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Business depends on tapping into demand. So spotting trends is a vital skill. Is ITV's Downton Abbey more of a tidal wave than a trend? What do you think?
ITV's costume drama - Downton Abbey has taken the public by storm, with 10 million regular viewers. A mix of social history, romance and class-tension.
But it's not just a viewing trend. There's real commercial money being made too.
Which got me to thinking about how we, as owners and managers of small businesses, also need to identify trends.
As you relax after Christmas lunch, just consider the commercial bonanza that Brand Downtown has become:
• Advertising rates up to £100,000 for 30 seconds
• Corsets, capes, cloche hats and cravats sales all up
• Christmas special to be screened - complete with advertising
• DVDs, books, CDs of the music
• Mugs and cushions
• Calendars, of course!
• Even the humble glass of 'stuffy' sherry is back in vogue (sales up 15%)
But the TV company needs to take care, too much exploitation can be a turn off and damage the Brand Equity. Too much advertising and people click away, as apparently 400,000 already have.
So what can we do?
Become a trend spotter! What's happening out in our marketplaces that we can develop products for?
For example - given the tough economic times we're in, people are keen to get value for money.So, maybe it's time to launch a "Basics" product into your range. Set alongside regular products it gives the customer a choice. Some will go for the lower priced option, but many will still go for the more highly featured ones at a higher price.
If you watch the Christmas episode let me know what you think.
This article first appeared in my Brand Thoughts Newsletter at www.livinginsidethebrand.com/newsletters
Photo courtesy ITV