Trendcentral.com has surveyed 900 14- to 34-year-old consumers, and utilized an online community for qualitative research, to uncover the key social movements that are impacting the Gen Y world. The emerging macro-trends that they believe will resonate for years to come, are according to trendcentral:
- The emergence of a new form of virtual consumption in which consumers “claim” ownership of identity-defining objects, images, experiences, and ideas, without accumulating an abundance of physical goods. This POSTconsumption gives rise to a new way of shopping, as a diminishing brick-and-mortar “hunting-gathering” experience increasingly shifts to the Web.
- The real-time Web has broken down the wall between corporations and consumers, shifting brands into the role of companions. Indeed, brands are now able to converse, listen, hang out, “friend” consumers, and forge more intimate one-to-one relationships, compelling young consumers to think of them as trusted friends. Today, companies that strive to be Brand Friends Forever—or BFF—must wholly develop their human sides, and act more like people than inanimate institutions.
- Young consumers catalog life events as they happen, and thus have built an ongoing, open archive of personal history: a store of digital memory. As such, their bygone experiences have an increased presence—and relevance—in everyday life. To acknowledge the emergence of this PAST PRESENCE, marketers will not only have to refer to and draw from Gen Ys’ histories but also tap into their own, highlighting brand heritage and eliciting inspiration and ideas from the ever-present past.
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I (of course) find the part about BFF most interesting. As an advocate for Love Branding where rbands love consumers equally rather than demanding love from the crowd, I will always promote this kind of thinking.
Brands need to step down from their high horses and hang out with people if they are to survive in the new marketing environment where people are marketing peer-to-peer and brands no longer can pay themselves to attention by buying ads. In the future, all marketers need to be smarter.
If a brand is lacking a core, if it doesn´t know who it is underneath, if it doesn´t have confidence, but try to please everybody, it will fail. BIG. Brands that survive in the world where the consumer is queen and a single person can start a crisis by writing a few words on a blog or in a tweet, no money can save the brand that is an insecure yes-sayer.
It´s like with Chinese whispers; if the message is unclear it will end up completely different at the other end. Today, when people interpret brands and spread the word as they please, they almost need to be hypnotized. Mass advertising has a place in this, if it is not changed every week when the client hires a new brand manager. Choose a smell, a sound, a colour, a message, a vibe - and stick with it. Make sure it all make sense and aligns with what the brand stands for. As if it was a person. A BFF - like that one :) Then be where people are and tell them over and over who you are; it will make them feel safe, as if they can trust you.
See it as a plant. If a brand is marketed with simple, clear words and visuals it will have stronger roots. If it has no values, no beliefs or if it has a brand essence including a list of 20 features or so, it will sway in the wind. People will pull it out of the ground and run. It will bloom for a few days and then...
Strong brands: consistency, deep values, strong mission, a purpose, a willingness to serve and love
Week brands: fluffy rational USP´s, focus on product, focus on themselves, follows every little trend
It may sound contradictory, but in the future also need to be better listeners. They have to be sensitive to people´s views and feelings. They should have a strong core and a firm way of communicating with us, but at the same time they should be clever in HOW to talk to us. A leader will not change her mind or personality, but talk to people on their level; in one way if they are upset, in another if they are happy; in one way to 14 year olds and another to 80 year olds. Same brand, but different mood. Brands should vary their ways towards subgroups, individuals and micro cultures. It will therefore be more clever, more creative, more of a facilitator or a coach than of a rock star.
In line with the weakening of the white Western culture, we will also experience a shift in the way products are sold, and the looks of people at the office... Young, white, middle-class, trendy boys can´t be the source of insights and ideas for all...
What do you think? Agree? Disagree?