Can Artisanal, Local, & Hand Crafted can work with what you're selling? These consumer product trends are serious economic drivers for brands and startups; they're also spoofed often and with hilarity. Can they apply to anything?
Bespoke. Artisanal. Hand crafted.
When these themes are used authentically to define products and services built around them, they succeed. They define a mission and an authenticity. They represent quality. Except when they don’t.
Even if your product or service didn’t hatch with this nomenclature in mind, can it be added now? What better way to evolve and meet the wants of your customer? But do it carefully and appropriately. Or they’ll see right through it.
1. Make sure it compliments your brand.
Non traditional combinations can be magic: dark chocolate and chili pepper. Or they can be mayhem: Dark chocolate and salmon. Is Bespoke Chicken Casserole going to churn out orders? Or giggles from your regular customers?
When Dairy Queen added an artisan-style sandwich to their menu, customers were crystal clear that this is to artisan sandwiches what Cheetos are to aged Vermont cheddar. It's clearly convenience food, improved and repackaged to be a notch above. It doesn't over-promise.
3. Don’t wear it from head to toe.
If you makeover your entire line of products to reflect this trend it could seem like you’re trying too hard. Your brand’s mission can have elements of tradition and careful attention to detail even if every product you have doesn’t carry the label.
Evolving into meeting the wants of customers requires a few tiny steps at a time, with re-evaluation along the way. It's a logical approach to any product line development, but especially one that is so routinely and easily lampooned as inauthentic.
Häagen-Dazs® introduced a new line of artisanal flavors last year. They displayed side by side with the classic versions so consumers could be compelled to try by their own choice and comfort, knowing the original is still right there. The brand also made clear that this is not just a new label. They told a story of collaboration with artisans to create the new recipes and processes. Even though this brand was not born from this hand made start up generation, it successfully scooted into it without a 180 degree turn.
2. Be true.
Do you serve locally sourced produce? That’s awesome. Which farm is it from? Is it organic? What do you do when it’s out of season?
These questions may seem like lines from the script of Portlandia, but these are questions that real customers may ask and your staff must be equipped to answer. If you’re using locally-sourced and artisanal as a way of attracting a specific customer, know that if you cannot deliver on it authentically you have lost them forever. And you've likely lost their friends, too.
In reality, this trend speaks to our penchant for quality and meaning behind what we buy. Even in the shadows of a recession, paying a higher price for intangibles is still gaining ground. It also speaks to the profound influence the largest generation--Gen Y--has on the others. We kind of like what they like, even if we don’t always like to admit it.
Written by Parissa Snider
We're a marketing team launched in 2013 and based in Baltimore working with clients across the U.S. and beyond. We solve problems, leverage budgets, create content, launch products, generate leads, and help grow businesses.