If you’re a consumer who stays on top of retail trends, you’ve likely come across a line of products whose presentation might, to some, seem stark and even boring. As the name of the company suggests, the Brandless products are packaged and sold simply for what they are. Hungry for a bag of vegetable chips? Brandless offers a bag of “vegetable chips.” Looking for hand cream to help smooth out dry skin? Brandless has a “hand cream.” Further, every Brandless product costs $3, no matter if it’s coffee or toilet bowl cleanser.
Brandless is a powerful illustration of a company that’s using a variety of anticipatory organization strategies—a useful example that shows how leveraging both predictable Hard Trends as well as cycles can lead to innovation and success with much lower risk.
Brandless incorporates a number of principles of my Anticipatory Organization Model that can offer significant results and competitive advantages. One is what I refer to as the Law of Opposites. Instead of pricing like all other retailers with every item having a different price, Brandless decided to do the opposite and dramatically simplify shopping by having one flat fee for every item in its product line. That’s a good example of retail innovation in an era where redefining the customer experience is an imperative if you want to stand out from everyone else and accelerate growth.
Brandless is also taking advantage of another core component of an anticipatory organization, namely, the Hard Trend that demographics represent. At one end of the spectrum are baby boomers who want to make the most of ever-increasing life expectancy. And, to enjoy those years as much as possible, they’re focused on putting healthy, organic products in and on themselves—the sort of organic items that fill Brandless’ shelves.
Then there are the millennials, a group who spends more than $65 billion each year and influences upward of $1 trillion in total consumer spending, according to a recently released study. At the risk of painting a significant segment of the population in one broad stroke, millennials aren’t always keen on doing the same things and buying the same products that prior generations did. While the lure of organics cuts across generations, millennials are likely less attached to those brand names that their parents and grandparents happily bought year after year. Hence, the lure of the “brandless” packaging and message.
Brandless is also taking advantage of the predictability of cycles—the fact that millennials are behaving pretty much the same way that every generation in history has behaved by ignoring prior generations tastes and buying preferences.
Automobiles are a prime example. People of a certain age are attached to sleek, stylish lines in automobiles. Not so with younger buyers. Just take a look at the number of squared off, boxy cars that are filling the roadways. Once again, a new generation of buyers simply doesn’t want to replicate what prior generations embraced.
That’s an established, cyclical pattern. And, as the Brandless model shows, recognition and application of the leverage that cycles afford can translate into enormous opportunities.
Brandless and other companies like it demonstrate that, in an era characterized by rapid change, it’s also valuable to watch those cycles and trends that have a history of repeating. Just as one-way, linear/exponential change provides opportunities, so, too, can cycles that have occurred in the past and will continue to do so into the future.
Ready to see the future and plan with greater confidence? Have a look at the Anticipatory Organization Learning System at www.AnticipatoryOrganization.com/
Also, consider purchasing my new book, The Anticipatory Organization, which has already reached #1 on Amazon Hot New Books. Daniel Burrus would like to give you a copy at www.TheAOBook.com/