

An important strategy for defining and capturing new occasions is to split an existing category of use by some aspect of its use—or some attribute of its users. At each step,much like how a Russian nesting doll is taken apart, a deeper level of unmet need is revealed and then a product
developed to satisfy it.

The history of shampoo is instructive. The origin of soap is dated as far back as 2,800 B.C.: An early form of it was found in clay cylinders in an excavation of ancient Babylon. While the recipe for the contents is clearly inscribed on the containers, its intended use was not recorded. It seems to have been used in its earliest days as a hair treatment and styling aid. According to the Soap and Detergent Association, “Biblical accounts suggest that the Israelites knew that mixing ashes and oil produced a kind of hair gel.”19

Modern shampoo, in contrast, was invented (or reinvented) only quite recently. Back in 1930, John H. Breck Sr. introduced his eponymous shampoo after decades of research at his clinic in Springfield,
Massachusetts.20 His product was an unexpected departure from the then-current practice of using on one’s hair the same bar soap that one used on one’s body. By calling on users to differentiate their use occasion, and by outlining the benefits of doing so (Breck suggested that using bar soap on hair caused hair loss), he was able to create a significant new business, one based on customizing a product for a particular segment of its existing use.

Except Breck took it even further. He continued to segment shampoos by devising different formulations for dry and oily hair. His son Edward also led the targeting of shampoo at women with his worldfamous “Breck girls,” who appeared in Breck shampoo advertising starting in 1936. The brand has proven so strong and closely associated with shampoo in consumers’ minds that it is being resurrected today after more than a decade of decline and ultimate removal from the market in 2000.

Although Breck eventually became associated with a low-cost, bottomshelf product, for thirty years it was, remarkably, the premium brand and a salon favorite, commanding a premium price. And though more than nine out of ten Americans currently claim to shampoo daily, Breck’s success is even more notable when considered in the context in which it was introduced.21 A separate soap for hair care was considered quite a luxury in the midst of the Great Depression.

Additional subsegmentation of shampoo continued by other companies in the years that followed Breck’s introduction, so that the first movers gained significant advantage. For example, in 1953 Johnson & Johnson introduced its No More Tears baby shampoo. Targeting this particular use involved a real soap breakthrough, however, with the company introducing amphoteric cleansing agents to consumer use. Though these agents are not as effective as traditional soaps, they are
extremely mild, which makes them quite literally easy on the eyes and perfect for a baby’s sensitive but presumably not-too-dirty skin. Designing this new category of cleaners for this user segment enabled Johnson & Johnson to capture a category it still dominates today,more than fifty years
later.Within six months of its introduction, Johnson & Johnson had captured 75 percent of the baby shampoo market, a share it held as recently as 1995, when a rise in both birth rate and affluence in the United States permitted competitors to successfully sell marginally improved products at a price two to five times that of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo.

Johnson & Johnson continued to see the opportunity in different use shampoos, eventually establishing a leading position in the area of dandruff control.22 But in one case, the continuing opportunity to create baby versions of other products curiously escaped the company, at least for a time. According to Euromonitor, “Johnson & Johnson is the baby care company in the U.S. with a dominant and leading position in all sectors bar sun care products [emphasis added].”23 Instead, Schering Plough dominates sun block formulated for babies,with its Coppertone Water Babies and Coppertone Kids brands capturing over 50 percent of the total market in 2001. This market grew 50 percent in just four years—from $60 million to $95 million from 1997 to 2001—yet the appreciable differences between adult and child sun-care products are hard to define.

The next logical step in creating more shampoos for occasional use is slowly occurring. Companies are beginning to target shampoos for different occasions experienced by the same user. For example, there are now shampoos one should use after going to the beach, after using a pool, and even before going out clubbing (for extra body). And other opportunities for proliferation abound.
Today, shampoo makes up only 33 percent of the industry known as hair care, which encompasses styling products (including hair sprays, mousses, and gels), hair color, and home-permanent and hair-growth products.24

In an “Aha!”moment much like the shampoo discoveries, toothpaste manufacturers just recently made the disconcerting (to the manufacturers) discovery that many families share a single tube of toothpaste. In an effort to correct this problem, the companies have started introducing toothpastes targeted not at problem areas, such as breath freshness, whiteness, or plaque, but at users. Procter & Gamble recently introduced a for-women-only toothpaste under the name Crest Rejuvenating
Effects. The product is targeted at 30- to 44-year-olds—a more mature and higher-earning segment—and backed by a $50 million promotion campaign.

Procter & Gamble acknowledges that the new product offers essentially the same benefits as its other offerings. But the vanilla and cinnamon notes in the taste, the increased tingle while brushing, and the teal hues of the new packaging are expected to make women appreciate a product designed just for them. Procter & Gamble is also hoping for a rejuvenating effect in Crest sales, which slipped in the late 1990s to competitors like Colgate-Palmolive, which focused on cosmetic attributes
such as whitening, while Crest targeted more functional attributes like tartar control and gum care.

