Niche, artisanal, indie, hand-crafted are increasingly popular – and generally nobody wants to be perceived this way more than gigantic brands who are finding themselves out of step with what consumers value today.
We love small brands more than big ones because they are often more creative, bigger risk-takers and they have that elusive quality that makes them special. I just found this great article in The Guardian about wine. The insights they offer about why small is so appealing in that category are applicable across a broad spectrum of products:
Small production implies rarity – a valuable asset for any business, whether they’re targeting the status-symbol-obsessed rich on the hunt for exclusivity, or the obscurer-than-thou wine obsessive who will only drink something they’ve “discovered” before anyone else. It also speaks directly to the idea that small is beautiful in a moral as well as aesthetic sense, that a wine made by a farmer tending their own patch will always be better (for the farmer, the environment and in the glass). And, of course, more “authentic” than one produced by a large corporation.