Thursday, May 16, 2013

Live from FOCI 13: Tap into Consumer Trends and Spur Innovation

Trendwatching. Done it for fashion and food, and now time to do it for the consumer landscape. Henry Mason gives an insightful slice of what the upcoming trends are and how brands can benefit from them. 


Macro trends - business and strategic
Consumer trends - what consumer desire
Industry trends - developments in product categories

Trendwatching can be used to better society and gratify consumers, as well as gain profits from consequentially satisfied consumers.Vision, new business concepts, new products or services or experiences, alongside marketing and advertising needs to all resonate with consumers to make them understand that you are living their trends.

Here are some key consumer trends:

Pretail
Is this the end of retail? Crowdfunding platforms are the new shopping malls. This flips the production process and raises opportunities for designers or startups.

Custowners
Consumers who move from passiely consuming to funding and investing in the brands they buy from. For example, give consumers interest in store credit, or investing in sustainable communities, with a consequential holiday reward (versus a no-return charity donation).

Again Made Here
Customize and readily made items in front of you. Consumers like to see sourcing that is local, even if it is manufactured on the spot, which lowers product turnaround and satisfies consumers with specific, tailored and niche products.

Safety Net
Consumers like to know they are safe. And technology can help this be more accessible to boost awareness.

Full Frontal
Most consumers need to understand exactly what you are doing as a company, and what social-environment targets you have. Consumers want to see the back-end factory works. To enhance loyalty, this is essential for guaranteeing consumer loyalty.

Demanding Brands
If consumers see brands as an ethic journey, brands are aware that they cannot do it themselves, and will need to earn the participation of the consumer. Think of Japanese restaurants who fine consumers for leaving food behind.

Consumer trends ultimately need to excite your consumers and be relevant to them. Reminds me of my article on a complex modern shopping trip.



Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh.

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