THE NEW ECONOMY IS THE INTERSECTION OF technology and change, said David Solomon, co-CEO of investment firm Lazard Middle Market, during his session at the spring NEMOA conference.

Technology is causing the change in that “everything and everyone is connected,” Solomon said. “It’s not just selling stuff anymore. It’s selling a lifestyle.”

Brand and value are synonymous, Solomon said. “You have to have a very strong brand going forward, or you’ll shrink and someone else will take your place. You want to have a brand that evokes emotion and passion.”

Amid the chaos of the Internet, he added, “brand matters even more. Your brand must take a stand and stake a claim around your value proposition.”

Solomon said that demand will improve when you deliver value to the consumer. And charge the customers for your value, he said: Pricing and gross margin reflect your value-add.

“Great brands usually have gross margins of 40% to 70%,” Solomon said. “Pricing should reflect market value, not cost.”

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