The World of Average: How we got here and how we might stand out.
Updated: May 22
It's no secret that we live in a world of sameness. Restaurants, shops and hotel lobbies, entire cities even: they all seem to blend together into a monotonous sameness. And this is not limited to physical spaces - it extends to brand activations, customer experiences, and even online platforms.
Think about it: how many times have you walked into a coffee shop, only to feel like you've been there before? Or booked an Airbnb and found the interior design to be eerily similar to the last one you stayed in? This is not a coincidence, it even has a name: AirSpace. The term was coined by writer Kyle Chayka in an article for The Verge, in which he explains how Airbnb has influenced interior design to become more and more similar across the globe.
But Airbnb isn't the only felon. Social media has an undeniable impact on design trends. Instagram and its influencers have led to a generation of ‘hip’ design elements that have ‘inspired’ different interiors, from homes to cafes to hotels.
But this sad trend of sameness definitely extends beyond interior design. A simple walk through any high street will show you what we mean. It’s not even limited to physical spaces - it extends to brand communications, activations, customer experiences, and even online platforms.
How did we end up in this world of average? And more importantly, what can we do to break free from this cycle? For starters, we've all been playing it safe for too long. We're scared to stand out, to take a risk, to be different. It's just so to blend in and go unnoticed than to be bold and stand out. And here we are, lost with no identity. In a world of average, brands are left with two options: to compete on price or to invest heavily in marketing to be on top of the algorithm.
The first option, competing on price, is a race to the bottom. Companies can't continue lowering their prices without eventually sacrificing quality or margins. This option may work for a short time, but it's not sustainable in the long run. Additionally, competing on price often attracts customers who are simply looking for the cheapest option and may not be loyal in the long term.
The second option, investing heavily in marketing to be on top of the algorithm, can be effective, but it's a costly strategy. We are spending so much money on advertising, search engine optimization, and social media marketing to ensure we are visible to our target audience. But in the end: there’s always someone that has deeper pockets and will beat you at this game. The only winners of this game are Zuckerberg and his friends.
As we always gracefully try to avoid what others are doing, we strongly believe that being Center of Heart is the best place to be as a brand. By doing something that's different, memorable, and authentic, it’s time to stand out and create a lasting connection with your desired customer.
By focusing on creating a unique brand concept and experiences, brands can stand out in a world of average. Without competing on price or marketing budgets. It's not an easy journey, but boy, it’s adventurous and totally worth the ride. But it's not about being different just for the sake of it. We need to build brands and experiences that capture the essence of our true identity and remind our community what makes us different and why they should care. Because really: why should they care? With the rise of online sales and the disappearance of physical touch points, it's becoming harder and harder to really connect with our audience. Meaning it’s more important than ever to focus on building a real connection with your audience.
So, let's fight the average together. Let's be bold, let's be different, and let's create brand concepts and experiences that capture the hearts and minds of our customers. Because in a world of average, being different is not just a choice, it's a necessity.