In the middle of the corona crisis and intelligently locked down, there is nothing more left than to overthink the future. Ok, not quite right, as our business continues, as well as hurrying up the kids in doing their online lessons. But still; this weird time frame, where the whole world seems to have come to a sudden standstill, makes the brain work overtime.

At first when thinking about the future, my mind was blank. No thoughts what so ever. Nothing. Luckily the usual business stayed business as usual - except that my team (hero’s!) from one moment to the next worked from home without complaint and any loss of dedication. But what about the new plans, exciting idea’s and businesses we are about to start up!?

How to go?

How to go about when nobody knows if shops will be shops again, whether we will go out to dinner with friends like we used to or how we will look at the world and our needs the moment we will be released? Who will tell us we won’t be locked up again? That we have to close our doors again for some time and snuggle up in our homes until this or some other virus has flown over again. What can we do, knowing this might happen again.

Adapt to what the world longs for

As unpredictability is the most certain factor for the future, the answer on how to cope might be in being hybrid. Always capable to adapt. Like icecream makers who transform into chocolate manufacturers during wintertime. Like beach pavillion owners who earn their money in the summery season and close their doors in winter. Like the ‘slashes’ - people with more than one profession: entrepreneur/speaker/writer/blogger/influencer / / /, all adapting to what the world needs for at a certain moment.

As unpredictability is the most certain factor for the future, the answer on how to cope might be in being hybrid. Always capable to adapt. Like icecream makers who transform into chocolate manufacturers during wintertime.

Let’s take a ride

These adapters make our brains loop on and let’s take a ride. For instance: a store reopens - consumers enjoy the real life experience - back in lockdown again - store closes - brings the experience online - the local shop assisant still serves the consumer and takes him on a virual tour - or drives by with a truck bringing the goods door to door - or launches inspirational magazines or - or - or... And when out of lockdown the store reopens - consumers enjoy the real life experience once again.

Actually, this is what we at Balthazar already have been doing for a bit - from being a creative agency to developing our own brand - because of the lockdown back to the design tables (at home) - and sharpening our strategies - eventually to come back with something new.

Hybrid business

For people as well as brands and businesses a hybrid business model might be the solution. Yes, people do want to go to stores again, go out to dinner, buy new clothes and want to go to work to be among other people. But maybe in a different manner than we used to. Besides producing smaller batches and producing closer to home, hybridity is about being viable and able to adapt. More dynamics in when, where and how to work, develop and deliver.

A new pace and new space

It takes a lot of creativity, entrepreneurship and a great team to accomplish hybridity. Going beyond the strictness of how we used to do things. Finding a new pace and new space for developing what the world longs for.

Updated: Oct 25, 2019

-AN IMAGINARY BRAND- In case of blueprinting a brand, the proof is in the pudding. So let’s take you along on our journey creating an imaginary brand to show the scope in concept development and how the dots can be connected.

We don’t see ourselves driving trucks, but when speaking of ‘time is the new luxury’ and consu­mers wanting it all and wanting it now, a mobile grocery store actually is a great concept that deserves to be reconsidered. In terms of fake it ‘till you make it’; let’s try to get this right-in-time, right-in-place concept up & rolling again.

What’s more to explore? What else could belong to the Walhalla world, when thinking of mobile, groceries, local, lending a helping hand and being inspirational? What could be the growth opportunities?

In Holland we are quite hip & happening when it comes to home deliveries. Already in the seventies we had over 2000 mobile stores (the so called SRV) driving through our country delivering groceries at the door. Everybody back then was familiar with that phenomenon. Nowadays only the elderly make use of this service and because of that, the number has dropped to 200 of these trucks. And even though we think the concept itself isn’t outdated at all, we can imagine why the SRV-wagon has missed the boat.

Every morning a blunt truck drives through the streets of our village. Visualize the yellow plates with names like Dennis, Rick and Daisy behind his windshield and with 10-times-the-life-size veggies on the side. The driver in a blue workman’s jacket, has a small space with cracky shelves in the back of his bus. All piled up with canned goods, chips and crisps, toiletpaper, coffee and everything you can think of. Clients can go up the small stairs into the wagon to do their daily basic shopping, just across the street. Sounds fun; a complete grocery store right at your doorstep. But the funfactor in this particular shop is hard to find. Unfortu­nately the whole phenomenon doesn’t match today’s consumer, this concept deserves to be reconsidered.

