Octavian, along with Sacha Declomesnil, is one of the foremost social media experts we have here in Montreal. He's also a smart guy and decent human being. And every time I collide with an intelligent person, I leave with new ideas. Sometimes theirs, sometimes mine and more often than not, a mix of both.
One of the ideas we succinctly explored that morning stuck with me and I'm sharing it with you as is. Now, I don't have any data to support it and I didn't do any research. It is just my antennas buzzing.
Mom and Pop Strike Back - The Revenge of Local Commerce
The last 25 years or so were the realm of anonymity, information overload and faceless corporations. A fertile ground for the rise of worldwide retail brands like Starbucks, McDonalds, Wal-Mart, etc. It was not always the best choice available, but in doubt, it was a safe bet. Good perceived value.
When you were in an unfamiliar part of town or in another city, trusting the small shop was a big risk. Most people went for the safe choice with the brand they knew.
What has changed? I'd like to say: everything! But I'll be more specific: mobility, Internet, peer review and social media.
What if I'm lost far away from home and looking for a restaurant. That small café next to a Big McDonald has a name. I can ask my contacts via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook and get an answer in seconds. I can check the café's review in a dozen of websites or apps like Trip Advisor, Yelp, Dine.com and Urbanspoon.
All of a sudden, I don't have to take a risk anymore. The McMeal is no longer the only safe alternative.
What if the small shop can't afford the costly location on the main avenues? Hey, I have a GPS in my car and on my smartphone that will direct me to it.
Times are changing.
I smell a better future for the Mom and Pop shops.