Group42, a design + marketing collective dedicated
to redefining the boundaries of the modern kitchen.
Group42 specializes in training, organizational development,
and coaching services that are tailored to your business, your challenges, and your people.
work is grounded in real business issues to produce tangible, bottom line outcomes. We use the context of your business to
develop the strategies and behaviors necessary for success in today's market driven climate.
Group42 is lead by industry
leader, designer, writer and speaker, Kevin Henry. A “thought-leaders” to the luxury kitchen industry,
Kevin's veiws and observations regarding market trends and direction has been sought after by leading manufacturers,
designers and media leaders for over 25 years. His blog, The Essential Kitchen (www.theessentialkitchen.blogspot.com),
is followed world-wide by consumers as well as industry and media leaders. Kevin is invited to speak internationally on a wide range of topics, including luxury branding, sustainable kitchen
design and market trends. Mr Henry has been behind the
success of such iconic brands as SnaideroUSA, Poliform/VarennaUSA, KüppersbuschUSA, ALNO USA as well as his own brand
Bazzèo, Earth Friendly Kitchens.
For the first time in the history
of mankind there has been a fundamental change in our core nature, we are no longer driven by basic survival needs such as
food, shelter, and sex, but in the last few decades there has been a change from need to desire. I don’t
just need a car, I want a Mercedes. My children don’t just need an education; they need to go to Hillsdale Academy.
I don’t need a home…I want the right zip code. This collective evolution affects everything
from tennis shoes to kitchen cabinets. So what is this Cultural Revolution that has the power to get us up and out of bed in the morning, to the power
of topple governments and overturn centuries of tradition. The need to “survive” has been replaced
by the need to “have”. The survival of the “fittest” has been replaced by “I
am what I own”. As Tiffany has shown us…We live in a time where the package can be more important
than the contents. There
was a time in the not to distant past when we were categorized by our accents, education, class, pigmentation, nationality,
religion or heritage, now replaced by our product choice. Aspirational or Affluent, we are now “judged
by the companies we keep” or wear or drive or shop. Brand allegiance has become almost tribal, letting others around us know who we are and where we fit in the food
chain. In other words we have become a “brotherhood of brands”.
WHAT IS A BRAND
Great brands have great
promise and a great promise is made up of value, service, substance, history and an objective for the future. A brand is made
up of many parts and sometimes many products, it can have local recognition or be spread-out over six continents, and it is
the brand that binds it all together. A good brand is perceived and recognized in Berlin as it is
in Los Angeles. It is as readily accepted in London as it is in Hong Kong or Mexico City.
The brand supersedes the product. The value of the brand is that it provides credibility, history, continuity and trust in an ever-changing world.
A brand pre-qualifies your client as to the position and value of the products
brand protects the sale.
can be copied, but never the brand.
But branding is more than just
putting a logo on a product. The brand is more than a badge or emblem; it is our promise to the consumer
of quality and value. Branding must be constantly managed, maintained and cultivated.
Just like a garden it must be watered, weeded, pruned and feed. Add just the right amount of exposure
to keep it fresh and vibrant,
much or to little, it will lose its bloom, welt and die. A brand must be maintained internally and promoted
and embraced externally.
to a recent consumer study, brand outweighs price in a high-end purchase decision. The 3 reasons most given are:
Confidence: The ability to buy something with out risk
Convenience: The ability to buy without thinking.
Image: The brand makes a personal statement about the consumer.
The Influence of BrandToday out of our $10 trillion economy, $6 trillion is consumer spending. About 40% of that is spending on discretionary
products and consumers today spend less on basic necessities, such as food, clothing and shelter, than they did fifty years
ago. But they spend more and more money on discretionary purchases that are motivated by emotion and desire," In other
words “They are buying things they want, not what they need”. A successful brand must speak to the consumer on
an emotional level.As more products enter the market place and more information is
needed to make an educated decision, brands will become more important in the decision making process.
Consumers will pay higher prices for a brand as they eliminate risk and expedite action.
Brand recognition helps to identify products
faster and increases the convenience factor in meeting consumer needs.
Brand as a personal image enhancer. You are
what you buy.
The Brand as Justifier
At the core of affluent marketing is “Justification”.
Justification such as pleasure, safety and self-fulfillment are the underlying motivation of affluent purchasing. These justifiers
are used as rational excuses to give ones-self permission to buy. The overriding justifier behind all-discretionary spending
is to improve the quality of life. The affluent consumer wants a better, more satisfying, fulfilling life and they buy things
to fulfill that need. Branding is the driving point, as this group believes that traditional indicators of luxury are most
important. To our target consumer, products must be sold through a trusted name, be made well and be prestigious
as well as exclusive.
So what is the new luxury? It’s still about
lifestyle. But it is not about owning, it’s more about living. If stress and anxiety
are the by products of the modern world, then nothing is more coveted than relaxation and contentment.So what does this mean for us, in the luxury kitchen market? First we have to understand that
our consumer has evolved. What he wants out of the purchase has changed. We have gone
from “keeping up with the Jones” to “does this purchase make me feel good”. Today’s luxury consumer offers no
apology for their desires; they’re entitled to it. They have earned it. They work
hard for it. They deserve it, and they have nothing to be ashamed of. So what is the luxury consumer looking for? They
are looking for something that is uniquely them, something that no one else has or can have. They believe
that luxury is something that isn’t too available or too accessible. It isn’t too common or
to widespread. If the hallmarks of luxury in the past were loud and excessive, then today it is subtle and refined.
Luxury can be found in the details. Luxury has gone from “ubiquity” to “exclusivity”, from something very public to something
very private. What others may think doesn’t matter as much as “What do I think”. When we talk about luxury, it’s important
to talk about the intangible aspects of luxury. We must address happiness and comfort, taste and beauty,
exclusivity and uniqueness. The purchase must be viewed as a reward for hard work, a symbol of accomplishment. In closing, luxury has become a private
matter and it is open to individual interpretation. It’s not found, flaunted, or touted everywhere;
it’s not aimed at the masses. It’s about the pleasure of owning an original. It’s
about exclusivity. And ultimately, it’s about self-expression.