Marketing book in hand, Nespresso’s radical turnaround is a full-blown shot in the foot. Giving up everything built over a decade seems like the opposite of what any successful brand would do. However, this shift is actually the consequence of a fundamental change in the way we relate to brands , what we expect from them, and the new tools with which to build a relationship with their audiences. It is a change that transcends branding, something that extends to everything we could call objects of affection : brands, elite athletes, fashion designers, works of fiction, apps and social media platforms… It is based on a very simple idea. but with enormous consequences. Consuming has ceased to be a performative act to become part of our identity.

Farewell to consumption as performance

Farewell to consumption as performance The high point of “consumption as performance ” was probably reached in the 1980s and 1990s. Consuming projected an image and that was largely where its value resided. Driving a high-end car projected an image of success, shopping in certain shopping centers projected a cosmopolitan and sophisticated image, drinking, depending on which beverages, projected a sociable and uninhibited image, etc. In order to project that image, brands developed tools to define what they called “brand imagery,” a world of sensations and evocative ideas that constituted an island of meanings that consumers visited during symbolic summer vacations. Drivers vacationed in the imaginary of freedom, soda drinkers did so in the imaginary of happiness, perfume buyers in the imaginary of seduction.

Was probably reached in the 1980s

The high point of “consumption as performance” was probably reached in the 1980s and 1990s. For those who could afford it, having a famous person Executive List become famous was a good shortcut to making their brand something aspirational , an ideal that they wanted to achieve, even though deep down we all knew that it was something impossible, a game. symbolic, a performance. Perhaps for this reason, the 90s introduced an even more performative variant, ironic consumption. The 90s was the decade of bad boys , bad girls … and bad brands . “Radical”, “groundbreaking”, “incorrect”, “for mavericks” brands. Brands that built anti-imaginaries , for those who wanted to project the image of distant intelligence. You and I both know this is a game, so let’s have a good time. Consumption as identity Meanwhile, something was moving, slowly.

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