Today brands are expected to do more than generate profit. There is a strong trend towards brands who have a positive social and environmental impact. Consumers are seeking more value from the brands.
There has been a shift in expectations from consumers. They have new and changing interactions with brands and this is having a profound effect on the VALUE they are looking for in a brand. So how do you make a more meaningful brand? There are three key drivers:
1. Global uncertainty
Generally there is a feeling of systemic failures all around the world. There are major political changes in Europe with Brexit and in America with the Trump government policy and ally changes. The ongoing Middle East wars and consequent refugee crisis. Financial instability is a constant uncertainty, whether you are a business owner or employee. Here in Australia there is continued speculation the housing market is about to crash in Sydney and Melbourne whilst in Brisbane there is an over supply of units affecting the market. The effect of pollution on our marine life, the blanket drought conditions throughout 90% of Queensland and a growing mistrust in multinational companies. All this uncertainty is slowly pushing consumers towards Australian owned & made products.
Worldwide we are embracing a massive shift towards new business models. This is called the sharing economy. We see the rise of Uber, She-ber, Airbnb, Amazon, Alibaba, E-bay, Purple Agent, Open Agent, so many industries are undergoing transformation from hotels and taxis to retail and real estate.
These businesses are becoming some of the most valuable brands in the world – and the value is driven by the value to you and me. There is a domino effect in many industries which is changing the way people see the brand and what it can offer them. Content accessibility has changed the way we value services, for example a visit to the doctor is challenged by a search on Dr. Google and who needs a library, a newspaper or a magazine when so much information is at our fingertips. Social media is a major disruptor in the way we communicate and the news that arrives on our phone. Consumers are driving the viewpoint of each other each time they click on an article and the social tentacles are activated to send more of that theme to your social information stream. In 1977 the first personal computer was invented, the next major leap was the creation of the internet in 1989, then we had the launch of the first smart phone in 2007 and 10 years later we have 24/7 information accessibility. Infact it feels like is it chasing us around.
The concept of trust has changed in the past decade and it continues to evolve. People believe reviews and ratings more than they believe in big business, governments and banks. There is a scepticism of traditional institutions where trust was a given. People under the age of 25 are often referred to as ‘digital natives’, immersed in a world that is totally about THIER experience. From this crop of consumers are the ‘prosumers’ – they are 15-24 years old, this is the cutting edge consumer who can influence mainstream consumer behaviours in the future.
Consumers expectations are undergoing ethical changes too. The prosumers are driving mindful consumption behaviours. This means they are seeking the origin of product/ingredients, examining what’s in it, and the impact their purchase has on themselves and the world at large. Brands are expected to provide a more meaningful experience so how do you tick all the boxes? Gaining marketshare means to review your related industry and segment, analyse the experience of personal and collective wellbeing and what your product brings to your consumer.
Prosumers are more connected, more informed, more influential consumers of tomorrow. The traditional consumer demographic definition like status, income, education level, location, etc is transforming and it is time to consider the new consumer – the consumer of tomorrow. Perhaps it is time to review your consumers expectations…
Measure your product performance and reconsider what it truly offers:
– do you sell good quality products?
– are they safe, what kind of additives are there?
– is it a useful product?
– is there a wide range of choice?
– does it deliver what it promises on the pack?
– does the packaging listen to your consumers needs?
– does your brand consider your consumers personal values?
How does your product help your consumer:
– physically: is it ‘good’ for your consumer?
– financially: is it a fair price, is it going to help with the weekly budget?
– intellectually: will it inspire new ideas or develop skills in your consumer?
– socially: will it help to connect your consumer to other people?
– emotionally: does it make people feel happy, proud or offer peace of mind?
– natural: is your packaging recyclable/reusable or reduce waste?
– self: does your consumer feel like your product improves their quality of life?
– proactive: do you offer incentives, rewards or gratitude to your consumer?
What is the collective impact of your product:
– workplace: do you offer a good and fair working environment and conditions?
– community: utilise local suppliers, support a charity/cause?
– economy: are you creating jobs and investing in the Australian economy?
– environment: do you use resources sustainably?
– consumables: is water, solar, electricity used efficiently?
– lawful: are you transparent and honest in all aspects of business with relevant parties?
– ethical: do you take the lead on social issues by embracing diversity and being flexible?
Finally, where do you communicate the positive aspects of your business? And most importantly is that message reaching your consumer?