Putting together a wedding list sounds fun. It’s not. It’s like a marathon.It requires preparation, focus, team work and above all stamina. My wonderful wife-to-be and I thought we were in for a two, max three hour visit to John Lewis on Oxford Street. It turned into a mammoth 5 and a half hours. Owch.
I wish I could blame Becky, but I can’t. Fact is, we were prepared. We’d both made a list of things we thought we needed, (she then promptly crossed all of my suggestions out), turned up as the store opened and worked strategically down each level from top to bottom covering off each department systematically. We onlytook one 30 minute break for coffee and a scone. We even skipped lunch.
It’s the sheer volume of decisions that makes it such an arduous task. And how – like a Rubix cube – each of those decisions impacts others. Choice of cushions impacts throws, which impacts rug which impacts patterns on mugs which impacts … well … everything. 5.5 hours might seem like forever (it felt like it) but I’m genuinely proud of our efforts!
Anyway. I digress. On my way up to drop off the zapper thing that you use to add items to your wedding list, I stopped to add a couple of random, mischievous banter items such as a Union Jack deckchair. Becky will be furious, I literally can’t wait. I then saw, in the home electronics department, these awesome Roberts Radios….
Apart from looking cool, these are a genius feat of marketing in my view. If there’s ever a product with a ‘dying ember’ feel to it it’s the Roberts Radio. An iconic brand, but ultimately out of its depth in a market dominated by digital music, iPods and surround sound. This latest range sees the brand come out swinging, carving out a niche for itself as a funky enduring national treasure.
It brings me back to something Becky and I were discussing yesterday. What happens when everything is digital? What happens your CDs, DVDs and books aren’t on display any more, but sit on a sleek tablet on your coffee table? DVDs, CDs and books – your ‘content’ to use the bland phrase – tell people who you are. They bring colour, customisation, anecdotes, stories, education and culture by just ‘being’. By just sitting on your shelves. What happens when they’re gone?
As this space opens up, there’s a gap that brands (just like Roberts) can move into. The ability to project your own sense of self onto a room may ironically come from things that have traditionally been functional like your radio hardware. Making a statement about yourself and customisation are trends that won’t disappear. They’re enduring. Smart move Roberts. Very smart.