Iconoculture is a company that is great with market and cultural insights. One thing they do is share very general trends via emailed newsletters - Iconowatch - to give you an idea of what they’re currently thinking about. Even if their emails may offer just the tip of the iceberg, they are still emails that I actually read. As a research and cultural insights junkie myself, they tease me with leads to research for myself or new angles to trends we’ve all heard about.
Today’s email was no different. I’ve included it below:
MUCH ADO ABOUT BABYCCINOS
By Becky Sun, Sr. Editor, Global View
The preschool set in Brooklyn is foaming at the mouth, apparently, and so are some indignant adults. The hot story that was brewing in February started when the Brooklyn Paper published a story about how parents in fashionable neighborhoods are ordering babyccinos — small cups of decaf lattes or steamed milk — for their toddlers. Scores of writers were full of eye rolls and barely suppressed groans over this too-precious trend. One journalist found very few babyccinos in Brooklyn cafes and called it a nonstory.
Regardless of whether Park Slope parents with their designer strollers spend $2 to buy a kiddie drink, Iconoculture’s Cultural Fluent in Australia, Katharine Milner, was amused that this decade-old menu item is new to the US. “It’s cute and a little outrageous to charge money for a scoop of milk foam with chocolate powder on top. But that’s what all the littlies get at cafes here.” She adds that a few coffeehouses in Sydney and Brisbane even make doggycinos (with lactose-free milk and maybe a shot of liver).
At some Australian cafes, the babycino (Australians spell it with one “c”) is free with an adult beverage. They come plain or with a variety of additions: honey, rainbow sprinkles, syrup or marshmallows. Kids love their mini-me drinks, and parents appreciate the five minutes of peace and quiet that a cute bevvie can buy. These drinks are so popular that Aussie parents can even buy Bubucino — instant babycino from an aerosol can.
What does this mean for marketers?
Want my business? Love my kid, be it human or furry. Remember the days when children got lollipops and dogs got biscuits at the bank drive-through? Consumers eat up things like that. It’s usually the small touches that make an impact, like a filled water dish for Spot at an outdoor cafe, or a free baby frozen yogurt with an adult purchase. Such gestures, which cost businesses only a little more time and resources, go a long way in creating retail loyalty.
I could not agree more with Iconoculture’s “what does this mean for marketers?” Just the other week, my boyfriend and I went out on date night to Cactus, a restaurant in the South Lake Union area of Seattle, WA that specializes in Southwestern fare. We picked it because it was close to where we had tickets to later and had decent reviews on Yelp.
As new transplants to Seattle, it was our first time there. This of course, was answered as soon as our server asked if we had been there previously, before she told us what their more popular dishes were. It was again verified when she asked for our IDs when we ordered drinks.
She did a couple little things that really made us enjoy our visit to Cactus. When checking our IDs, she commented on where we were from and asked us about it, as well as what made us move, what neighborhood we moved to, how we were liking Seattle and where else had we visited so far. She spent more time at our table than she needed to, just to get to know us a little more than what we wanted to eat.
Then, at the end of dinner, she really surprised us. She brought out a dessert - flan with two spoons - that we had not ordered, for free. She simply said that it was a ‘welcome to the neighborhood’. We were floored. That certainly hadn’t happened to us anywhere else, and we joked that we should use the “we’re new” line more often. But you know what? We remember her, and we remember Cactus and despite only going there for the location at first, we will certainly be recommending its food and its service to others.
Whether it was our night out or what Iconoculture describes, adding the little things to your clients’ experience isn’t just confined to Food & Bev or the bank drive through. What are the little things that you can include that would show just a little extra effort? That little bit will make the difference when what you already offer is as good as the competition.
Iconoculture, a Corporate Executive Board company, is the leading global consumer research and advisory services company, delivering comprehensive consumer insights to Fortune 1000 corporations and agencies quickly and cost-effectively. We integrate consumer information from multiple data sources and combine it with expert interpretation and analysis by the industry’s largest global Advisory Services team to produce targeted insights. Iconoculture illuminates not only what’s important to consumers worldwide, but also why it’s happening and where it’s heading. For more information, contact Iconoculture at 1-866-377-0087 or visit us online: www.iconoculture.com.