Tuesday, January 22, 2008

So The Experts Say

The pendulum has swung and a new time has arrived. This time will be officially in full swing by January 1, 2009.
  • For the first time ever Starbucks' customer traffic is down
  • the markets continue to be volatile due to consumer unrest in the United States, which means the world, and don't kid yourself that anyone is insulated from Uncle Sam.
  • Wal-Mart is a force to be reckoned with in every small town and community it enters
The world is swinging to a more transactional personality and that means that as people we will have to have vision, which unfortunately is in short supply.

Why will we need to have vision? We will need it to see through the media behemoth that will continue to force a culture of fear. We will need it to see where we are going individually and how we are going to get there in what is ostensibly "tough times". We will need it because we are a culture of shop keepers that is used to a way of doing business which is changing.

Relationships will be important. An idea of what needs to be attained and how you can help, yourself and others, will be more important to maintaining that relationship. A win-win if ever there was one. A real helping hand rather than a social game of golf that could yield business.

But enough about business, that merely sets the stage for the point.

The point my friends is that we ebb and flow as a unit. As a culture. As our means of communicating become more powerful we buy into what we are hearing, seeing and then "feel" the same thing. You need to be better than just accepting what you see and hear but understand why others around you are reacting differently.

Think before you act.

Incidentally my prediction is that Starbucks will continue to decline for a little while here as people realize they can get free internet, a communal paper and a decent coffee for less elsewhere. Internet shopping will continue to climb as people research for the best deal and businesses will be graded on how one attains a goal related to a service or product. It will no longer be about just what people look like because they own a product [a special brand]. You and I are beginning to realize that most people don't own anything so the cache that goes with the highly touted brands is working against them unless they can do something better for you as well. Like Volvo and safety. The media will cater to this "help me" attitude as well and the companies will pursue advertising that plays up their "goal" based features rather than just the feeling you get by owning their stuff.

We are at a stage where we want it all as consumers and it is an attitude that has been created by us, which will be incredibly difficult to meet. We have set a standard that we may not be able to attain ourselves.

Be careful what you wish for. Vision will help you wade through the waters of uncertainty. hard work will help you swim through. The more things change the more they stay the same.

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