Step 1: set your goals

If we were behind the wheel of such a company, we would create a mobile shop that appeals to our needs and longings.

Literally a little cornerstore where we would find the perfect balance between high quality luxury goods and the daily basics. A shop for the last minute solution that saves us from empty glasses when unexpected guests are heading up for a drink. Also a shop we know we can depend on when we just don’t feel like going out to the supermarket at the end of the day. And, if it’s done right, a shop where we would still pop in when it stops in our street, although our pantry is packed and the fridge is full. Just to stroll the shelves, maybe finding something we can’t restist. An easy going, convenient and pleasant grocery hub.

Step 2: get to the core

When overthinking this idea of a drive-by-deli, at the same time our hearts go out to the local stores who already have to deal with declining numbers of customers. Besides, we do love the locals and we do love their products. So why not combine the strengths? A range of the best, successful, most asked for products collected from the beloved stores in the neighbourhood. This in combination with nothing special, but oh so needed basics from the wholesale. Or, if you like, the local independent supermarket. Besides the balanced productrange, service will be highly valued as well. A special app coordinates and communicates with both client and driver, in order to inform and to fulfill the needs. Because of the local factor, of course it’s possible to add some special wishes to your list. And when you’ve missed the bus, just text and the driver will find a way to meet up with you. We could let the app give a beep when the bus turns into your street, but we do love the sound of a real life ringing bell so much. So, we’ll think about that one. Ok, maybe both. But in the end Walhalla is here to help out and provide service. The driver self is from great importancy therefore. Service driven, well informed, dedicated and kind. Always in for a chat and wishing you a happy day in the end.

Step 3: extend your brand

What’s more to explore? What else could belong to the Walhalla world, when thinking of mobile, groceries, local, lending a helping hand and being inspirational? What could be the growth opportunities?

1. Starting point

A grocery truck with a basic range, where local suppliers complement the assortment with luxury products. The assortment will change now and then according to the consumer demands and what the supplier is up to deliver or what he thinks should be tasted and tried. A combination of things you can count on, but also surprises and brings in the fun. Seasonal products like candy canes with Christmas and ice popsicles in summer. There’s also a social aspect; a meeting point for neighbours drinking coffee-to-go prepared on the spot.

2. national expansion

Each town has its own fine local stores and busy inhabitants.

3. magazine

Every self-respecting supermarket has it’s own magazine. Let’s start with a little booklet with local offers, interviews and background information. Sponsored, of course, by the big brands. When going national a serious monthly magazine might be on the horizon. And maybe a cookbook with recipies from our local suppliers.

4. products

Creating our own brand. Besides the branding of bags and mags a range of products of our own.

5. little walhalla

Then there also could be a sunday morning version. A small cute hub only selling coffee-to-go, croissants (and pretzels!?) and fresh pressed juices. Beep the app and the xs version rolls your breakfast almost in bed. On average days, this cubicle stops at schoolyards for moms and dads to buy their coffee-to-go before heading to work. And during the morning coffeebreaks, it pops up at the office complexes.

The future of home deliveries

Walhalla is just an idea and in our imaginary worlds everything is possible. In this case we tried to keep the human aspect alive. We know the robots can’t wait to take over and online shopping and home delivery of your groceries is nothing new. All the great grocers have their own services for that. In Holland we now have Picnic, an online super­market - without physical stores - driving groceries home with electric cars and Amazon did not buy Whole Foods for nothing.

And when it comes to actual stores driving by, there are also new initiatives. Like for instance Buck Mason, the fashion retailer who drives through the USA with a touring bus bringing fashion to the people in towns where they won’t open stores. Recently in the Netherlands a mobile suit supplier drives by offices to help busy businessmen in new suits.

In Shanghai an autonomic mobile store is tested at the moment and what to think of Toyota with its self-driving stores? One thing is for sure. There is something rolling on...

Balthazar Brands

Oud Laren 1 - 1251 BL, Laren 

035  203 10 00 

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