lunes, 3 de agosto de 2009

Exclusiva- Cómo ser cool y no morir en el intento

La primera vez que oí hablar de Claudine Ben-Zenou fue en el libro de Mark Tungate Marcas de Moda, y su historia me pareció tan fascinante, que decidí titularla "Cómo ser coolhunter y no morir en el intento".

La segunda vez que oí hablar de Claudine Ben-Zenou fue el pasado 19 de julio aquí, pero esta vez era ella en persona. Me escribia porque había hecho una búsqueda personal en Google, y al ver aparecer su nombre en el programa de un curso de tendencias, la curiosidad pudo con ella y decidió contactarme.

Lo que sigue es una entrevista en exclusiva realizada on-line y sin el gusto de conocerse personalmente... todavía. Una lanzadera de preguntas con respuesta sobre tendencias, redes sociales, marcas nuevas y viejas... y el eterno retorno al concepto de cool.

Muerto o no el término coolhunter, y en busca todavía de una definición correcta para esta profesión emergente, lo interesante de este perfil es su gran capacidad para dar sentido y forma al mundo que les rodea, transformando su escena vital en un escenario donde tanto el público (consumidor) como los actores (marcas y productos) pueden contar con ellos, como si del mejor apuntador se tratara...

Claudine Ben-Zenou- No es lo que tengo, es lo que soy.

About : Claudine has over 10 years brand marketing, research and media experience. She joined Vandal after 4 years as MTV's Global Trend Advisor where she created and edited "Switched On" global trend reports. Prior to MTV, Claudine worked with various London media and marketing agencies and consulted for brands including Pepsi, Levis, Nike, Sony Playstation, DC Shoes and 20th Century Fox.

Claudine now lives in New York and heads up the US office of Vandal, a trend marketing agency. The agency specialise in contemporary cultural trend research with a particular focus on beverage sector. Vandal produces various trend reports and publications, and work with companies like Bacardi, Disney, Diageo, Starcom and Anheuser Busch to advise on brand innovation and trend marketing.

Claudine has contributed her thoughts and ideas to various publications including i-D magazine, Media Week, Marketing, Brand Strategy and New Media Age and continues to be passionate about contemporary popular culture.

And here we go...

False or True

1. In the fashion market, almost all the trends get started by a fabric supplier.

False - although fabric drives the end product, the actual trends themselves are usually influenced by a range of factors including sub-cultures and what's happening on a street level.

2. Consumers are more inventive than any designer.

True - although there are many pioneering designers who's creative influence is hugely important.... fashion conscious consumers - especially in creative hubs like London, Tokyo, New York and Paris are often just as inventive and are able to react to changing trends around them at rapid speeds. However this statement would still be false when it comes to the bulk of mainstream consumers.

3. Being cool means finding a point of difference that makes you relevant.
False - the whole notion of 'being cool' or 'chasing cool' is extremely uncool! Cool is usually a byproduct of expressing oneself with confidence without necessarily conforming or being overly influenced by the masses.

4. Following the trends does not transform you/either your brand/product into something cool.
True. You can’t buy cool, and it’s usually very evident and contrived when a brand tries to jump on a trend without fully understanding it. The key is to work within subcultures by taking the time to fully understand them. Work with the pioneers of a street culture, create something new, put something back (pro social), and most importantly – give respect to the culture. When brands just jump on a trend, and then drop it again it can be highly destructive to the entire culture or scene as we saw a few years ago when graffiti culture started to be picked up by mainstream brands.

5. You can teach people what to like.
I think this is somewhat true. You can certainly steer consumers into making more interesting choices and good taste!

6. You don’t need to be part of a subculture to get the next thing of it.

True, but it certainly helps to work from within culture. Trying to interpret from the outside looking in which can be very dangerous, so its best to work with people deeply entrenched in these scenes if you want to keep on top of where things are moving.

7. Getting a MBA in Coolhunting does not transform you into a coolhunter.
True. You can’t really teach coolhunting. For the most part it’s an intuitive skill. It’s important to have a passion for social anthropology, fashion, music and youth culture in general and actually be an active part of these scenes. I grew up in the UK rave/jungle scene, was an active part of UK bboy and graffiti culture, collected vinyl, played video games, spent years in online communities and the UK skate scene so was able to discuss these cultures with real credibility.

8. If you are not in the social media, you are out of it.

True. It’s fairly vital these days to stay on top of all social media and in my opinion the best way to do this is to participate.

Getting to the point

Cool- A definition: The art of cultivating good taste with confidence. Often subtle and understated, but always with passion and flair.
Music- The next challenge: A move away from auto-tune and manufactured pop, and back to grass roots and raw talent.
A graffiti artist-One not to forget: One of my personal hero’s. A street art pioneer and creative inspiration to many – Futura 2000.
A brand-to follow right now: Supreme (US cult skateboard label) has stayed relevant and on top of the game with its collaborations and design.

What to do if...

I am brand. I am new on the market. Could you give me pls 3 advises?

- Differentiate through quality and craftsmanship
- Stay eco friendly / aware
- Create choice - allow consumers to modify, get creative and express their individuality with your brand

I am brand. I am almost 20 years on the market. Could you give me pls 3 advises?
- Utilize your brand’s history and provenance to emphasize quality
- Embrace change, re-design, re-package and re-fresh to stay relevant
- Interact with your consumers

wow. Internet es maravilloso. Pero que haya gente como Claudine es todavía más genial y estimulante. Así que además del enorme agradecimiento por el tiempo dedicado, ojala algunas de las respuestas sirvan de inspiración a esos mails preguntando... cómo ser coolhunter, y no morir en el intento?!

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