In the pharmaceutical world the full digestion period to understand the long term effects of a drug is 15-20. Those same drugs get signed off after some clinical trials in a much shorter time, it’s a flawed sign off system. It’s why you get some many mass tort cases, corporations scramble claiming innocent faces and the battle begins.
This notion of the full digestion period interests me, a lot. I’ve been using it for years as a mechanism to analyse different markets, brands and industries as I wanted to see if there was a cycle of problems that occurs once something runs to a full digestion period
The digestion time issues is present in high street restaurants chains such as Jamie’s. Byron and Gourmet Burger Kitchen have massively had to shrink the number of stores.
The digestion time issues is present in fashion such as Karen Millen, Coast and in discount and tech such as Maplin & PoundWorld.
The digestion time issues is present in Homebase, Mothercare, Carpetright and New Look have done a mass shutdown of stores and restructuring.
When I was living in Glasgow I went to Jamie’s a couple of times after they opened a new restaurant. I went again about a year later and it was a completely different experience. It was weaker service and the quality of food was less (smaller plates, less care). I put it down as a one off. I moved back to London and went to the Jamies in Shepherds Bush, this was another year on and it was the worst service I’d experienced and wasn’t long after they got busted for centralising their production. The pasta was overdone, poor quality with a splat of vague ragu-ish on the plate.
I predicted that Jamies would die. Everything dies when you put quantity above quality, it’s a capitalist trick where success poisons the mind.
- We can make more profit if we deliver smaller plates.
- We can make more profit if we prepare our fresh ingredients in a central place
- We can make more profit if we employ zero hour contract people
All of which have the risk of diminishing the service, it’s those moments when we feel there is something we don’t like or simple stop doing what we used to do. It’s mainly unconscious unless the service is really off and it consciously gets on your tits. Conscious or not, it’s what kills the essence of what a brand good in the first place.
It’s not just food either, a brand inside this digestion period cycle can readily get stuck in time. Karen Millen for example never stopped doing the wide shiny bright stitched dresses that got it over the hump, it also put it back under the hump as it never moved with the times of changing tastes. Fashion works in adaptive cycles.
Cycles meaning the kids now wear bucket hats like they invented them.
Cycles meaning when I was a kid we wore bucket hats like we invented them.
Cycles meaning in the late 60’s & early 70’s they wore bucket hats like they invented them.
The adaptive part is that the hats are a little different each time as the tastes and the influence of the designers adapts. It’s all marginal differences of texture, logo sizing and colour but adaptive nonetheless. Karen Millen never adapted.
The digestion is one of human overconfidence. Consider, when you experience success it can poison the mind (individual or collective of a brand), whether it is cutting corners for profit or just never seeing past what got to success it’s an issue of overconfidence, you can’t see the spot that is blind. Human behaviour like this is what makes great brands, great! It’s also the behaviour that destroys step by step.
"Over my dead body will our phone every have a camera"
The founder of Blackberry back in the day. He pulled a Karen Millen. It’s not as simple as profit or blindspots either, Jamie’s service got worse and worse, not enough to complain about per se BUT just enough to make you doubt, to not go back again. We consumers often replace one service with another in our minds without ever consciously thinking about it. Think about when you have those moments ‘oh, I forget about them’, people, brands, restaurants, whatever, we replace when the product and service goes down.
That’s the power of emotion, of feeling, it’s real, they (business) just don’t measure it. That’s why I spent four years research, testing and building our products, I understood the power of emotion and emotional intelligence. It’s a measurable entity this feeling stuff as demonstrated by the destruction of when you don’t measure and react to it. That’s why this happens:
I love thinking about the digestion period as it represents the evolution of the mind of the brand. It's gap analysis, you can always find a gap in the matrix if you put lens on why things currently are the way they are.