In an interview with PSFK, Mads Ryder the new CEO of 130 year-old tableware brand Lenox discusses the challenges for heritage brands looking to engage the next generation of customers.
For Ryder and Lenox, that is the millennial market, who not only don’t own cabinets of ‘good china’ but are changing the whole way we eat. The challenge for Lenox and their category is that; “there are a lot of new consumers out there with new behavior that we haven’t been grasping, and none of our competitors have been grasping, for years”.
Ryder says; “I think we all are trying to find our new consumers. It’s the casual young people who simply eat and dine differently. They entertain people differently, and they live differently.
They still like nice products and they still want to pay for quality. They have a much more relaxed lifestyle, different taste, and they want to have something that works both for the casual lifestyle.”
Ryder identifies the social trends that are most relevant for this millennial market as; “The need to be yourself, the need to be an individual. The same goes for a dinner table or the way to decorate your house. You want to have your own identity. This is our family. This is our house. This is the way we live. I think one of the trends is, I want to be Barbara, and I want to be Mads. This is the way I live, take it or leave it.
You might even have something you wear that’s your signature thing. It can be a scarf, a piece of jewelry; it can be that you always wear green. It’s the same in my house. This is the house where we have the most comfy chairs and the most comfy furniture, or we are the house of millions of candlelights. In my house, this is the way we prepare the table. It’s finding that identity.
There’s a trend of allowing people and equipping them to be individuals, [while giving them] the dos and the don’ts. [In beauty], you learn it when you’re a 16 year old girl and you go to a makeup artist in Macy’s. You get to know the colors for you, and how you put the makeup on based on input and advice, then you get [sophisticated] over time.”
Time will tell whether Lenox is able to bridge some significant gaps between perceptions of brand and category and the mindset of their new millennial market. What we see is that sometimes the birth of a new market with a different approach sounds the death knell of a category that no longer has relevance, no matter what they do.
You can read the complete interview on PSFK here…
Pics courtesy Lenox