Going Viral: A cautionary tale for consumer brands

From cronuts to fidget spinners, the rise and fall of viral products are clouded in mystique. Largely outside of a company’s control, viral products gain momentum thanks to myriad external factors, as they spread throughout social networks and…


Are digital products more likely to go viral?

From cronuts to fidget spinners, the rise and fall of viral products are clouded in mystique. Largely outside of a company’s control, viral products gain momentum thanks to myriad external factors, as they spread throughout social networks and…


Is virality always in opposition to longevity?

From cronuts to fidget spinners, the rise and fall of viral products are clouded in mystique. Largely outside of a company’s control, viral products gain momentum thanks to myriad external factors, as they spread throughout social networks and…


How much of virality is simply novelty?

From cronuts to fidget spinners, the rise and fall of viral products are clouded in mystique. Largely outside of a company’s control, viral products gain momentum thanks to myriad external factors, as they spread throughout social networks and…


Is it possible to manufacture virality?

From cronuts to fidget spinners, the rise and fall of viral products are clouded in mystique. Largely outside of a company’s control, viral products gain momentum thanks to myriad external factors, as they spread throughout social networks and…


Is there a formula for viral products?

From cronuts to fidget spinners, the rise and fall of viral products are clouded in mystique. Largely outside of a company’s control, viral products gain momentum thanks to myriad external factors, as they spread throughout social networks and…


What is the difference between popularity and virality?

From cronuts to fidget spinners, the rise and fall of viral products are clouded in mystique. Largely outside of a company’s control, viral products gain momentum thanks to myriad external factors, as they spread throughout social networks and…


Less is more: How companies are controlling supply while maximizing demand in a digital and physical world

Scarcity is a powerful psychological force. It compels consumers to change their behavior while simultaneously raising the value of products and services. However, putting locational, temporal or inventory limitations in place may seem contrarian at…


Real is Rare: Manufactured product scarcity in the diamond and luxury market

Scarcity is a powerful psychological force. It compels consumers to change their behavior while simultaneously raising the value of products and services. However, putting locational, temporal or inventory limitations in place may seem contrarian at…


Going, going, gone: How Amazon, Hamilton and Supreme are navigating the hype that stems from time-based scarcity

Scarcity is a powerful psychological force. It compels consumers to change their behavior while simultaneously raising the value of products and services. However, putting locational, temporal or inventory limitations in place may seem contrarian at…


Here and now: Netflix and Amazon pioneered instantly released and long-lasting content, but are now exploring the opposite direction

Scarcity is a powerful psychological force. It compels consumers to change their behavior while simultaneously raising the value of products and services. However, putting locational, temporal or inventory limitations in place may seem contrarian at…


Selective listening: Musicians are shifting toward distribution scarcity in a streaming-driven world, which is backfiring as pirating proliferates.

Scarcity is a powerful psychological force. It compels consumers to change their behavior while simultaneously raising the value of products and services. However, putting locational, temporal or inventory limitations in place may seem contrarian at…


Location, location, location: How brands built on geographic scarcity irreproducibility are defensible in a digital world

Scarcity is a powerful psychological force. It compels consumers to change their behavior while simultaneously raising the value of products and services. However, putting locational, temporal or inventory limitations in place may seem contrarian at…


All for one or one for all? How brands and retailers are embracing inclusivity

Though the number of brands has mushroomed since the digital boom, the vast majority of new brands are founded in coastal urban areas like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The specificity of their geography and the values and ideas that…


The boundaries of inclusivity and individuality when it comes to cult fragrance

Though the number of brands has mushroomed since the digital boom, the vast majority of new brands are founded in coastal urban areas like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The specificity of their geography and the values and ideas that…


Trading up or down: Ulta Beauty and Stitch Fix appeal to ever-growing consumer markets by giving customers a choice

Though the number of brands has mushroomed since the digital boom, the vast majority of new brands are founded in coastal urban areas like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The specificity of their geography and the values and ideas that…


The market of female empowerment: Bulletin and the Wing are growing a women’s network with different degrees of accessibility

Though the number of brands has mushroomed since the digital boom, the vast majority of new brands are founded in coastal urban areas like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The specificity of their geography and the values and ideas that…


