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The Rise of The Citysumer – Part 2
By: ML Haynes
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In my previous post, “The Rise of The Citysumer – Part 1” we took a look at how the increasing consumption taking place in urban settings and “Citysumers” who play a critical role in how markets and brands act and react. These experienced and sophisticated urbanites will demand brands that show some personality, loosen up, and embrace urban culture.

Trendwatching.com, a leading consumer trends firm, notes that many brands are already delighting Citysumers around the world. In the eight areas highlighted, where do you see opportunities for the brands you represent? Are there other success stories that you can share?

Opportunity 1: Celebrate Urban Pride
  • Fragrances are a popular way to capture a city's essence. Fashion brand DKNY released a fragrance "Love from New York for Women.” Beverly Hills created their own line of three scents that are meant to "evoke what life is like for the Beverly Hills woman."
  • The Absolut Cities Series first launched in New Orleans, when the brand developed a special mango and black pepper blend inspired by the city. The taste of Boston saw the brand launch a black tea and elderflower vodka that has a backdrop reminiscent of Fenway Park's Green Monster, while 2010's Absolut Brooklyn was a red apple and ginger flavored vodka with a Spike Lee-designed brownstone themed bottle.
  • In August 2010, Starbucks announced the launch of a new range of ultra-premium, single-origin coffees that will be only available in limited quantities in metropolitan markets including: New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Miami.
Opportunity 2: Enabling Urban Encounters
  • Geomium is an iPhone app launched in September 2010 in London that informs the user of where their friends are and what events are on in their area. It also helps them discover local bars, restaurants, and places of interest.
  • Gowalla curates content for select cities via City Pages, providing a display of popular places, what's "hot now," and highlights from a variety of venue categories (e.g. best burgers, best coffee).
  • In May 2010, Yahoo bought Indonesian social networking service Koprol that allows users to connect based on location. Mobile users can post a 200-character status message and use the site as a positioning service without the need for a GPS receiver. Once logged in, users can see other members who are in the same location.
Opportunity 3: Enriching The Urban Canvas
  • In July 2010, Volvo London's Starlite Urban Drive-In featured a full-sized, outdoor screen along with 25 preparked Volvo cars ready for patrons' viewing, reminiscing, and snacking pleasure.
  • Adidas has added Hamburg to their Urban Art Guide, following the success of their iPhone travel app that guides users around Berlin's best graffiti spots.
  • Snickers hosts festivals of youth street culture in various cities across Russia and Mexico. “Snickers Urbania” features nearly all major areas of street culture: extreme sports, graffiti, breakdancing, beatbox and freestyle. It encourages young people to express themselves and their talent.
Opportunity 4: Pushing The Urban Envelope
  • In July 2010, Calvin Klein posted a large QR code across two billboard locations in New York City. Passersby who used their smart phones to capture the QR code were then shown a 40-second ad featuring model Lara Stone.
  • Also in July 2010, Mini Cooper launched an interactive billboard campaign in the red light district of Hamburg, featuring the back of a Mini with an automated S&M whip hanging over the back that could be triggered to "spank" the vehicle.
  • Spanish-based boutique hotel chain, Axel Hotels, partnered with New York-based Parkview Developers to launch a resort in New York targeted at the gay community. The resort, called Out NYC Urban Resort, will have an Axel Hotel, a spa, several restaurants and bars, stores and a dance club.
Opportunity 5: Go Eco-Urban
  • US-based Urban Green Energy launched a wind turbine called eddy GT. The product boasts a special vertical axis design that enables power to be generated without making much noise and regardless of wind direction. The turbine was specifically designed for city rooftop use.
  • Japanese car manufacturer Mitsubishi has partnered with appliance chain Yamada Denki to sell its i-MiEV electric vehicle from 17 stores within the Tokyo area. Mitsubishi has sold 3,000 i-MiEVs in Japan since sales began in April 2010, but is hoping to boost these figures by taking the vehicle in-store.
  • A prototype of an environmentally friendly black cab was unveiled in London in Summer 2010. It runs on a hydrogen fuel cell system, converting hydrogen into electricity with the only emission being water vapor. The plan is to have 150 of these cabs running on the road in time for the Olympic Games in 2012.
Opportunity 6: Urban Escape

Brands that take Citysumers temporarily out of the city and into peace and quiet—away from crowds, noise, concrete, and foul air—will find innovation pays off nicely.
  • Meine Ernte, a German agricultural start-up, is offering couples and families the opportunity to rent plots of land for farming vegetables near six of the largest cities in the country, including Frankfurt and Bonn. Tools and advice from an expert farmer are included.
Opportunity 7: Urban Transcendence

For those Citysumers unable to escape, how about bringing peace and quiet, greenery, and other rural qualities to the city?
  • Property developer The Albanese Organization announced its collaboration with Holton Farms to deliver fresh, local produce to the residents of its properties in New York every week.
Opportunity 8: To Buy Or Not To Buy
  • New York's Department of Transportation's partnership with Zipcar to share hybrid cars between employees and the public.
  • SoBi, the first public bike share system where the authorization, tracking and security systems are attached to the bicycle itself.
  • Snapgoods enables NYC residents to rent other people's belongings, while Rent the Runway allows women to rent designer dresses (with same-day delivery available in NYC).


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About the Author

ML Haynes, hybrid creative and interactive director, pixel pusher and wordsmith, strategist and activist, thinks out loud here. Follow her on Twitter.

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