Interestingly, P&G has acknowledged that men are unlikely to “get” the idea behind for-women-only toothpaste. But the company draws comparisons to the Gillette Venus razor, another product that does essentially the same thing for both sexes, but which has been successfully differentiated in the market and has created tremendous value for its creator in the process.

Still, it is important that the differentiation sought be grounded in real, consumer-valuable differences—to fulfill unmet marketplace needs—as in the case of a nonirritating baby shampoo. Failure to adequately provide new value to consumers can lead to backsliding into shared usage.While shampoo is not likely to go away anytime soon, the convenience of having only one washing agent versus the benefits of segmented products is helping “all-over” body shampoos make headway in Western Europe. These products accounted for almost 7 percent of total use in 2002.25 Yet, this shift has not been a total wash for the soap industry; the direction of the shift has been to the higherpriced and more quickly used shampoo-style product, not back down to bar soap.

Making the Offering Fit the Occasion

Making a product suitable to a particular use occasion requires that it be made distinctly different in ways linked to specific customer needs. Whether or not every buyer values or uses the unique features of skateboarding shoes, there can be no denying that they are not simply a tennis shoe made up to look good for skaters. For example, the unique needs of skateboarders, particularly for wear resistance to combat the constant friction with the board, and padding in unusual places like the tongue to soften board flips, has kept designers scrambling to use the latest materials in their construction. A list of these requirements reads like a chemistry textbook—polyurethane (PU), ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA), thermoplastic rubber (TPR), and polyethylene, for starters. The designers have also sought out new technologies that can be applied to shoes to create the right shoe for real skateboarders. Airwalk’s Verus technology uses plastic beads developed by The Dow Chemical Company, for example. The beads are formed into geometric cones and molded in opposing formation, giving the shoes tremendous durability.This technology beats out the air-and-gel technologies of other leading manufacturers, because the air-and-gel structures tend to break down under constant stress. Skateboarding shoes may look to some like rebadged canvas loafers, but technically speaking, they are anything but.

This same interest in creating real attenuation to usage can be seen in any number of specialized products. One need only visit a Williams- Sonoma store to understand the possibilities. An industry executive we spoke to about this topic was passionate about her Williams-Sonoma supplied
asparagus steamer, using it solely for that purpose and swearing that it preserves the tips better than any of the countless other methods she had tried. As the item description at the Web site explains,
the key to cooking asparagus perfectly is to use a tall pot that holds the asparagus upright,“allowing the bottoms to boil while the tips steam.”26

Sur La Table, a store for professional chefs and other cooks, has dozens of items specifically designed for use with fish, including bone tweezers and bone pliers (remarkably similar to a pair of needle-nose pliers, but that is to our point). It also has fifty-seven different types of spoons, including measuring, soda fountain, and grapefruit (gold plated for a putative festive touch). Perhaps its designers were inspired by the Victorian table?

In a move that may help boost the fortunes of the long-suffering apparel industry, clothing makers are finally coming around to exploring the real ways in which clothes are used, which today often means in conjunction with a slew of electronics. Pagers, cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and the like are currently all crammed into pockets that have not changed appreciably in design since the late 1700s—that’s more than two hundred years!

This is starting to change. Seventy-five per cent of American men own a pair of Dockers khakis, for example, but only recently have these consumers had the chance to own Dockers Mobile Pant, with side and back pockets ideal for storing a cell phone and PDA. And Levi Strauss, which makes Dockers, is not a particular newcomer to the concept of creating technology-relevant clothing. Back in 1995, it partnered with electronics maker Philips to begin exploring wearable electronics. The
result of this partnership was ICD+, its Industrial Clothing Division, whose first products are available
at selected European retail outlets.

And pants are just one example of efforts under way to create clothing better suited to today’s electronics and use occasions. Apple and Burton Snowboards have partnered to create a parka with an embedded iPod MP3 player. “It’s a handsome, perfectly normal-looking winter jacket,with one difference—a fabric panel on the left sleeve with a set of raised audio control buttons.”27 Such news comes none too soon to menswear, a $51-billion-a-year industry that has seen sales of its traditional
fair—suits, blazers, and trousers—fall by 10 percent between 1998 and 2001, from $5.3 billion to $4.7 billion.28

Understanding Occasions

How can companies gain the insights they need to improve the fit of their existing offerings to specific occasions, and to create new offerings for new occasions? They must first come to better understand customers, their occasions, and the unmet needs inherent in those occasions. Leading companies have actively pursued and invested in the capabilities that allow them to have better knowledge and deeper understanding of occasions and use environments than their competitors.

