The New Segmentation.
English Cut have thrown down their immaculately tailored gauntlet in reaction to Giorgio Armani's cliched attack on Savile Row. It's good stuff, but I was prompted to ask Hugh MacLeod about his reference to Savile Row's answer when it was surely that of English Cut which, in my eyes, is a very different beast. He demured, as is his way, and told me that English Cut was "VERY MUCH Savile Row but with a different business model."
As an outsider, I see English Cut slightly differently. I see it as the combination of Thomas's Savile Row skills, his creative sensibilities and his personality, all of which are allowed to flourish as a result of his choice of working methods. In turn, these are promoted to new customers in an innovative way that has broken down barriers to entry that ironically were faced by the customers, rather than the seller, when they were confronted by Savile Row or, at least, their (and perhaps Giorgio's) perception of it. In other words, English Cut is Savile Row with attitude. Or maybe that should be without the Savile Row attitude?
It epitomises my belief that increasingly your business can simultaneously be different things to different people depending upon their perception of you. This is emphatically not a contrived, pushed perception, but rather the result of the highly-informed customers' different outlooks on the world.
You're not segmenting customers and offering a differentiated product any more, you're segmenting yourself from all the other providers of related offerings and accordingly customers gravitate to you rather than the alternatives. I would argue that some of English Cut's longer-term customers have a more traditional Savile Row view of their tailor, whereas the newer customers are buying into something else. But they are all receiving the same remarkable suits and legendary service.
With the possible exception of ethical issues, business models are only important internally. Customers don't see a business model, they see a product/service offering - one that is facilitated by the business model you choose to employ. In reality, you're implicitly choosing your customers as much as they're choosing you and this is the precursor to what Seth Godin rightly highlights as focussing on happy constituents.
You pick your customers or rather you make them pick you, and that pretty much ensures they will be happy because you haven't been silly enough to make false promises, have you?