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When we were originally given carte blanche to choose a blog topic this week, I was going to write about Paula Deen. It was a ‘textbook’ example of what not to do after you find yourself caught in a PR nightmare. The day I was going to write the blog topic, I was attending a farewell luncheon for a colleague and his wife was there with their beautiful three month old daughter. I was sitting beside another colleague – early thirties, single father of two school age boys, wearing a horrible shirt (bless him, but this will be important later) and he said something rather strange to me, “That stroller is like the Cadillac of strollers.” I look over and see it’s a Quinny have an ‘ah-ha’ moment and knew I had to change my topic.
When we had discussed the Quinny stroller in class it was being positioned as a fashion accessory, which brings me to the bad shirt comment. My colleague is not a fashion-conscious consumer and the horrendous shirt (which he told me was very expensive, sadly) was not one of his only wardrobe choices that lead me to that conclusion. He didn’t have children that were of stroller age when Quinny first made its 2007 debut in America, and he had told me prior he had no desire to have children if he were to remarry. I was fascinated about what Quinny did to achieve the support of someone with no prior (or potentially future) experience with the product/brand.
The Quinny is a completely fold-able and customisable stroller for the active urban parent. The original target audience was parents living in densely populated cities, but has exploded in the North American market living mostly in suburbia. It has morphed into a consumer-propelled status symbol which equates cost ($300-$600) to strength of love and care. “Become the ultimate parent with a Quinny stroller”, drives that very point home. But my colleague likely didn’t think that our departing friend was a better parent because of the stroller, or that he had impeccable fashion sense. He thought our colleague had a lot of disposable income. Hmmm...
Much of North America equates personal value and perceived success through objects (Why drive a Pinto if you have the means to drive a Porsche?), this is bad for humanity but great for brands that have a high price point. How do we tie this back to the fashion symbol positioning? There are few brands that can 'get away' with overtly using status as a selling point, Quinny is no exception. Targeting a perceived elite segment of society under the guise of fashion Quinny was able to exploit the materialistic North American culture.
It’s fascinating how brands subtly shift perceptions by changing their message in different markets and then consumers perpetuate those ideas as their own—this is the epitome of PR.