A number of techniques have proven useful to these companies, including:

Immersing themselves in the actual use of products—including intense observational research; and

Hiring “heavy user” employees—people who are enthusiastic users of all products in the category being marketed to, who bring deep insight and knowledge into the core of the organization.

These techniques may seem obvious. (What responsible company doesn’t study how its customers use its products?) But there’s more “ there” there than meets the eye.

Occasions in the Mist

Capturing the opportunity in a product’s usage occasion requires the ethnographic approach of a cultural anthropologist—seeing products and services in the context of their consumption, from the consumer’s perspective. Many marketers and executives may dismiss this recommendation, knowing that their companies’ have already made tremendous investment in developing customer knowledge and believing that existing capabilities must therefore be adequate. But consider the soft-drink market. Could there be a product category more researched, with its usage more considered? Yet, it was not until 2002 that Coke introduced its Fridge Pack, soda cans sold in packaging that
improves the drink’s consumption from a refrigerator.

With the change in the traditional four-by-three-can packaging design into a six-by-two formation, more soda can be stored in the often empty back of the fridge space. Easier access to this space comes from a unique, forward-facing dispenser design. This change is not selling soda per se, but rather selling an information-bearing product: soda to be consumed specifically out of a refrigerator. But soda has been consumed at home out of refrigerators for decades.Why did it take manufacturers
so long to fit the product to the occasion? In fact, they didn’t.

Alcoa, the aluminum company, originally came up with the idea as a way to increase sales of its cans. By going into people’s homes and watching how they used canned soda, researchers learned that most people were only loading three or four cans at a time into their refrigerators. Though in the aluminum can business, Alcoa’s engineers then set out to design a better, more refrigerator-friendly package for soda, settling on the fridge pack. They believed that if they could increase the number of cans in the refrigerator, the result would be increased availability and therefore consumption, as well as increased user satisfaction from fewer restocking episodes.

Alcoa was right. Coke Consolidated, Coke’s second-largest U.S. bottler, saw sales of twelve-packs grow by 25 percent after introducing the new packaging in August 2001. The change contributed one point to the bottler’s 2.8 percent volume growth the following year. Two other Coke bottlers, including the largest, have also started using the Fridge Pack. A spokesperson for Coke Consolidated observed, “When we saw it, we wondered why nobody had thought of it before.”29

The Fridge Pack also shows two ways that companies can innovate for occasions: through packaging and through product. In some instances, like the Fridge Pack, greater value results when companies exploit occasions through packaging. And as the New Coke experience shows, innovating to occasions in packaging may also be a lot less risky. At the very least, companies should consider both approaches.

Applying a similar technique, Starbucks was able to take another simple, everyday product—chewing gum—and bestow on it a specialuse status that enabled the company to charge an unheard-of premium for the product. In the process, the company created the new category of after-coffee specialty gum.

How did Starbucks do it? First, it recognized the explosive market growth in specialty mints—technically, breath fresheners, in candyindustry parlance—being driven by the increased consumption of strong coffee such as its own product. Erin Brennan, an Altoids spokeswoman,
explains the mint-coffee connection: “When Altoids arrived in America, they were most successful in the Northwest. It must be the coffee.” Altoids made $118 million in 2000, eclipsing the $66 million figure for LifeSavers.30

This success drove Starbucks to introduce its own mints, which it has now followed up with gum. Although the company will not release exact sales figures, a spokesperson did say the original mints did well enough to justify introducing new flavors and styles, and that Starbucks has been very happy with the success. The real number has been over 1.7 billion (!) mints sold to date.31 The result of the after-coffee mints’ leading to after-coffee chewing gum is that a once-ubiquitous product—with an average selling price of maybe fifty cents for a fivepack of Wrigley’s—has become more strongly flavored and sells for $1.95 a package, a new-middle-ground price improvement any maker
could love.

Everyday items modified even slightly for an occasion regularly command such tremendous premiums. Golf shirts, though in most cases only slightly modified from traditional polo-style shirts, can command two, three, and even four times their price.What better way to find an inroad into a polo-shirt-stuffed closet than to create a requirement for a different kind of shirt for an increasingly popular sport?

Nurturing Employee Users (and Vice Versa)

Most employees in most companies have experience with everyday products, like dish soap. But if you’re designing, manufacturing, or even selling high-performance mountain-climbing parkas, you’d better have people in-house who have experienced the product and who understand its use. Serving more specialized occasions requires a more specialized employee. Rare is the company that manages to define and dominate an industry without passionate employees immersed in the
product.

