During most of the 19th and 20th century, the upper class was a homogeneous group – they came from the same residential areas, attended the same schools, lived in one place their entire life, handed their businesses and wealth over to their sons and daughters. Social developments like globalisation, urbanisation and technological advances have all made sure that this is no longer the case – and exclusive members clubs are the first to notice.
On the hunt for experiences
Only five years ago members-only clubs seemed to be leading a fading existence with membership acquisition issues and a desperate need of modernisation. That is until someone decided to revamp the whole concept of clubs to suit the more individualistically minded Millennial and the entrepreneurial-minded Gen X—groups who are know for increasingly measuring status in experiences rather than accumulated wealth.
The realisation is: The one with the most stuff will definitely not win, but rather be bogged down and possibly stopped from actually living life.
The experience economy, the sharing economy, the environmental strains we've put on our planet – it's all building up to the perfect storm. Welcome to a new reality: where money is measured by what you experience with the help of them.
The one with the most stuff will not win, but be bogged down.
The member club pivot
The latest generation of members-only clubs have realised this, and they're opening their doors not to people who may not have the same amount of monetary wealth, but instead to people with shared passions. They have interesting concepts, and they cater to the connected generation. But they are opening at a rate of a dime a dozen, and they cater to a target group that does not appreciate being "like everyone else".
The traditional clubs, on the other hand, might initially survive this pivotal shift based on their long history and distinguished name. But unless they adapt to the changing customer experience expectations of current and future members, they may find themselves fading into obscurity.
Most clubs—new and old—will simply have to face reality, changes in our society are leading to a complete culture shift in the affluent community. There is no way to tell if someone is worth $1M or $100M – and it might not even be relevant.
Show me you know me
Sometimes, humanity is accused of growing more egoistic by the day. It's about "my wants", "my needs". We would beg to differ – it's merely an effect of over three decades of personal data grabbing by every company we encounter in our daily life. When you know everything about me; from digital footprints, customer research, purchase behaviour, facial recognition, etc., I want you, in exchange, to treat me in the way I prefer! There is no longer any excuse for you not to know who I am—and what I want, need, wish—the moment I walk through your door.
As a modern members-only club, you'll need manageable ways to offer a truly personalised membership. One where the frequent traveller family man can jet home in time for ballet lesson – thanks to you. One where the startup CEO will get a gala dress in the right size and colour delivered to her office – thanks to you. One where you use the data you have on your members to make their life easier, better, more fun and more exciting - according to their individual preferences!
Personal relationships will always be relevant - and now technology can enable you to act personal with all 300, or 3000 of your members, without needing to memorise every fact - and without risking that employee turnover results in loss of knowledge.