5 new currencies of aspirational markets, and how to trade in them
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Aspirational markets used to refer exclusively to luxury markets (high-end products, services, and experiences), but now the definition expanded to (almost all) B2C categories. Healthcare, exercise, food, entertainment, even CPG (e.g. Moon Juice, Perky Jerky) are aspirational. “Aspirational” consumption is a consumption that reflects one’s taste, knowledge, identity and social status.
A feature of aspirational markets is that products, services, and money are just one kind of the value that brands create - economic value. Brand growth doesn’t come just from how many products it creates or how much money it has, but from its social and cultural output.
When aspiration moved from accumulation of tangible assets as the status signaling mechanism towards accumulation of intangibles - like creativity, knowledge, belonging, curation, and aesthetics - companies started moving from manufacturing products to manufacturing content, curation, communities and collaborations.
These intangibles are traded through the five currencies of aspirational markets: images, stories, membership, collectibles and taste. They have the power to transform non-culture into culture (an item becomes more significant and valuable if it is part of a collection that has a history and a story), which makes them a powerful cultural engine. Aspirational currencies are also a great business model: their focus is not on volume, but on value of the brand capital.
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