Employees of Patagonia travel the world both to test its products and to cultivate new ideas. And the story of Nike’s beginnings, with founder Phil Knight teaming with his celebrated coach Bill Bowerman
to create a better shoe just for runners, is legendary. The next trend in shoes may also come from personal passion.Kevin Beard, a leading shoe designer for K-Swiss, Reebok, and adidas, has taken his experience and started a new company around his passion for amateur auto racing. Named Piloti, after the Italian word for racing driver, Beard’s company makes highly authentic race car driving shoes (most styles come with fire-resistant Nomex linings) worn by a number of Formula 1 and
NASCAR champions. Now available at mainstream retailers like Nordstrom, the shoes are seeing a growing number of competitors, including major brands adidas and Fila,which have introduced lines of their own.

Wet suits originated with another equally enthusiastic founder, or in this case, equally enthusiastic founders. As the company Web site explains, Bob and Bill Meistell of Body Glove were two avid surfers and divers in the earliest days of the sports: “Bob and Bill needed to find a way to combat California’s cold water. They tried a variety of ideas, including electrically heated flyers’ suits from war surplus, but those would burn up and wool sweaters lasted only as long as they remained dry, which wasn’t too long. Finally in 1953, they found some insulation material, which was used in the back of refrigerators. This material was called neoprene and was used to make the first practical suits.”32

For companies that make top-quality, highly targeted products, it is critical that as many employees as possible—from salespeople to product developers to scientists in R&D—are immersed in the usage of the company’s products and other products of the category—in a way that goes far beyond mere observation. The benefits of employee immersion hold true, for example, in the bicycle industry. After two hundred years of use and development, cycling is an industry one could reasonably
believe to be “occasioned out.” But as recently as the mid-1970s, with the introduction of mountain biking, the industry was reinvigorated. Today, the mountain bike segment represents nearly half—42 percent—of the $5.6 billion U.S. market for bikes and parts. This new use for bicycles also led to the decline and eventual bankruptcy of the venerable hundred-year-old brand Schwinn, replaced in the market by early enthusiast-led innovators like Trek and Cannondale.33

Michael Larson, retired vice president of design and engineering at Sram, a Chicago-based maker of high-quality, high-end bicycle parts, explains the value of employee enthusiasts:

    We were looking for people who were enthusiasts as a bare minimum. These were not occasional users but people deeply committed to some type of cycling. The advantage is their incredible insight and their ability to think up a better mousetrap. They have personal
    end-user experience with the product.

    When one looks at very robust product development methodologies, it all starts with understanding the voice of the customer. If you are the customer yourself, you have incredible internal insight into your organization, about how the product is used, what the current limitations to the current product lines are, et cetera. I have found most creative engineers and technical people, whenever they use a product . . . are doing a pretty technical product review. They’ll tweak them, they’ll fix them.34

As an added benefit, Larson says, these employees tend to be more resilient. Enthusiasts use their own enthusiasm as a motivating factor to deal with the normal ups and downs of a business.You tend to overlook the negative stuff if you dig the product you are cranking out, especially
if you are the user.

One example of how usage experience paid off was when Sram created a twist shifter for mountain bike use. It was recognized early on that the device would need to be smaller, require less rotation in use, and have a better transition into the handlebar grip than the shifters used on other bicycle types. These three needs were captured in the acronym SRT, which eventually became the product name.

Larson explains that the development of Sram’s innovations happen quickly, because the developers are also people who love the category: “ We are the people who went out there, rode, and came back with the design parameters for different conditions (the need to design a way to avoid accidental shifts, for example, when a shorter shift rotation is used). Enough of them to get a good handle on what it took.When the product is something you interact with, you iterate at supersonicspeeds, the feedback comes incredibly fast.”35

A risk, however, particularly in a smaller company, is insufficient external market testing, created by an overreliance on internal expertise. Enthusiasts can become overprotective of their own product baby. One product that should have been a terrific success at Sram suffered from being overengineered and was never introduced because it was judged too expensive to produce, given its likely sale price. Says Larson: “Internal expertise can clog the system. People hang on too long, because they are emotionally attached, making doing something less than perfectly more troubling than if they are designing a flange, let’s say, that nobody they know will ever see; they stop worrying about how real customers will use the product.”36 Even much larger companies can suffer from
similar employee myopia.We have heard this complaint echoed to us by marketing executives from leading computer and chip manufacturers, where product developers and scientists have been known to fall in love with a technology while losing sight of the market.

And though our discussion so far has focused primarily on designers and entrepreneurs, the best, and even the largest, companies strive to have an understanding of customer occasions at all levels of the business. The Home Depot and Nordstrom, for example, dominate their industries in part because they hire salespeople who can empathize with customers and who have a similar base of needs and experiences in their own lives. One Talbots executive told us how much the company values the positive customer experiences that result when a store hires a good customer who is well connected in the neighborhood. She said that this hiring practice happens frequently, because of the culture the stores bring to their locations.