Beyond marketing: How Bonobos, Lush, Sephora and Nike are attempting to ingrain inclusive values into their business models

Though the number of brands has mushroomed since the digital boom, the vast majority of new brands are founded in coastal urban areas like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The specificity of their geography and the values and ideas that…


The many sides to plus-size: Good American, Reformation and Dia & Co.’s attempts to reach an underserved market

Though the number of brands has mushroomed since the digital boom, the vast majority of new brands are founded in coastal urban areas like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The specificity of their geography and the values and ideas that…


Fenty Beauty versus Mattel: The difference between launching with inclusivity and adding it later

Though the number of brands has mushroomed since the digital boom, the vast majority of new brands are founded in coastal urban areas like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The specificity of their geography and the values and ideas that…


Unravelling the fallacy of the “lifestyle brand”

“Lifestyle brand” is a buzzword that has lost meaning in the consumer economy. Either imposed or self-ascribed, companies with the label use it as a justification for their ambition to become much more than a brand, but a way of life. Some are…


Disney World: How Disney used entertainment and hospitality to build an ecosystem, both online and offline

“Lifestyle brand” is a buzzword that has lost meaning in the consumer economy. Either imposed or self-ascribed, companies with the label use it as a justification for their ambition to become much more than a brand, but a way of life. Some are…


Cop & Flip: Sneakerheads and the secondary market furthered sneaker culture, using brands like Nike as a vehicle for growth

“Lifestyle brand” is a buzzword that has lost meaning in the consumer economy. Either imposed or self-ascribed, companies with the label use it as a justification for their ambition to become much more than a brand, but a way of life. Some are…


Remixed: Hip hop creates culture you can wear, from streetwear to sneakerheads

“Lifestyle brand” is a buzzword that has lost meaning in the consumer economy. Either imposed or self-ascribed, companies with the label use it as a justification for their ambition to become much more than a brand, but a way of life. Some are…


Kick, Push: Skateboarding’s missionaries and brands led with the sport’s core values, using products to develop a community and culture

“Lifestyle brand” is a buzzword that has lost meaning in the consumer economy. Either imposed or self-ascribed, companies with the label use it as a justification for their ambition to become much more than a brand, but a way of life. Some are…


Digitized: Away and Goop aim to be digital-first “lifestyle brands,” but they are still just product companies

“Lifestyle brand” is a buzzword that has lost meaning in the consumer economy. Either imposed or self-ascribed, companies with the label use it as a justification for their ambition to become much more than a brand, but a way of life. Some are…


Popped Collars: Ralph Lauren popularized an aspirational, preppy style, but falls short of representing a way of life

“Lifestyle brand” is a buzzword that has lost meaning in the consumer economy. Either imposed or self-ascribed, companies with the label use it as a justification for their ambition to become much more than a brand, but a way of life. Some are…


Culture drivers: A framework for brands that create culture

“Lifestyle brand” is a buzzword that has lost meaning in the consumer economy. Either imposed or self-ascribed, companies with the label use it as a justification for their ambition to become much more than a brand, but a way of life. Some are…


Retail as entertainment, entertainment as retail: How commerce and culture are merging in an on-demand world

With the explosion of experience-based retail, brands, retailers and real estate professionals are at a crossroads—even those that work in the music and entertainment industries. Whereas at one time, the experience itself was enough to reel in…


The Commons: Inside the brands and retailers fostering communal events to become lifestyle companies

While the music, sports and movie theater industries all have built-in events, some brands and retailers are attempting to build their own. Both Outdoor Voices and Apple have launched programs and services that aim to gather a wide breadth of…


Game-Day Retail: Inside the sports brands and venues that are providing the products and services fans already want

Today, a number of brands and retailers are entering the sports industry, disrupting long-term economic models to make it easier for fans to rep their team spirit. Rep the Squad, for example, is using a rental subscription model to provide fans…


Upgrades, Not Concessions: Inside the movie theaters rebranding their real estate and cinema experiences

Paradoxically, and despite the increasing relevance of experience-based consumerism, movie theaters are struggling in the face of the rising video streaming economy. Between 2016 and 2017, gross box office revenue declined from $11.38 billion to $11…


