~/ Status Stories are the NEW Status Symbol/~ (FINAL BLOG L@@K)

This post is aimed to probe these questions: What is the future of product marketing and design that maximizes desirability of a product? If you want to keep your marketing and design (a.k.a. M/D) schemes one step ahead of the competition and really STAND OUT from the crowd in order to really make a lot of profit, what will you do to be more clever than the competition?

According to the newest study by TrendWatching.com (http://www.trendwatching.com/trends/statusstories.htm) “Brands have been telling their stories for decades now. Typically, in a mass-advertising, mass-branding world, the ‘telling’ has involved reaching (and impressing) as many consumers as possible. Those who literally bought into these storied brands then gained the respect and admiration of other brand-exposed consumers.”

Let’s look at the successful M/D tactics in the past. Ponder this example, also from the TrendWatching piece: “if you’re Jaguar, and your (expensive) story is about old money with a dollop of English eccentricity and the whole world is aware of this, then consumers craving recognition from anyone impressed with this kind of lifestyle only need to buy one of your cars to bask in the glow of their peers’ admiration.”

In other words, products such as the Jaguar have been marketed as STATUS SYMBOLS. Experts are predicting that this trend will soon be competing with STATUS STORY M/D. What that means is that M/D teams will begin to make their products desirable by having customers tell their desirable STATUS STORIES. What is a status story?

According to the TrendWatching report: “STATUS STORIES are an answer to some of the major shifts and trends taking place in the consumption arena, from uniqueness, to visibility, to ‘alternative status sources’:” In other words, STATUS STORY is the new STATUS SYMBOL. A product has a good STATUS STORY rating if it is a product that is worth telling a story about to others or if the product itself tells a story for you. Take these ideas for example:

Hubwear sells t-shirts that display a wearer’s favorite travel routes in airport codes (think JFK, AMS, MIA, HKG and so on). All shirts, as Hubwear likes to point out, tell a story: from amazing sabbaticals to crazy work trips to earth-saving internships.”

DNA 11 creates personalized art from DNA and fingerprints. For DNA art, a simple method of non-invasive collection includes a mouth swab. The company then harvests a sample of the client’s DNA to capture their genetic fingerprint and transforms it into an artistic representation of a person’s life code.”

“Swiss Netgranny is a collective of 15 grannies recruited by Swiss fashion label Tarzan. The grannies knit socks on demand and sell them online.”

As you might be able to discern from these example, personalization and uniqueness will be HUGE factors in product design in the future. This idea is even reflected in website design of one of the hippest, most “forward thinking” company right now, MTV. Check out MTV.com and notice the constantly revolving background art.

The bottom line is that the future holds for us a world where the STATUS worth of a product is no longer simply reliant upon the price paid for it. It is about how cool of a story you can tell about this product. Now more than ever it is easier and more effective for customers to tell their status stories to millions of people via the internet. Could companies profit simply by facilitating this process?

Some questions I’d like you all to answer:

Do you buy in to this idea? Do you see it happening in the world and is it prominent? Do you see any logical faults in the idea or the ideas presented in the TrendWatching.com article?

Can describe a scenario in which a currently popular product could potentially be more popular by implementing this philosophy? For example: what if the Ipod allowed you to karaoke directly on to it and then automatically upload it to the net in order to tell an “Ipod story”?

Thanks for taking the time to consider my post!


2 Responses to “~/ Status Stories are the NEW Status Symbol/~ (FINAL BLOG L@@K)”

  1. Shirley Says:

    Personally I think the idea is something people could grab on to. All the study abroad nerds can safely bring up their stories without being incredibly annoying anymore! It is almost as if, by wearing these shirts, you are saying ‘I have a really awesome story but, you know, it’s cool, I’ll tell it on your time,’ allowing the listener to choose if they want to talk about it or not. It’s still all about status, it’s just a different way to express it, which isn’t at it’s essence a bad thing.

    However, as for people actually adopting it? I suppose it could happen. With the saturation of the uber rich basically controlling what people wear, it can be a way to rebel: I can’t afford your form of status, so I’m going to make my own. The fascination with the rich has turned from normal to almost obscene, the act of following their trends of super expensive, designer clothes could soon become something repulsive, and a desire to decide for oneself, rather than allowing these people to decide for us, may come out on top. That would be a breath of fresh air.

    The idea of status stories, though creative, follows the same pattern as every other trend, rising out of need. However, the fact that they are so customizable that you have to go through a number of steps to by it, compounded with the fact that many people desire the instant gratification of getting a new shirt right then, right now, leads me to believe it will only be popular, at least at first, with a select few people, the people who already buy shirts online and probably already have their sense of exclusivity anyway.
    Then, once these shirts DO become popular (the status story shirts), the people who started wearing them first will think they are no longer “cool” and move on. It’s cyclical, but that’s fashion for you.

    Not to sound like such a downer…I think all of the ideas are actually really great, creative, and unique, and I personally really like them. Time will tell, I suppose.

  2. Nick Says:

    Thanks for your feedback Shirley! I do think some of these status story products will appeal to the middle class, such as the airport hub t-shirts. However, some of these status story products are being designed to appeal to the wealthy. I don’t think that wealthy people are any less susceptible to the “individuality bug” than the less affluent. For instance, yesterday I saw a very expensive car, and where usually the car’s model name is written in metal lettering, the person had his own name written in metal lettering. I agree, our society has a growing fascination with the rich, and our celebrities. What is it that we love about these people? I think the status story trend aims to help people feel that they are “special”, take for instance the art created by sampling an individual’s DNA. Like the article said, its not longer about keeping up with the Jones, there is an element of cleverness that goes in to these new, trendy designs.

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