I think you’ve hit on the struggle of a lot of diversified companies: the trade-offs between autonomy and centralization. It seems obvious to me that the “modular toolkit” was a way to implement a semi-custom process across a broad swath of VW’s brands while respecting the individual management verticals within each subsidiary.
After all, emissions and safety have to be executed across all brands, why not centralize the process and capture economies? It feels a little like the only reason this was a losing strategy was once a problem arose, it spread across multiple brands. Perhaps it was also that the central office overseeing modular toolkit never communicated with individual brands to come to a good solution. It’s increasingly difficult for automakers to profitably meet emissions standards while also maintaining fuel efficiency and power output. From your post it sounds like VW never addressed the underlying fundamental problem with each brand and instead headquarters simply fell into the trap of cheating its way to success.
I would think a rising tide lifts all boats. I think any increased focus or emphasis from Millenials on longer-form comedy content (be it in the form of text or video) benefits The Onion. Clickhole is a great example of how The Onion (which is niche by definition, since its satire-first approach is pretty high brow compared to the 9GAGs and Fat Jewish’s of the world) can potentially rob users from other websites (in this case, Buzzfeed) with its own unique take on humor.
Niehaus, thanks for the write-up and also your shameless promotion of a good friend’s company 🙂
I think Stantt is onto something here with the idea of quick turnaround, and they started with something easier–shirts. Custom suiting turnaround time is a major pain point, with lead times of weeks. They also nailed the idea of making made-to-measure as precise as true bespoke. Setting up 95 templates is a one-time cost with immense future benefit of fitting 95 unique male bodies. I’m just shocked they’re able to turn it around so rapidly without keeping stock (unless they actually do keep some stock of each of the 95 templates, in which case I’d be concerned about inventory costs)
Thanks, Fu. I’m with you. Harry’s was no different from any other white-label private label sourced razor company before they owned their own factory, except for the one thing: their design and the Harry’s brand.
They were able to capture some early magic through simple, clean packaging, bold and memorable branding, and a product that is objectively more attractive (or at least differentiated) from the alien space probe forms Gillette and Schick have been pushing for years (and that Dollar Shave Club is blindly following).
Thanks Schach. I actually question a little the premise of Harry’s physical store as opposed to, say, a Warby showroom (despite the fact that I said their physical stores have great future promise, an assertion premised on the success of Art of Shaving).
I think glasses are uniquely important to try before buying–hence Warby’s try-at-home program and physical showrooms. Razors aren’t exactly the same, but I still think it’s an exciting way to get the product in front of the consumer to show them how beautiful it is from a design perspective. In that sense their stores are closer to the top of the marketing conversion funnel than the bottom–more awareness focused than purchase-focused.
Thanks for the comment! I think you nailed it: was doing some direct-to-consumer thinking with Elian yesterday and I think we came up with similar metrics–high value for size (shipping margin), subscribability (or limited life as you say).
The other 2×2 to consider is immediacy vs. need for touch/feel: you don’t need to see touch or feel a razor–trial is done at home. If you think about sectors most highly penetrated by e-commerce they are largely low immediacy / low need for touch/feel (traditional media a good example: don’t need that book you’ve been meaning to read today, nor is it important that you see it before you buy –> Amazon)