From FMCG to VDHE: Products in a Connected World
YOUR PRODUCTS NEED TO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD IN A HYPERCONNECTED WORLD.
From the drive to be more sustainable to the rise of e-commerce and digitalisation to the "death" of retail, those living in the world of Fast Moving Consumer Goods have a lot to deal with and need to be taking a long, hard look in the mirror right now. Not only to figure out how to deal with these changes and continue to grow and be profitable but, more importantly, how to fundamentally transform and look at things differently to survive. We are living in a time when doing the same things you always did but saying you're different because it's now slightly adjusted, updated or modified is not enough. That is unless the collective agreement is to be a bunch of boiled frogs. None the less, everyone seems to continue to behave like this. Go figure. We all seem to acknowledge that radical change is taking place all around us, but for product led businesses there is a desperate need to think radically about how to change. So, if not to come up with a new marketing campaign or a rebrand or a fancy slogan for the latest colourway, slight update or retro re-do with your thumb up your bottom, then what to do? We say stop thinking FMCG, stop thinking of products as products and start thinking VDHE. Yes, another acronym, we know how much you love them, so to keep things familiar and comfortable for you we have come up with another one. The V stands for "Value". The D stands for "Delivering". You have no idea where we are going with this do you? The H stands for "Human". Still not hey? The E stands for "Experiences". VDHE - Value Delivering Human Experiences. Did I disappoint you? I know it may not sound like much and I know you all talk about experience bla bla bla all the time, but I am not talking about putting a screen up in your shop with a powerpoint on it or setting up a jumpy castle in your change rooms or giving people a free pet monkey with every toothbrush. Making the shift to being experience focused is about so much more and it is paramount to surviving in a hyper-connected world. It represents a fundamental change to the way product led businesses need to think, act, hire, strategise and operate. Let me tell you what it means and why it is so important. The hottest topics that anyone in a product led industry has to deal with right now are sustainability, commoditisation, consumer engagement and experience and how to find new ways to deliver value in a digitally driven world.
How do you source and use new, more sustainable and eco-friendly materials, discourage mass consumerism but still make money and become a positive rather than negative influence on our environment? How do you truly leverage the capabilities of digital technology and the tools available to build loyalty, trust and advocacy with consumers? What the fuck is tiktok? How do you receive and deliver value in an economy where virgin and single/low use and fast forgotten products are increasingly frowned upon and consumers value experiences over tangible things? All of this cannot be addressed by making more stuff or designing new models or doing what you have always done in a slightly different way with a different hat on.
It requires a fundamental reboot that starts by looking at what is possible outside of the realm of your, yawn, status quo. This, with an added pinch of a radical focus on technology and the humans, as people, not consumers. Yeah, I know, that's scary for any incumbent brand who has been making whatever for however many years and it requires some gutsy ( you can't say ballsy anymore) wait… did I just?… steadfast leadership to even think about it, let alone act on it. But it's necessary because to go from FMCG to VDHE you need to focus the value of your products on what they enable, not just what they are physically.
Write that one down. What we mean by this is that your products need to become the central part of your digital strategy and the exclusive gatekeeper of your brand experience. Afterall, they are your most important touch point with the consumer, the one they actually touch.
Experience is not spending a fortune on putting free videos and content on every social media channel and pretending you have a community and that a like is valuable. It is providing the people who have bought your product with something only you as a brand can provide and what better way to do that than through the product itself.
It means making your passive, digitally dumb product digital, connected and interactive both vertically and horizontally within your brand. It means making products an access point that allows people to experience your brand in a new, digital way by interacting with the product. Making it an exclusive portal to added value for your business, your fans, your partners, your sponsors and your collaborators.
It means going from siloed, where your digital focus is solely on your marketing and sales efforts with an analog product sitting deaf and dumb in the corner. Meaning the thing you actually sell to people, your core value proposition, is not actually integrated into you digital ecosystem...
To seamless, where all the dots are connected and your products is a living, breathing access point whose value shifts beyond its physical attributes to become a borderless, dynamic digital entity that enables new business models, new streams of revenue, deeper, more meaningful engagement, ROI transparency on marketing spend and more sustainable production practices. Your product becomes, THE single integrated channel, not a channel, into which all other omni-channel sales efforts funnel.
When you start to think of your product as this central and dynamic entity that gives people access to an exclusive experience that they cannot get any where else, the possibilities to add value to the physical thing by making it the key to virtual services, experiences and products truly is endless. If you can think of a way to deliver value to your consumers it can be beautifully done through your products. It adds to your uniqueness, authenticity and ability to attract consumers as a brand and it gives you a real reason to use facebook, instagram and tiktok for what they really are, advertising platforms to show off where the real community and magic is, in the product! This fundamental shift in attitude towards your products is what drives the transition from FMCG to VDHE. Looking at every product you make as an enabler and an asset that has value far beyond its initial sale drives the solutions to all those other hot topics, sustainability, commoditisation, engagement, experience and value delivery. If you transition from FMCG to VDHE with the right business model and strategy you also go a long way to becoming an SMCG, a Slow Moving Consumer Goods business. WTF mate? A what? Why? Because you will be able to make less, higher quality, longer lasting, more seldomly bought products with the benefit of having every product you ever sold being a direct line of exchange, communication and transaction to your consumers that is productive, engaging and profitable for its entire cycle of life and beyond.
You don't need to focus on just continuously selling more and more stuff, you need to deliver valuable experiences through the ones that are already out there. To the people who have already bought your product, that you know like you. So you can make and sell less things but have more identifiable, engaged and loyal consumers who spend more by providing great, exclusive, monetizable experiences and services. This, as opposed to peddling the same shit over and over every year in a different colour, has the potential to be far more profitable with a stable source of annual recurring revenue and value streams you never even imagined were possible before. In shifting to being VDHE compliant there's nothing to lose and so much to gain in this hyper-connected digital world. It is the future. All you need is your imagination and we with our partners EVRYTHNG are here to help you make it a reality every step of the way.
So jump. Here’s our email: firstname.lastname@example.org