Sailaja N. Joshi

Teatime Theory Presents: The renaissance of traditional goods

In Lenski, Teatime Theory, United States on March 15, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Lenksi, one of the fathers of sociology, said that societies evolve as a result of technology and advance based their ability to adapt to that technology. Those societies that nurture technological advances tend to succeed more in the global playground. Take the United States or China, who are steps ahead of say Africa in the technology and economic race. So what does this mean for the future, that in order to be successful we must be the first to adapt and embrace technology?

While Lenski my have said, “YES!” to that question, I disagree. I think that while technology certainly helps to secure a nation’s place in the “World Domination” running, I think the time has come for a traditional way of life to make a comeback.

When I speak of tradition, I am referring to the old way of living, a life where things moved at a slower pace (think Mad Men). There is already strong evidence that this movement is on its way. Take for instance the slow cooking movement, propelled into popular culture through the movie Julie-Julia. The world of foodies is now in the midst of a renaissance as people embrace elaborate cooking techniques and meals, shunning Rachel Ray’s 30-Minute Meals and fast food.

The idea of tradition has also extended to the world of consumer goods.  The online site Etsy is an excellent example of traditional making a comeback. This online boutique connects crafters to consumers, enabling individuals to purchase handcrafted anything. Through Etsy we can witness this yearn among the early adopter public to have ‘traditional’ handcrafted goods. Contrary to what happened in the 1960s, manufactured goods are now taking the backseat to traditional handcrafted wares.

Now its true this change is not apparent in the general public. There are still those who marvel at the quick meal and love their latest machine-made goods, but I believe this shift is on the horizon. As with all things consumer, there are those early adopters who can set the pace for the rest of the community and soon handcrafted goods will sit along side twitter as some of the top catchphrases of the year.

So, what does this mean for consumer goods companies? Odds are that if early adopters are searching for traditional products, the next wave of adopters will be too.  In order for companies to stay relevant, they must reshape their products and adapt to this new emerging way of living if they plan on being successful.

This is not as easy as creating a new marketing campaign or product line. This change among companies is going to require a restructuring of brand identity and philosophy. They are going to have to appeal to their consumers with more than just their products, but convince them that they are truly the whole package.



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