Built on the assumption of unlimited and cheap natural resources, the ‘take, make and dump’ mindset predominant today has begun to change. The circular economy is the most innovative approach to business consumer relationships seen in decades. While more established in Europe it is gaining traction in the US as well.
JWT’s recent trend report on the circular economy highlights five ways that some businesses are reshaping their operations and relationships with customers.
Selling Temporary Ownership
Dutch denim brand, Mud Jeans, began a scheme last year in which customers pay a monthly fee for jeans, returning them at the end of the lease period (a year is the minimum). Mud then cleans the jeans and makes any necessary repairs before re-leasing them or, if the jeans are beyond repair, recycling them through its denim manufacturer. This way, Mud retains ownership of the raw material, helping to protect the company from volatile cotton prices, while customers can update their wardrobe annually without the sizeable upfront cost.
Second Hand Sales
One of the easiest ways for brands to eliminate waste and participate in the circular economy is to give goods new life in the second-hand market. Patagonia, the outdoor-gear brand, set up the first multi-seller branded store on eBay, enabling customers to list their used Patagonia items. In four US Patagonia stores (Seattle, Palo Alto, Portland and Chicago) customers can trade in old Patagonia goods for store credit. These items are then sold in a Worn Wear section of the shop.
Collecting and Recycling Goods
In the apparel category, European retailers including Puma, H&M and American Eagle Outfitters are partnering with I:CO, a Swiss reuse and recycling firm that sets up collection points in stores for worn textiles and shoes. Customers who contribute get discounts on future purchases.
In a circular economy, broken goods are upgraded or repaired and used for as long as possible rather than tossed out. Handles on Patagonia’s Freewheeler luggage, for instance, have four red screws holding them in place, making it simple for customers trying to repair jammed or broken handles to see which parts to unscrew. Dell and Lenovo design certain computer components for easy removal and replacement, shipping them to customers along with instructions. While these brands lose out in the short-term on a potential new sale, by making repair easier they foster longer-lasting relationships with consumers.
Designing For Endurance
While seemingly a logical concept, it’s likely we’ve all experienced the demise of product endurance replaced by planned obsolescence. Levi Strauss men’s brand Dockers is selling Wellthread, a small capsule collection that’s built to last and to be recycled. Trousers, for example, feature reinforced buttonholes and pockets.
All of this should be good news to consumers who are weary of product that just doesn’t hold up. For retailers and brands the circular economy represents a new path to customer connection and profit.
Today’s consumers are what I call ‘multi-screeners’. We view the world through the screens of our TV’s, computers, tablets and phones. In spite of the massive amount of time we spend staring into all these screens – marketers are still trying to figure out how to advertise online and on our phones. It’s safe to say they’ve not cracked the code.
Of all channels television remains the most favored means of communicating with consumers with nearly 58% of advertising dollars spent on TV. This is interesting because the definition of live TV is changing. More often than not ‘live’ TV has been recorded on a DVR and viewed at a more convenient time. This usually is accompanied by zooming past commercials in order to reduce viewing time. It’s possible TV’s reign as top advertising channel will erode rapidly over the next five years.
I’m bullish on one of the smallest and perhaps most under used non-screen mediums is outdoor mobile. By that I mean vehicles. Cars and trucks are always on the move and can be seen by thousands every day. Using vehicles to advertise your brand or product is smart. Even if your brand does not have its own fleet of vehicles.
Vehicle wraps are essentially temporary tattoo’s for cars and trucks. Outdoor mobile is a great way to stand out 24/7. Take the FedEx truck above. No words. Just an image – that speaks volumes!
I will make two predictions about vehicle wrapping:
- It’s about to explode – now about a $200 million plus business will triple in five years
- It’s about to become a fashion statement for drivers…not advertising, but patterns, ‘textures’ and graphical effects that are next to impossible to obtain with paint.
If you want to make an impression for your brand or yourself – wrap it.
My world and lifestyle keeps me arms length from fashion trends. Today that’s a very good thing.
One of the ‘top’ trends for Spring/Summer 14 is printed pants. And we’re talking men here, not for women.
Printed pants are wrong on multiple levels not the least of which is this description on how to wear printed pants taken directly from the fashion blog on Business Insider,
“Printed pants have been really popular in women’s fashion for the last few years (Alert #1), and now they’re inching into the men’s market.
Use the same rules as printed jackets and keep things minimal (Alert #2). Also make sure your pants are well-tailored so they don’t end up looking like you wore PJs to the office (Alert #3).
In my opinion printed pants for men is a three-alert problem.
Alert #1 – borrowing a trend from the women’s side of things is wrong
Alert #2 – most guys are packing a few extra pounds, so a 36″ waist pant is hardly going to appear minimal
Alert #3 – casual office dress has made it tough for most guys to know what to wear to work…giving them the option to look like they’re wearing pajamas is probably not wise
So there you have it. Any guy wearing printed pants is flirting with a three alert fashion trend…and that’s dangerous territory.
Since 1922, the Buddy Poppy has been an integral part of the VFW community. As VFW’s official memorial flower, the Poppy represents the blood shed by American service members. It reiterates that VFW will not forget their sacrifices.
The Poppy movement was inspired by Canadian Army Col. John McCrae’s famous poem, “In Flanders Fields.” Poppies were originally distributed by the Franco-American Children’s League to benefit children in the devastated areas of France and Belgium following WWI.
In 1922, VFW conducted a campaign and got Poppies from France. Members soon discovered it took too long to get the flowers in from France and they came up with a better idea. Disabled, hospitalized and aging veterans could make the paper flowers and ship them out to the members for distribution.
And so it was known, for veterans in VA hospitals and domiciliaries and in state veterans homes, every day would be VFW Buddy Poppy Day. These men and women assemble the Poppies, tie them in bunches of 10 and pack them in boxes of 500, 1,000 or 2,000 for shipment to the Posts and Ladies Auxiliaries.
VFW pays the disabled veteran for the work. In most cases, this extra money provides additional income for the worker to pay for the little luxuries, which make hospital life more tolerable.
Furthermore, Poppy assembly is often used as a therapy program to provide exercise for fingers and hands crippled by wounds, disease and the effects of old age.
Another reason Poppies are so important is because all proceeds from distribution are used for veterans welfare or for the well-being of their needy dependents and the orphans of veterans.
Ver Batum from the VFW.