One Like No Other

Did you hear of 1 Like No Other?

It’s a luxury apparel brand riding on the wave of exclusivity. Each piece of ‘1 Like No Other’ shirt is produced in numbers that are just a handful assuring the wearer of its super exclusivity. Result: A business model that effortlessly commands a price premium for its products.

Lifestyle brands occasionally try their hand at evoking this tendency in us – of possessing (or collecting) something that we deem worthy or representative of ‘our unique self’. Enter product concepts that are a mash up of ‘uniqueness’ and ‘exclusivity’.

Absolut is known for its limited editions. This year it has taken this concept to a whole new level with Absolut Unique. A story of carefully orchestrated randomness powered by 35 different colors, 51 different pattern types all governed by algorithms meticulously devised to induce a method to this madness of design. Result: A first of its kind design spectacle at a massive scale resulting in over 4 million bottles where no two bottles are alike.

These bottles are now lined up for a global launch during September/October 2012.

Another recent example of a product that mashes up the concept of uniqueness with exclusivity is ‘The Cameo Ring’.

On the face of it wedding rings can just be a bunch of fancy, pricey rings. But for many people these rings are actually pieces of jewelry wrapped with a tremendous amount of emotional and symbolic value. Fired up by this insight Russell Greenberg set out to create the most personal ring in the world. Cameo by RUX.

Essentially each ring is custom designed based on the photograph of the person who is to wear it. The unique curves of the individual’s silhouette are then replicated to constitute the contours of this unique and exclusive ring.

This leads to the creation of custom jewelry that one can’t help but fall in love with because the ring is literally a part of him/her. In fact it ‘is’ the person in many ways.

As the designer puts it, this results in intimate art objects that are “beautifully discreet and timeless in design”. Interestingly he has now extended this concept to design custom baby rattles with ends shaped like profiles of the baby’s mom and dad! 

While these concepts are innovative and interesting owing to their ingenious design principles, what could be even more interesting is the consumer insight that they are based upon. Try to think of it for a moment. What is actually being sold here? What are you actually paying for?

Evangelizing Envy: The power of ‘ONE’ + ‘STORY’

Exclusivity

Auction houses thrive on this. Get an item that is in limited (or a one off) supply and make people bid for it at the altar of exclusivity. Just the fact that this specific item is in short supply could potentially activate a ridiculous amount of (dormant) demand, trigger a desire, and then interestingly morph into a ‘want’ and before you pinch yourself to test your senses, manifest itself into a fanatic ‘need’ in people who are then psyched up into splashing obscene amounts of money just to own this story of exclusivity.

Marketers dealing in products across the entire spectrum from diamonds to deodorants try very hard to trigger this impulse of envy in the name of exclusive releases or limited edition products! But is exclusivity the only attribute required to ‘generate such value’ over night? Unlikely. I guess there is another side to the coin.

And that’s called a ‘story’. Weave an exquisite story around your product and create an exclusivity around it, and you would see yourself on the edge of evangelising envy!

Betabrand proved to be a glaring example to prove this. An online clothing story who are hell bent to offer you nothing but the newest clothing & apparell collection  that is always refreshed at an alarming pace. As part of this they released clothing along the seven deadly sins: gluttony, envy, wrath, lust, sloth, greed and vanity. I particularly loved how they executed ‘envy’.

They weaved a brilliant story of what went into the making of these pair of trousers. You SHOULD read the story here (click on story). + They made only one pair of such trousers. Obviously they auctioned this and they raked up nearly a GRAND for one single pant!