WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT.
So, weâ€™ve been talking to a nonprofit organization, which I canâ€™t name, about a little problem they have.
This outfit has been known for a long time for its â€œthrift storesâ€, where people could get some decent clothing and other stuff for not-a-lot-of-dough. Then came the bubble, and peopleâ€™s cast-offs were often new-or-nearly-new designer things, as they filled their closets via VISA, and then purged them to make room for the next round. Suddenly, the decent stuff for not-a-lot-of-dough became really nice stuff for not-a-lot-of-dough. Downright boutiquey!
Then, the bubble burst. And the stores became places where people could get nice stuff, even though they didnâ€™t have a lot of money (anymore). It became cool. Go to the ______ store and get a handbag and sweater for a song. Downright chic!
Hereâ€™s the problem. In the past, the organization had to promote its stores just to get traffic, and to fight the â€œcast off used clothingâ€ perception. They never had to promote their primary mission, which is not to re-sell cool old stuff, but to serve a real need within certain segments of the population (neither segment nor need can be named â€¦ sorry). The stores were sort of a combination byproduct and revenue subsidy. Well, suddenly the true mission has been forgotten as the brand has come to stand for awesome boutique-quality thrift stores. As a result, it is very hard for them to convince philanthropic types that they are even non-prophet, let alone that they need donations.
Anyhow, itâ€™s going to be interesting to see how our thinking unfolds as we continue this conversation. Maybe itâ€™s a merchandising approach. Maybe social network. Maybe itâ€™s good old-fashion fund-raising. Whatever it turns out to be, it will be interesting to apply our marketing and creative brain power to making it happen.