The failure to have employee users can also have the reverse effect. Executives of a number of mature global companies have bemoaned to us how nobody in their company seems to be passionate about the company’s core product anymore, and how this is keeping them from innovating and serving the market in the way they would like. And though many companies now require their executives to interact regularly with customers, some companies inadvertently shelter their employees from being true users of their products. For example, many automakers offer
their employees special acquisition and service plans that keep them out of local dealerships and away from the typical buying and ownership experience of their product—potentially denying them the experiences that lead to insights for continuous improvement and business growth.

The Not-So-Real Deal

A deep understanding of real use, which is so important in product design, does not always equate with a deep understanding of customers. Inevitably, the market of those who truly have an occasion gives way to a greater market of those who wish to use a product’s distinctive characteristics
merely for fashion purposes. For example, the lowly bowling shoe enjoyed a recent fashion craze, with versions by design houses Prada and Hermes. The fashion versions have outsold the authentic versions in revenues, but also (surprisingly) in unit volume. Skateboarding shoes, too, have successfully made the move from being a valued piece of sporting equipment to fashionable street shoes.

But don’t misconstrue. These second and third levels of potential buyers—the aspirants and fashion leaders—in fact underscore the power of designing for occasional use, even if the actual user base
appears at first to be small.

Many high-end products sold to the mass market are rarely used for their intended purpose and are instead supported by an evergreen desire for authenticity in product by those who can afford the best.How many of the 150,000 Land Rovers sold each year ever sees a forty-five degree
rock incline outside the dealer lot? That dealers need to create these test environments—rather than pointing customers to a suitable testing spot nearby—serves only to highlight the improbability that any of these vehicles will see the conditions for which they were made.Nevertheless, authenticity is a must, as it serves the unmet needs of both the core and secondary markets—the first demanding real capability, the second seeking fashionable affinity with those who use the product to
its fullest potential.

Many companies are already benefiting by providing the moneyed masses offerings designed for occasions that these consumers will probably never see, but that are considered worth preparing for—like coats for summiting Everest (getting more common every day, right?!) and stoves for preparing the kind of gourmet meals that demand six burners (some high power, others with perfect simmer capabilities). Categories and companies that have successfully leveraged this desire to, “Be Prepared,” as the Boy Scouts say, include cookware (All Clad), waterproof clothing and gear (Helly Hanson), dive watches (Ulysses Nardin), and tools (Snap-on), to name just a few.

And a few companies are in fact built around the idea of products for occasions that buyers know they will never see, but don’t really mind missing. Purveyor J. Peterman has had tremendous success with an entire catalog devoted to authenticity without actual occasion, selling things like real rancher’s jackets, Canadian hockey shirts, and World War II parachute jumpers’ coats. As the company states in its published philosophy, “ People want things that . . . have romance, but a factual romance, about them . . . things that make their lives the way they wish they were.”37

More Occasions to Come


There is no shortage of occasions to target, and there is the distinct promise of more to come. In fact, five clear trends among the moneyed masses conjure up markets that are ripe for this type of innovation.

Going Back for Seconds


This opportunity comes from the affluent trend to owning seconds—as well as thirds, fourths, and fifths—of everything, from clothes to cars to homes. The trend to a single bathroom per bedroom as a minimum in today’s home designs (not to mention multiple half baths) should serve as a sign.Homes with 21/2 baths or more have grown steadily from just 16 percent in 1970 to 55 percent in 1999.38 Atherton, an affluent town in California, has an average of eight rooms per household while averaging just 2.8 occupants (this is nearly three rooms per person!).39

Recognizing the new attributes affluent consumers will look for, or will need, in a product when purchasing a second (or third, or fourth . . .) one is a key to future occasional-use success. Companies have already begun changing the design of refrigerators to increase the number people
own. They are making these secondary and tertiary appliances smaller, and designing them with special features to provide cold drinks everywhere, from inside a media room to the basement to inside a car. These uses, along with specially designed wine refrigerators, are supplementing
sales of the traditional, one-only kitchen refrigerator. Televisions have been designed for every room in the house as well, even for under a kitchen cabinet. Intended use, different for each product owned—whether it is the first or second or third—is again critical to absolute saturation of the market.

The Care and Feeding of Oneself

The new focus on the care and feeding of oneself will be another significant opportunity. Characterized by Robert Putnam in the best-seller Bowling Alone, Americans have moved away from traditional social and civic interactions to more individual pursuits and activities. The moneyed masses have taken cocooning to heart and are actively grabbing onto once-shared facilities and making them their own. Evidence of this trend can be seen in the creation of sumptuous spa baths and media rooms in homes with relatively few occupants to enjoy them. Usage is being reshaped around individuals, as seen in the continued trend toward single-serve packaging of everything. This already includes myriad offerings, from one-cup coffeemakers to single-serving microwavable
hot fudge to individually packaged jelly for the home (advertised as being “just like in a restaurant”).

