August 03, 2010
The value of products that tell stories
I read about an initiative on future thinking that got me doing the same thing. It was a trial where a selection of donations to a charity shop would be RFID-tagged and given a QR code to enable the prospective buyer to use their own smart phone (or a bespoke RFID reader) to learn a little more about the item’s history, supplied by the donor.
Nice idea (if a little gimmicky) and easy to see how it works for antiques or collectables, but could it be applied more widely in retail? It’s easy to think ‘No’, as once you get into mass production surely any uniqueness is lost, but think back to the individually-named Cabbage Patch Kids; they managed a version of this in the 1980s, so what’s to stop a brand like Steiff creating unique stories for some of their teddy bears?
Pass The Baton in Tokyo offers a similar service. Customers selling articles to the second-hand shop are positioned as ‘exhibitors’ with the option of their biog and photo attached to their item. For the next buyer it’s as far removed from corporate interference as you can get and attaches increased personal value to the product. Budweiser managed something clever with a beer bottle’s ‘Born’ date being added to the label; differentiation and a reinforcement of how fresh its beer was.
It’s like an extension of experiential marketing; a further level that can be offered to authenticity-seeking consumers and another opportunity to apply a premium to a product’s price or claim a value-differentiator against a competitor.
Cliff Walton, Planning Director