Trendwatch: Clean Slate brands

Henry Mason

With a breed of new brands living by the rules of Business 3.0, not to mention delivering superior quality products and services, consumers are now attracted to unproven and unknown brands the way they were attracted to established brands in the past. 'Established' is often another word for tired if not tainted. The future belongs to Clean Slate Brands.

Consumers are fixated on the 'new' because, so often now, new is superior: new brands are often more innovative, nimble and laser-focused on what consumers want, than the bigger, legacy-laden brands they compete with. Driving this is the expectation that these 'new' brands will behave better, being born in an era of transparency and consumer empowerment (it would be a foolish entrepreneur who even considered doing things unethically now). Not to mention that Clean Slate Brands often have 'new' business values (such as decent ethical, social and environmental values) deeply baked into their business models. Many 'old' brands were set up in the era of industrial capitalism, when secrecy was a source of competitive advantage and shareholders encouraged the pursuit of profit at any cost. The world has changed, but even an older brand that wants to reposition itself has a hard time wrestling with internal fiefdoms, convoluted legacy systems and opaque supply chains.