Consider the sale of children’s playground equipment, in which a few swings and a clubhouse from companies like ChildLife and Rainbow Play Systems can start at $3,000 and quickly move up into five figures. Structures such as these, once reserved for public playgrounds, now appear regularly in the backyards of the well-off—so regularly that one can find entire neighborhoods with a similar structure in every yard, often separated by less than a hundred feet (and, unfortunately, a
five-foot fence).

Where can this trend lead? Companies must search the ranks of shared enjoyments and consider what can and will be moved figuratively and literally in-house. Equipment once reserved for health clubs, including saunas, steam baths, and multihead showers, are now regular fixtures in new home construction.And near the home, the possibilities are growing as well.Home putting greens, of both the synthetic and real grass variety, are exploding in number, as are personal backyard skating
rinks (including poured concrete bases, halogen lighting and ice resurfacing attachments for the riding mower). In the winter of 2004, Snow- Station, LLC couldn’t keep up with demand for its $2,000 Backyard Blizzard home snowmaker, a product that makes even skiing and sledding an at-home sport for a growing number of consumers.

Signs of Aging

Demographic trends can be mined for telling signs of occasions to come. The aging population portends everything from changes in meal times and foods to be consumed (important for the restaurant industry to note) to increased leisure travel.

Apparel maker and lifestyle purveyor Tommy Bahama appreciates the increase in leisure travel of older,more affluent adult Americans and has moved brilliantly to exploit it. Founded in 1992, the company has a target audience that is clear from a glance at its fashion models. No
bikinied teens or surfer dudes here. The recurring visual is of an older couple of indeterminate age—him significantly gray, yet distinguished and vibrant, her attractive, but clearly mature.Recognizing that many can afford, and are taking, tropical vacations to exotic island resorts, but only a few can afford to turn the trips into a lifestyle, this company has focused on simulating these occasions by bringing the resorts closer to home.

Tommy Bahama may at first appear to be a simple lifestyle purveyor, but it is in fact much more. Unlike true aspiration marketing, Tommy’s hook is not to provide a taste of an unattainable or distant good life, but rather to serve as a complement for a lifestyle many already share in, if even in differing amounts. Unlike Ralph Lauren, whose lifestyle images are attractive but largely unattainable, Tommy’s clothing serves aspirants and actuals alike. It outfits those taking tropical vacations and who are uncertain how to dress, as well as those who have returned and seek to recreate the mood and experience through their attire.

This focus on participants is core to the company’s origins: Two of its founding executives met when they purchased neighboring vacation homes in Naples, Florida, and the brand’s first real success came in the opening of a combined restaurant/retail space in that city, one known for its large population of retirees and senior vacationers. As we’ve said, there is a strong attraction to dressing the part for an occasion, especially once you are in it.

Tapping this emerging market has resulted in over $300 million in sales, with a target of $1 billion by 2008, a number many analysts find extremely reasonable. And graying need not be the end of the occasionaluse road, so to speak. In 2003, the Wall Street Journal documented the opportunity for postmortem consumption, a “tomb boom” that includes high-end mausoleums with everything from digital photos and voice recordings, to cafés and exhibition space for local artists.40

Embedded Occasions


Golf courses and health clubs—in a move to become even more posh—are serving up everything from massages to gourmet restaurants. This arrangement allows consumers to combine and embed
experiences, layering them into a more complex experience tailored to their immediate desires. This trend is a shift in when and where the experiences and their related goods and services are consumed.Companies that can define the important differences that result from this shifting
of time and place and can redesign the offerings for better fit will find new ways to capture new value in what others will see as essentially old offerings.

The Desire for Occasions of a Lifetime

As consumers grow older and more affluent, the occasions they seek become more uncommon and personally significant, and therefore more expensive and less frequently enjoyed. The result is one of the largest opportunities in new occasions: selling once-in-a-lifetime experiences.What companies in this market are losing in repeat business, they are making up in the growing numbers of moneyed customers who are aspiring to, and finally living out, their fantasy activities.Want to travel in space? Dennis Tito did. He accompanied a Russian expedition.The cost: $20 million.

Twenty million is an intimidating sum, yet other experiences possessing relatively equal marvel are far more attainable, especially as a once-in-a-lifetime splurge. Flying a MiG-25 will get you to the very edge of space, but is far more affordable at $27,000 (including accommodations at the five-star Metropol Hotel in Moscow, training flights, visa, and tourism from Incredible Adventures). Prefer going the other direction? Diving two miles below the surface of the ocean to see the Titanic runs $36,000 (without heart-of-the-ocean necklace). Deep Ocean Expeditions has five other choices, including submersible trips under the Arctic for $10,000. Prefer the South Pole? Adventure Quest will fly you
there on a sixteen-day escapade for $25,000.

