A new trend in American living called Hiving has been identified by Yankelovich, a marketing consultancy firm. No, this isn't about beehives in the backyard. However, like beehives, Hiving is abuzz with activity. It's all about home-based engagement, interaction and connection with the outside world.
J. Walter Smith, President of Yankelovich, says, "Since 9/11, there has been a lot of publicity about the return to home. It has been described as the new cocooning. But the return to home pre-dated 9/11 and cocooning is not the appropriate metaphor for characterizing the ways in which people are returning home."
Hiving is unlike cocooning, which described how Americans retreated to their home in the late 1980s to disconnect from the world. Hiving, instead, is a phenomenon that connects and engages people.
Smith says, "The return to home today is about reaching out to others. Across all generations, family is more important than ever. People see more value in community. Through Hiving, home is the best place to reestablish relationships and reconnect with others. Home is the command central for this new lifestyle."
Examples of Hiving include TV programs that show how to make the home a more inviting, stylish living space, "family plans" with wireless phone companies to keep family members connected, and the renewed popularity of board games and ping pong tables. The development of lifestyle villages or neo-urbanism, a throwback to the design of early small towns, is also an example of Hiving.
Hiving need not bode poorly for away-from-home location-based leisure facilities. Connection to community is the key to turning hiving into an opportunity for LBLs. Just as lifestyle villages are designed to bring people closer together and create a stronger sense of community, so, too, can LBLs develop themselves as community meeting places with a brand identity that incorporates the community as a part of its brand. This ability is one clear advantage independently owned and operated LBLs have over chains.