January 9, 2022 •
Fresh Year, Fresh Approach
Dazzling your customers is a matter of thinking outside of the proverbial box
In our Winter 2021 cover story, I predicted that the buzzwords of 2021 would be Lifestyle and Storytelling. Well, we’re a whole year older, and hopefully accordingly wiser. We have gotten used to makers and brands presenting their wares in more of a narrative style, often on our screens, as we have embraced various lifestyle niches.
As a result, a fresh authenticity has pervaded messaging, while visually, consumers are mesmerized by new takes on existing forms. So with that said, if I had to pick two buzzwords for 2022, they would be Personality and Pedigree.
Personality is fairly self-explanatory: a given design has to seem to directly speak to the consumer, and express her in such a way that she feels compelled to send it to her friends or display it in her home. Card-senders, especially millennials, don’t necessarily need a holiday to send a card, but they do need that card to feel completely organic to their mindset.
Pedigree is a bit more complicated. It begins with how the product is made: Is it made by hand? Domestically? Is there a cause-related or fair trade component? Who is the maker? What kind of mission is the customer supporting with their purchase? How do they give back to its community or our planet? It is also how the given item infuses sustainability or function into an outstanding form.
Since consumers are now used to listening to stories, these are the questions they have become comfortable asking. That means that any range you take on is not just the product, but its entire backstory as well. Now more than ever, get truly acquainted with what goes into every SKU in your store … you and your staff will want to be ready to share it to bring every offering to glorious life onscreen or on the selling floor.
First and foremost, however, is the product itself. Lettering — the basis of stationery — has gone as individual as the maker or each of us. Japanese aesthetics have a welcome simplicity next to American complexity, while rainbows have been revisited with glorious results. Meanwhile, candles and even pencils have become the latest repository for the catchy copy once reserved for stationery. And, fresh approaches to existing strong sellers are almost always guaranteed to attract the attention!