The Mega-Trend of Personally Defined Brand Experiences

The first brand I worked with coming out of college, 40 years ago was a baking products brand

And while convenience baking mixes were included in the brand family, the primary products of flour and corn meal made up the vast share of sales.

Personally, I cook more meals at home now than I did pre-Pandemic. I have one full cupboard next to the range filled with spices, herbs and flavorings. In fact, there are five different variations of curry and a half dozen different varieties of olive oil.

However, there are very few cookbooks and those on the shelf have remained on the shelf for the past year.

As more and more folks have left the confines of Pandemic home-containment, I have interacted with more and more folks engaged in retail shopping.

What I have observed is startling. At first I wasn’t sure if might be just a neighborhood thing… but its not!

More folks are moving to the bakery aisle and diary and fresh produce departments and fewer folks are found in the frozen food aisle.

An article in last weekend’s New York Times, “Home Baking is Giving Rise to Health and Wellness Trends” confirmed what I sensed.

While the health and wellness perspective was interesting, what fascinated me more was the degree that individuals are doing home baking with customized and personally re-adapted variations of standard recipes.

As the article shared, “The trend of home baking which gained popularity during the Pandemic, is growing with sustained, expanded sales of primary, core baking products, proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables. This trend is expected to increase through 2025.”

The author went on to cite that the trend was being fueled by both Millennials and Boomers.

Not sure how many readers watch The Food Network. If you don’t, some evening when you are bored, take a moment and catch a couple of shows. Observe how much of what is cooked is personalized and customized and how much follows through a recipe.

This blog is not about customized cooking trends.

There is a much larger trend that is rattling the seismometers.

A couple of months ago, I published a blog about Millennials and how they are driven to co-author their brand experiences.

Millennials are not the only group engaging in co-authorship and what’s driving the trend is broader in scope than just a desire of co-authorship.

In the last few days, the CDC, Washington, Wall Street, State Capitols and City Halls issued variations of COVID-related mandates in terms of masks, Vaccinations and safe distancing.

Not only is Washington conflicting with Wall Street, but what is mandated in one city is different from its next door neighbor which is different from the School Board which is different from the Governor which is different from what is found reported in the media headlines.

The lack of clarity regarding COVID is only part of the drive away from sources of defined facts and truth.

There is limited consistency in political parties … each have their own factions and conflicting viewpoints.

Google nearly any topic, opinion, factor of guidance and counsel and you will find a variety of perspectives and viewpoints.

Convergence and resolution are seldom found while conflict and divisive variation of perspective and viewpoint are now common news.

The public marketplace is past “taking sides.”

The public marketplace is now at a point of tuning-out any defined solutions and instead, is now individually authoring, creating and defining personal templates … personal recipes … and personal engineered models of life experiences.

Programming, templates, recipes, formulas, pre-packaged and defined experiential brands are out.

Brands that facilitate personally crafted brand experiences are in.

Brands that recognize personal formulation and creation of one’s own brand experience encourage engagement and interaction.

Brands that are simplistic, uncomplicated and direct will fill the role of the “building blocks.”

Brands that come in with self-declared, defined experiences and predictable, guaranteed results are committing suicide.

The Real Estate and House & Home marketplace is radically changing.

HGTV has a host of new shows that will be coming on-air and online over the next several weeks. All of the shows are anchored around personalizing and customizing space.

Few homes are in standardized subdivisions and many of the homes featured are in nonconventional, unique small towns, rural landscapes and urban centers going through a phase of renewal.

The workplace is radically changing.

Offices are radically changing and work-from-home is evolving. The standard hourly work schedules are no longer standardized. MBA management models of the past are no longer effective templates.

Business organizations and community groups are finding that generating a sense of “Entrepreneurial” spirit among staff is way more effective.

Retirement just might go by the wayside of describing one’s work stage as more individuals seek involvement and employers re-adapt employment just to fill staffing needs.

Schooling kids is radically changing.

Watch in the next year as conventional courses give way to customized cross-templates of in-person, online and at-home schooling all combined together.

There are some Educational think-tanks predicting that conventional grade levels — grades 1–12 — are going to be history soon!

And just as I shared at the beginning of this blog post, pre-pared meals might be convenient and used on occasion, but brands only providing the expected and defined will not experience high expansion and growth.

There is a lot… a whole lot… of opportunity in the years ahead.

But the models of certainty and predictability … those recipes and formulas of market success … need to be pushed aside.

The consumer marketplace is venturing out and doing it right before our eyes.

CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.