Trading IN, Not Down

I was at the Argyle hospitality conference last week and there was a lot of talk of consumers trading down.

This behavior is an unfortunate result of the current economic climate, and one leaving a lot of brands wondering how to protect their market share.

The morning after the conference I was watching CNN on the treadmill in my hotel gym and an alternative expression caught my attention. During an interview on the show- Jim Skinner, McDonald’s CEO, attributed his brand’s unique market growth to “consumers trading IN” .

Regardless of how you feel about McDonald’s I think this is a really interesting concept – and one with potential applications for a wide range of brands.

Trading IN gives me a mental image of opening a door, spreading out the welcome mat and making someone feel valued and invited.

Trading IN cleverly shifts the conversation away from price (no doubt value meals are positvely impacting McDonald’s growth) towards the concept of choice.

Instead of implying compromise, trading IN implies options. A smarter way … a new discovery. It validates a consumer’s decision.

It’s an unprecedented time in consumer marketing. Old behaviors have gone out the window with a dizzying speed. But many consumers are adrift.

They know the old choices won’t work, but many haven’t yet settled on new options. This doesn’t just mean taking a high price or mid priced brand and trading down. It could mean finding a new choice.

For example, money spent on destination vacations could be re-invested in family sports equipment like bikes, roller-blades or even wii fit that allow them to spend quality time in a new way.

Trips to restaurants could be replaced by local cooking classes or a new BBQ grill that satisfies a quest for culinary adventure but with a different spin.

Think about these new orphaned consumers, maybe it’s time for your brand to invite them IN.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

What are products or services are your trading in to?

One thought on “Trading IN, Not Down

  1. Smart word play, Mr. McDonalds CEO!
    I traded in for a slow cooker so that we eat more meals at home, and I’m trying to trade into more Target shopping, but everyone else is too, so the shelves are always bare! 🙂 Target is one of the best at making you feel like you are trading IN and not down I think…

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