Canadian Rental Service

Editorial: March 2013

Patrick Flannery   

Features Business Intelligence

How can we tell a fad from a trend – or a trend from a “new normal”?

How can we tell a fad from a trend – or a trend from a “new normal”?

in Motion launched its new BlackBerry smartphone at the SuperBowl
amidst pressure from analysts saying this was the Waterloo Ont.,
company’s last chance to regain relevance in the mobile device market.
It’s hard to believe the once-dominant high-tech giant has come to such
straits. Just three or four years ago I remember trendy young marketing
people at trade shows squealing about the joys of Tweeting on their
BlackBerrys. Having at the time only a boring old cellphone and no solid
idea of what Twitter was, I felt quite the dinosaur. Today, none of
those people would be caught dead within Bluetooth range of a
BlackBerry. They are now only for old corporate fuddy-duddies like me.

of the advantages of dinosaur status (aside from the cool tail and back
spikes) is possession of a certain perspective on the shifting sands of
fashion and trend. It is possible, almost, to detect which new things
will excite people for a while then go away, and which stand a chance of
hanging around and perhaps even becoming part of the permanent scenery.

It turns out that substance is important. Even young trade show
squealers are not complete idiots and will eventually come to their
senses and walk away from a product that isn’t working for them. In the
case of BlackBerry, its dismal web page rendering made it useless for
much of what the kids wanted to do on mobile. If a product is all sizzle
and no steak, eventually it will cool off and no one will eat it.
Twitter’s value proposition was not evident at first, but once
newsmakers started using it to broadcast headlines and post links to new
content, it began to deliver real value to busy people in need of a
quick look at their interests. Twitter has some substance to back up its
aspiration to become a permanent part of the landscape. “Gangnam Style”
rapper Psy, not so much.


Nowhere is trend and fashion more important
than in the avant garde world of party and event rentals. The party
rental operator must be able to deliver the last thing a bride or event
organizer saw on TV or risk losing the business. Yet, the smart event
rental house remembers the importance of substance, and keeps on hand a
wide selection of the sturdy, the versatile and the tried-and-true.

issue’s cover story is an example of a tremendously effective fusion of
these two approaches. Location Gervais is nearly 100 years old – a
Quebec institution that has become event organizers’ go-to place for all
the supplies they need.

Whatever they require, they know they can go to
Gervais and find a solid, dependable product on inventory because
Gervais is built on substance. Luxe Rentals, on the other hand, is not
only caught up with the trends, but also sets the trends with creative,
high-profile event triumphs. Its customers come away with ideas they
didn’t know they had. Now under the same roof, it seems a safe bet that
Location Gervais and Luxe will continue to be a part of the Canadian
rental landscape for some time to come.

Would you consider your operation to be more about style or substance?

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