Most people in sales or marketing would know of the classic “4 P’s” – which of course are product, price, promotion and place. To aim for success in each quadrant of this mix has become a no-brainer and as the internet has increased information flow – more people all over the world have managed to wrap their heads around this concept to improve the way they bring things to market.
What you will find if you research a little bit about the number of brands and products available to consumers since the dawn of internet e-commerce is that – obviously – there are WAY more brands and products than there were 20 years ago, causing a proliferation of the market and often disrupting categories where large corporates or unionized organizations previously were able to hold on to monopolies. This stage of the global market cycle has increased competitiveness and given the market a greater say over what must sink and what can be allowed to float and has in many cases put the power back into the hands of consumers to choose with their hearts and vote with their wallets.
At this juncture it’s important to note what really matters to consumers in 2019. Global insights tell us that people are more aware of the impact the products they buy have on the environment and that these days we’re more likely to support smaller brands closer to home than international conglomerates who pull their profits out of our local economies for application elsewhere. Consumers also live in the age of Pinterest and Instagram and have more design knowledge and know-how than ever before – meaning that there are way more consumers out there who are legitimately critical of the aesthetics and exhibition of goods and services. Lastly we’ve become aware of a move away from purely pretty or visually pleasing products to articles than can be somehow functional and yet still just as beautiful – because especially our youngest generations are questioning intensely “what is, in fact, worth owning?”. So in fact, there are multiple dimensions within each of the 4 P’s and these are some that relate to the P of Product.
Considering this, we’ve adopted 3 P’s within product design that we stick to and that we’ve brought into the mix with Upstream Baby’s products specifically. We’re no gurus, but ultimately the world will be a better place when people and brands share their experiences and insights – it makes all of us better and creates progress.
PRETTY: Products have to be inherently beautifully made and beautifully exhibited – compared to what is available globally as consumers have nearly unlimited choice and can bring to them that which they desire with very few barriers remaining. Good design is no longer optional – and consumers are aware that many brands are simply drop-shipping and reprinting Made In China goods. While there is a market for this – it highlights some of the lucrative trappings of the fast fashion business even close to home.
PRACTICAL: Creating pretty things that aren’t functional or are impractical will be the death of any brand on any scene. We believe we create value when we innovate something that works better than what came before and is still a glory to behold. You must accomplish both! Babies are especially sensitive beings and with a lot of developmental stages and milestones to keep in mind, parents are often better off buying something designed and developed by either a parent or a paediatrician.
POSITIVE: Many attributes here need addressing. Products must be environmentally positive, because taking responsibility is what ethical producers do. Yes, this might mean less profit in the short-medium term for us and other similar brands – but the long-term payoff for our kids and even our older selves is what we’re after. Positive also in terms of the message you put out there. In our category, moms and dads don’t need to be reminded how difficult it is to dress, feed, raise and connect with their children. We hope we can bring encouragement to the table, uplift and enable – instead of focusing our messaging around where people might be deficient or struggling (because the struggle – fellow parents – is indeed REAL). It also matters these days to be humanity-first and to focus on creating sustainability and ethics in production. Especially in South Africa with a very high unemployment rate we have such major opportunities to uplift and upskill. We see many brands doing a fantastic job at this in their communities and we too have big dreams and an ambitious vision to leave a legacy impact imprinted on our national.
We’d love to thank you for caring enough to read this and to #GOupstream with us. If you enjoyed this honest article and the kind of thinking it embraces, please share it. Stay tuned for the next one and feel free to comment below if this article resonated with you!