Vertical Touring: Inside the brands that are translating the concert and festival experience into fashion and beauty products

Today, album tours and merch are the biggest sources of income for artists, while music festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo have morphed into widely shoppable events where brands and retailers come to showcase their most experience-driven retail.…


Liveable Brands: Inside the companies that are entering the hospitality industry

Though many brands boast to be “lifestyle brands,” few are accomplishing the feat as successfully as the those taking on the hospitality industry. With their strong brand identities, West Elm, a furniture and home goods brand, and Equinox, a luxury…


Captive Retail: Inside the cruises and theme parks that are evolving retail to drive sales

As both destinations and experiences, Disney’s theme parks and cruise companies such as Starboard Cruise Services are focusing on experience-oriented retail. These companies often utilize radio-frequency identification (RFID) wristbands, which house…


Baggage Claim: Inside the airports and private aviation companies making air travel a shoppable and personalized event

Airports boast some of the most high density foot traffic each day—in 2017, an average of 213,668 flyers passed through London Heathrow each day, totalling 78 million over the course of the year. As mall foot traffic decreases, brands and retailers…


In Transit(ion): Inside the consumer brands that are capitalizing on the travel industry

As the experience economy grows—the travel and tourism industry now comprises one-tenth of global GDP—brands that sell travel-specific products are re-orienting themselves to be more than just consumer goods vendors. Whether a brand is building a…


Points of Departure: How brands, retailers and real estate developers are meeting customers on the go

The expansion of the experience economy has created a world in which shoppers are more interested in spending money on travel, events and other experiences than physical products. Social media is one of the main drivers amplifying this shift. But…


The Live Video Report

Social media is an increasingly important channel for brands and retailers to nurture customer relations and attract a broader consumer base, particularly as mobile devices flourish. The ascent of social media has also catalyzed the expansion of…


The Off-Price Epidemic

While off-price stores like TJ Maxx and Burlington have existed for decades, the 2008 recession—the biggest since the dot-com boom—incited retailers to turn more heavily to the off-price business model. At the time, consumers across all…


The Exclusive Product and Collab Report

In today’s competitive retail landscape, selling the same products as everyone else—and especially Amazon—puts brands and retailers on the path to self-commoditization: the race to the bottom on price that is bankrupting some companies and seriously…


The Full Price Report

Discount-heavy pricing strategies create long-term cycles of dependence that lead to promotion-addicted shoppers and lowered profit-margins—companies end up repeatedly undercutting themselves. Brands and retailers, therefore, are looking for ways to…


The Sales Associate and Stylist Report

Retailers are hurting, especially as shoppers buy more products online. But the sales associate role in this quandary receives less attention. As working in retail has developed from a career to a gig economy job, brands, retailers and customers are…


2017 Year in Review: 8 Fundamental Shifts Reshaping the Consumer Economy

2017 was yet another transformative year for the consumer economy. There were a range of new developments and trends from the last few years that continued accelerating. What follows is a recap of 2017, along with some predictions and…


The Gifting and Holiday Shopping Report

Although gift-giving is a global tradition that has been around for centuries, the practice has changed drastically since the 1800s—from a meaningful exchange of valuable goods to a commercially-driven social obligation centered around popular…


The Wholesale Evolution Report

In the traditional wholesale relationship, brands sell their products to retailers, giving brands access to captive audiences they don’t need to build on their own. This allows brands to focus on designing and producing high-quality products, while…


The Retail Revolution Report

What does physical retail look like in a world where tens of millions of products are readily available on the Internet? It no longer needs to be the only place where shoppers find, buy and receive products. This should free up companies to…


The Plus Size Opportunity

There’s a significant divide in the apparel industry between the sizes available in stores and the sizes women wear—a divide that’s becoming increasingly important as retailers seek to differentiate themselves from fast fashion and Amazon. Over…


The Customer Acquisition Report

Paid digital customer acquisition is the biggest marketing channel for many consumer goods companies in today’s hyper-competitive landscape. Proactively finding shoppers and converting them into customers is an increasingly familiar activity. While…


The Private Label Report

In the 19th century, merchants in the mail-order and wholesale business introduced their own private-label products. The goal was to provide valuable and cheaper alternatives to premium-priced national brands, who significantly marked up their…