The New Trickle-Down Bubble-Up Dynamics of Express
Interview with Andrea Baldo, CEO of GANNI
In a pre-social media market landscape consumer behavior was traditionally guided by status in the form of luxury goods. But today, as social media has emerged as the main channel for self-expression, it has disrupted the way people express themselves, creating a totally different set of customers who use brands as codes for particular values.
Status is now built through authenticity and goes beyond what you wear and what you own. It’s more about the experiences you have, the restaurants you visit and the destinations you travel to. Social media has triggered a new competitive clash between products and experiences.
Trends usually start at the top and trickle down from the happy few to the mainstream, beginning with tastemakers and opinion formers who create the initial “boom” to the early adopters who propagate the trend. But social media and brand/consumer co-creation have shifted that dynamic, which could be described as trickle-down bubble-up: It starts with a set of followers who are interested in what you say, which nurtures growth. As you turn social media into your communication platform and followers into peer-to-peer ambassadors, products start to develop in co-creation with them as they increasingly feedback their wants and needs.
Status is now built through authenticity and goes beyond what you wear and what you own.
Glossier for example, did the opposite to most beauty brands, who usually start with products. Glossier started off with content, building a strong community around beauty via the “Into the Gloss” blog and then found a way to monetize by creating products that aligned with their narrative. This along with a platform that encouraged peer-to-peer communication and repeat purchases. If you can do this in an authentic and scalable way, working closely with the network and community you nurture, you have a company valued at over a billion-dollars in less than 5 years – powered by social media.
The biggest disruption is the fact that new brands are now tapping into values and their collective or community to drive their narrative. Instead of working top down, they work bottom up leading with content, values and narrative instead of product. You still need to create a sense of aspiration and have tastemakers but co-creating with consumers and being a community comes first.
That’s why brands must emphasize this aspect and identify the “close-knitted friends” of the brand, those who authentically connect with what creativity and innovation stands for. This could be photographers, creatives, agencies or influencers: They are the curators, who can also act as tastemakers.
The biggest disruption is the fact that new brands are now tapping into values and their collective or community to drive their narrative.
With GANNI, we identify these changing consumer shifts but we have never been a trend-driven brand, community and authenticity have been core pillars since day one. Take Pernille Teisbæk for example, a real friend of the GANNI founders and the brand. She connects the brand to everything relevant happening in the fashion world but also supports and advocates for the brand in an honest way. She is one of our “close-knit friends”, those who tend to co-create or influence a new product. By nurturing these relationships, your narrative continues to evolve naturally and the more friends you add, the more relevant you become.
Another major shift in the market and in consumer behavior is the gravitation towards more responsible brands. It’s in the GANNI DNA to be responsible so investing in circular business models is a natural step for us. Our goal is to add re-commerce to our business because it enables us to create value from the entire lifecycle of a product and extend our relationship with the GANNI community by keeping the consumer engaged with the brand through different ways of consumption and therefore increasing its lifetime value. A multichannel distribution approach can reduce customer acquisition costs because you are not just targeting customers who are buying new directly from you. If we can acquire new customers cheaply and retain them longer while simultaneously capturing more value from a single product, then circular business models will become also financially viable.
We need to keep analyzing customers’ behaviours and figure out how to be a responsible brand today so we can create responsible solutions for the future. We should work on maximizing the positive impact, not just the profitability.
Our goal is to add re-commerce to our business because it enables us to create value from the entire lifecycle of a product.
We need to keep analyzing customers’ behaviours and figure out how to be a responsible brand today so we can create responsible solutions for the future.
Object of desire:
For me, it’s time. The fear of missing out and the fear that you are not ahead of the game is the reason you need more time. This especially happens when you are fully immersed in driving performance in terms of career etc. We should all have more time to think, to make the right choices, time for yourself and your loved one. A time keeper has proven to be a super useful tool.