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Fantasy + Clanning = Sales

by Klaus Oestreicher

Fear not, I do not write a carnival’s column today. I want to draw your attention to some very interesting opportunities for all those in the packaged media dealing with selling finished products.

Faith Popcorn is a remarkable observer of the future. Nearly ten years ago, she identified two concepts, which have become reality: Fantasy and Clanning, and both are eminently useful to understand today’s markets.

Fantasy first. Music, games, movies are the constituents par excellence of the fantasy sphere. The dream industry provides those special moments when the mind under pressure relaxes and wanders into a world of good and evil. Faith Popcorn defines here the Fantasy concept as the desire of human beings to forget for a short while the pressure and stress of daily life and enjoy the pleasure of controlled excitements and adventures.

By the way they work, the music and film industries fulfil these desires, providing a more holistic approach, amenable to stimulate sales.

You may have heard of the concept of ‘shops’ in the US – a convivial café corner with bookshelves where people take a break to read, enjoy the environment or simply experience the ‘feel good’ factor.

These settings contrast with today’s High Street shops in the UK, France and Germany, for example. Located in the periphery of cities, they all look alike – racks, shelves, special offers – but no really inviting atmosphere where customers would be enticed to flip through various media or titles of potential interest.

I often asked myself why it is so? Money? When I consider the very expensive marketing and promotion campaigns that went into it, I doubt that budgetary constraints are an issue. I believe that many marketing executives promoting labels, studios or shops have lost some of their ‘fantasy’ touch owing to the high pressure put on them to achieve results. That’s not to say that turnover and margins do not play an important role, of course.

Let’s take some examples. Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Eragon, all are accomplished ‘fantasy’ products. Why not offer bespoke space in retail outlets? Why not turn a shop corner into Hoggwards or the Black Pearl? If the latest Robbie Williams CD is out, why not create an entertaining atmosphere surrounded by his music and that of his friends?

It may require additional space, but more titles and related music products can be displayed – all within a positive atmosphere of wellness. Consumers will stay there longer, looking for further titles of interest and probably buy more than if they wander along the shopping aisles.

This is a new understanding driven by emotions as to how to improve turnover per square meter – by improving the quality of the environment within which purchasing acts are done.

Here comes Faith Popcorn’s second concept: Clanning. Simply put, it refers to the fact that those who share similar interests will congregate, given the opportunity to do so. That is not new, that is as old as human history, but it is a relevant concept in our discussion. As our world becoming socially ‘colder’, the need for clanning grows.

If the right environment and ambiance are created, people will meet, talk to each other, share experiences in ways they have never done before: “Have you already seen this movie, listened to this music, read this book?”

Fantasy + Clanning create the conditions for increased sales, attracting more people, more effectively differentiating products, positioning them better in a competitive market. That means of course taking some courageous decisions and allocating budgets in new ways. But there can be little doubt this is a recipe for success. Event-based shopping by fantasy can drive new business.

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