Friday, 19 September 2008

Why I love John Lewis

When I was at Circus, the brand consultancy, I was lucky enough to work on the John Lewis account. John Lewis doesn't need much help from the likes of us branding folk, it intuitively understands its customers, even in the absence of a marketing department (only recently installed) and the brand is deservedly thriving. 

Anyway, a friend of friend (the stunningly beautiful Nielem, with the interesting job of managing Robbie Williams' website) recently popped into John Lewis on Oxford Street to enquire about knitting classes. The lady behind the counter apologised and said they weren't running any at the moment because it wasn't the right season (when is knitting season I wonder?), but offered to teach Nielem how to knit herself, there and then. An hour later, they're still there, pearling away.

How absolutely lovely is that? A sales assistant that goes beyond the call of duty to help a customer. There are very few brands I can imagine doing that, let alone creating a brand experience that is so genuine and interpersonal. 

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Why classics are more important than ever

I wrote an article about what makes a classic recently, Hermes Cape Cod pictured being a future one I reckon. I spoke to Alfie Tong about this, the brand consultant you may have spotted in the Guardian last Saturday talking about how stylish he thinks is! (He is actually one of the most stylish people I know). The Italians, he said, have a wonderful word for classic style - spezzatura, which roughly means to work at performing an action with the outward appearance of effortless grace. It's why Italians wear blue suits with brown shoes and shoes with no socks - contrived effortless. This makes me think of Kate Moss and sums up what style today is all about.

Another insight I discovered was that classics are becoming more popular again because they represent assurance. David Wolfe at retail consultancy Doneger Group, has said, 'People are scared about social security, the environment, the geopolitical situation. We are looking for security. Classics give people the sense of assurance they're looking for.'

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Beauty fantasy

I've been writing about the Future of the beauty industry and this is my latest and favourite discovery.  Lancome's Destiny Cube, a curious make-up palette with hidden compartments, was inspired by an 18th century Chinese secret box the brand's creative director Gucci Westman, received as a present. Toss the cube as you would a dice, and the idea is to let its mystical symbols and words determine your mood for the day. 

Sadly, the Destiny Cube was limited edition and released last year but it is very much ahead of it's time, tapping into the Fantasy Age trend I am thinking and writing about at the moment.