The point is, there is no point on the planet really off limits. Scaling Everest is still pricey at roughly $65,000, but jungles, plains, deserts, and ocean floors have all given way to tourism. And it is not just the places, but the activities that matter. Flying at Mach 2, driving over 150 miles per hour, dog sledding, and even simulated Army Ranger missions can now be experienced for a fee. All of these adventures drive not just increased tourism dollars, but demand for the products that go with them, from specialized apparel to climbing gear to newly designed submersibles.

Adventure travel is not just for men having midlife crises, either. Lower on the testosterone scale, but equally attractive and expensive, are high-end nature, eco-, and cultural travel, like bird-watching in the Galapagos and historian-led trips to places like Syria. With a market estimated to be at least $50 billion (with some saying upward of $125 billion), opportunity abounds. Although the average male spent 3 percent of his life in retirement at the turn of the last century, today he is likely to spend upward of 30 percent as a retiree, with time on his hands for just such adventures.What’s more, women account for an estimated 65 percent of adventure travelers and tend to be older and married.
Some of the biggest growth is coming from cross-generational trips, including grandparents and grandkids.

The opportunity for creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences reaches down to restaurant meals, cars, and even furniture, where high-end providers can expect—and seek opportunity in—a growing number of onetime splurge buyers for what become true wide-scale, or plenary, indulgences. The challenge for marketers is to create offerings so desirable, consumers cannot imagine going through life without having experienced them at least once.How will your offering be remembered, when all is said and done?

A Time to Close

Though some have characterized it as social satire, Thorstein Veblen noted in his 1899 book The Theory of the Leisure Class the important relationship between the use of a good and the status conveyed to its owner: “Even in articles which appear at first glance to serve for pure ostentation only, it is always possible to detect the presence of some, at least ostensible, useful purpose; and on the other hand, even in special machinery and tools contrived for some particular industrial process, as
well as in the rudest appliances of human industry, the traces of conspicuous waste, or at least of the habit of ostentation, usually become evident on a close scrutiny.”41

And while his wording is ponderous (literary critic H. L. Mencken described his work, saying, “It was, and is, impossible to imagine worse Find an Occasional Use ? 111 English, within the limits of intelligible grammar”), Veblen’s subsequent caution to his readers is, in a business context, instructive.42 “It would be hazardous to assert that a useful purpose is ever absent from the utility of any article or of any service, however obviously its prime purpose and chief element is conspicuous waste; and it would be only less hazardous to assert of any primarily useful product that the element
of waste is in no way concerned in its value, immediately or remotely.”43 The lesson then for business is to not shy away from needless adornments in offering design, but to look first for the use that grounds the vanity.
 

   

 
    1. D. Marie Victoriana, Victorian Gallery Web page, (accessed 10 September 2002).
    2. Gaye Bland, Rogers Historical Museum Web page, (accessed 12 February 2004).
    3. Pilar Guzman, "Hey, Man, What's for Dinner?" New York Times, 28 August 2002.
    4. In describing specialization as an important mechanism that drives consumption, Elizabeth Shove and Alan Warde of Lancaster University point out: "The paraphernalia required to be a successful social participant at Ascot, Henley, the White City, the opera and the rock concert, as well as to be an employee, a supporter of a football team and a dabbler in d-i-y [do-it-yourself, or home repair] is enormously varied and costly, often requiring a gallery of items that are largely or potentially alike in terms of function but which are in fact quite precisely specialised, so much so that they are no longer interchangeable. It is probably true that informalisation has relaxed rules about what it [sic] is appropriate to wear on what occasions, thereby moderating the effect to some degree. But the constant invention of new activities, or more often the separation of once similar activities into demarcated and specialized fields, each requiring singular accoutrements, is a powerful social and commercial impetus to expanded consumption." Elizabeth Shove and Alan Warde, "Inconspicuous Consumption: The Sociology of Consumption and the Environment," Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, revised October 1998, (accessed 29 October 2003).
    5. Grant McCracken, Culture and Consumption (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press), 19

