Lets get the month going by connecting a few dots.
A few days ago we were reading a perspective from Seth Godin, which immediately started connecting dots for us.
"Hundreds of years ago, Hermes and Louis Vuitton started out as luxury makers of tools. If you needed a saddle or a suitcase, they offered an extraordinary option, both elite and useful.
Over time, they shifted gears, no longer competing on whether or not their luggage was the most useful, or their saddles the most efficient. They competed on luxury, which is a fundamentally different promise than the optimal design of a tool."
A few decades ago a Mercedes-Benz was a luxury tool in North America, a W116 (450SEL) was the supreme luxury tool (sedan) it did everything well, was the ideal compromise, and you could drive it flat out for hours.
It had shortcomings, but the overall package was superlative for its time compared to other offerings. Yes...it was expensive, it was exclusive, and it did its job very well. It was the ideal tool of the time, with compelling street presence. In addition to having a serious f...k you factor.
The W116 morphed into the W126 (560SEL) which was a refined tool compared to the W116, and the rest is history as they say.
The other day coming up to the rear of a novel CUV, yes there are a ton of CUV's on the road. What is this "thing" as the GLA250 appears on the tailgate and the immediate thought of "It looks Japanese or Korean" then from the rear view mirror the grille seemed out of place.
The luxury brand (being optimistic) might be there, but the luxury tool aspect is long gone.
Swiss watches are luxury tools, no one needs an expensive Swiss watch to tell the time, when a smart phone is more accurate. The maintenance on a luxury Swiss watch buys several watches.
Fine writing instruments are luxury tools. This mechanical pencil does a better job than most mechanical pencils, and its reflected in the price.
Its fascinating to watch the automotive migration from luxury tool, to luxury, to premium economy.