People are changing their status quo preference of keeping up with the Joneses to wanting to be unique, largely because now we can – the emergence of the knowledge economy and mass customization are enabling a shift to individualized, one-of-a-kind products and services. Thus, as national brands are increasingly unable to tell a one-size-fits-all story to the masses, it is then up to the customer to tell those stories to sell that brand – think Mini Cooper.
Trendwatching.com calls these personal accounts status stories. Their official definition: “As more brands go niche and therefore tell stories that aren’t known to the masses, and as experiences expenditures take over from physical (and more visible) status symbols, consumers will increasingly have to tell each other stories to achieve a status dividend from their purchases. Expect a shift from brands telling a story, to brands helping consumers tell status-yielding stories to other consumers.”
Now, understanding that this CoolTown website and its implementation arm, CoolTown Beta Communities are all about crowdsourcing cool places for creatives, this model can also be explained as a mass collaboration of status stories for a product/service that doesn’t exist, but should. Instead, these stories are used to build a brand or identity, which is then manifested via the building of a physical place and loyal following that authentically represents it.
Image source: Le Poulbot cafe, Montmarte, Paris by eklectic.