    6. Linda O’Keeffe, Shoes: A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers and More (New York: Workman Publishing, 1996), as reported in Beverly Hall Lawrence, “Polishing the Shoe’s Image,” Newsday (New York), 3 April 1997.
    7. Shove and Warde, “Inconspicuous Consumption: The Sociology of Consumption and the Environment.”
    8. William A. Rossi, “The Shoe Industry’s Twenty-Year Snooze: Sales Trends in the Footwear Industry,” Footwear News, 22 June 1998, 12.
    9. Louis Ripple, telephone interview by author, tape recording, 19 February 2003.
    10. Stuart B. Chirls, “Americans Head for the Water: In, On, and Under,” Daily News Record, 31 July 1989, 18.
    11. Alan Cooperman, “Imelda Marcos Had 2,000 Pairs, But Did She Have One of These?” Associated Press, 11 July 1989, published in “Water Shoe Is a Runaway Hit,” San Francisco Chronicle, 7 August 1989.
    12. Bob Ford, “Other Shoe Drops: Converse Seeks Bankruptcy Protection,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 23 January 2001.
    13. John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), 120–121.
    14. U.S. Census Bureau, “Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2000,” <http://www. census.gov/prod/www/statistical-abstract-us.html> (accessed 29 October 2003).
    15. David Kiley, “Baby Boomers Splurge on ‘Road Candy,’ Just for Fun; Buyers Make Room for Third—Even Fourth—Cars in the Driveway,” USA Today, 21 June 2002.
    16. Ibid.
    17. “New Single-Family Home Characteristics,” Housing Economics 50, no. 7, (July 2002): 13–18.
    18. Patrick O’Driscoll, “Only Ashes Left of ‘Dream Place,’” USA Today, 1 July 2002, < http:www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002/07/02/rebuild.htm> (accessed 29 October 2003).
    19. Soap and Detergent Association Web page, <http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.sdahq.org/sdalatest/html/soaphistory1.htm>
    (accessed 29 October 2003).
    20. Dial Corporation Web page, <http://www.dialcorp.com/index.cfm?page_id=15> (accessed 29 October 2003).
    21. For the frequency of shampooing, see Leigh Grogan, “Heads Above the Rest?”
    < http://www.bonitabanner.com/02/08/neapolitan/d659157a.htm> (accessed 29 October 2003).
    22. Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries own T-Gel and Nizoral A-D, two of the ten best-selling of any shampoos by dollar sales.
    23. Euromonitor Web page, <http://www.euromonitor.com/results.asp?orderby=fulltextsearch&company=&username=&password=&search=Johnson+and+Johnson+baby
    +care&x=0&y=0> (accessed 29 October 2003).
    24. Grogan,“Heads Above the Rest?”
    25. In-Cosmetics Web page, <http://www.in-cosmetics.com/page.cfm/Link=49>
    (accessed 29 October 2002).
    26. Williams-Sonoma Web page, <http://ww1.williams-sonoma.com/cat/pip.cfm?
    src=srki1%7Cwasparagus%2Fsrki1%7Cwasparagas%2Fhme%2Fhme&skus=4547964&
    pkey=sa0s10asparagus&cmsrc=sch> (accessed 5 November 2003).
    27. Walter Mossberg, “The Mossberg Solution: Is That an iPod in Your Pocket? More
    Clothing Makers Target Gadget Users; a Ski-Jacket with a Remote Sewn In,” Wall Street
    Journal, 15 January 2003.
    28. According to the NPD Group (Florence, Italy), a market information company.
    29. Betsy McKay, “Thinking Inside the Box Helps Soda Makers Boost Sales,” Wall
    Street Journal, 2 August 2002.
    30. Erin Brennan, quoted in Mekeisha Madden,“Mints Go Mod; Designer Tins,New
    Flavors Are the Latest Trends in the Billion Dollar Business of Freshening Breath,” News
    Tribune (Tacoma,WA), 27 February 2002.
    Notes
    31. PR Newswire,“Starbucks Customers Have Enjoyed 1.7 Billion After Coffee Mints . . .
    So Cool,” press release, 25 September 2002.
    32. Body Glove Web page, <http://www.bodyglove.com/company/company.php>
    (accessed 29 October 2003).
    33. Schwinn’s assets were acquired by Pacific Cycle LLC in 2001, which continues to
    sell Schwinn branded products.
    34. Mike Larsen, telephone interview by author, tape recording, 12 August 2002.
    35. Ibid.
    36. Ibid.
    37. J. Peterman Web page, <http://www.jpeterman.com/default.htm> (accessed 5
    November 2003).
    38. U.S. Census Bureau, “Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001.”
    39. Troung Phouc Khanh, “Atherton, California,Wins Honor of State’s Car Capital,”
    San Jose Mercury News, 21 May 2002.
    40. Ray A. Smith, “A Crypt to Die For,”Wall Street Journal, 24 September 2003.
    41. Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899; reprint, New York: Penguin
    Books, 1994), 100.
    42. H. L.Mencken,“Professor Veblen” (1919), reprinted in “Thorstein’s Endless Train
    of Thought:Where’s the Caboose?” <http://www.blancmange.net/tmh/articles/hlm_veblen.
    html>, (accessed 29 October 2003).
    43. Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class, 101.



Excerpted from
Mass Affluence: Seven New Rules of Marketing to Today's Consumer by Paul Nunes and Brian Johnson. Copyright © 2004 Paul Nunes. Published byHarvard Business School Press Boston, Massachusetts. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

 
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