Cross genres: the new business opportunity

Cross Genres

Consumers are snapping up cross-market products and services, opening up an ocean of new business opportunities for cross genres 

February saw the release of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Based on a New York Times bestseller, the film imagines what might have happened if Jane Austen had dabbled with zombie invasions.

Elsewhere, there is speculation as to whether Facebook, Apple or Google will buy Spotify if record companies decide to cash in their stock after its IPO. And Amazon recently opened a bricks-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle.

Three disparate news stories, all pointing in the same direction: how accepting consumers have become of cross-genre projects.

Older generations of consumers expected brands to remain within boundaries. Today’s consumer is less ‘prejudiced’, more open.

When I was in the music industry in the 1990s, it was virtually impossible to sell artists who didn’t conform to a single genre. But today’s music fans love the likes of Pharrell (hip-hop, R&B, pop, producer) and Taylor Swift (pop, R&B, country).

Meanwhile, the openness of today’s drinks consumer has driven significant sales around flavoured beers, flavoured spirits – even spirit-flavoured beers (or ‘speers’). Kleenex has launched a skincare range. Blog site Tumblr has launched a clothing line designed by its users.

Confectionery? There are now 28 different flavours of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk available in Britain, including Oreo, Ritz Cracker and Dairy Milk Marvellous Smashables Rocky Mallow Road flavour.

In Australia there’s even a Dairy Milk Vegemite. Today’s consumers are giving companies licence to break down barriers, merge genres and create multi-sector products and services around their core strengths. Businesses should embrace the opportunity.

When I was a child, my favourite phrase was “why shouldn’t I?” (I used to claim it showed early interest in innovation; as a parent, all I can think now is how irritating I must have been).

Maybe that should be the cry of chief executives today. “I run cinemas and want to sell DVDs and film-based toys.” “I make healthy food and want to expand into healthcare products.” “I offer financial services and want to work with a partner and offer financial and legal services.” Why shouldn’t they?

About author

William Higham

William Higham

William Higham is the founder and CEO of consumer trends consultancy Next Big Thing.

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