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10 Realities That Change Everything

February 29, 2012

If you are trying to break through and get noticed with a New Market message, you might want to take a look at the results from this study, conducted by these guys, who are in the global media services business.  The post is entitled,  10 Consumer Trends Wreaking Havoc On Brands, but we’d actually argue these trends apply not only to Consumer brands but  Business-focused brands as well.  Let’s face it, whether B2C or B2B, the folks New Market Entrepreneurs are trying to reach are human.  And the issues this study sites are realities we are all grappling with.  (the bold is our emphasis)

1. Frustration Nation

Consumers are frustrated. They’re irritated with institutions and tepid about companies. This trend is a result of the economic downturn’s disproportionate impact on lower and middle income consumers and a feeling of being ignored by institutions and, at times, companies.  Trust in institutions continues to fall (e.g. only 32% of Americans trust the banks, 9% trust the government, source: Mindshare)) and, more worryingly, we’ve seen a recent deterioration in love for brands. We’re in a period of disengaged materialism.

2. The Human Touch

A repercussion of consumer frustration is an increasing reliance on other people, which has, in turn, created a desire to have humans at the center of brand experiences. Some brands are responding by reinvesting in both offline and online customer service.  The desire for the human touch isn’t just limited to other humans. Technology itself is becoming more human-like, and marketers need to do a better job of incorporating the human touch into their brand experiences in 2012.   Bloggers note:  see this post and/or Virtualyty.com

3. Life on Pause

In today’s environment, many consumers find themselves at a standstill.  For many this is the pause in the American dream, for others it’s a pause in starting their adult lives or ending their working lives. For brands this means communicating with new and altered life stages, an ongoing focus on value, and changing media behaviors.

4. Rising Stars

We see ongoing shifts in the mainstreaming of Hispanic and LGBT consumers.  Women continue to assert their dominance over the entertainment industry, and returning veterans have a distinct set of issues and needs. These shifting groups create new brand and communications opportunities.

5. Generation Nice

Highly social adolescents are increasingly focused on responsibility, fairness, and being nice – values marketers will need to understand further as they engage with this new generation of consumers.

6. The New Tube

The role of the TV set will continue to morph closer to the PC screen, while Internet properties such as Netflix are developing original content and social networking sites such as Facebook increasingly act as a distribution business. Not to be outdone, big retailers like Wal-Mart are looking for a piece of the pie with their own platforms, such as Vudu.

7. Pocket Money

Smartphones are fundamentally changing the consumer purchase experience. From an in-store research tool to a payment device that replaces the wallet to an e-commerce channel,mobile devices are becoming an integral part of the customer journey for many consumers.

8. Visualize This

Culture is increasingly visual. The video lifestyle is upon us as devices create more occasions to consume, create visual content and express ourselves. Social media is the catalyst to taking andsharing photos, and smartphones make it instantaneous and fun. We also see visualization increasing in data infographics, and in the enduring sharing of photoshopped images and GIFs which create a level of expression, often viral and socially relevant. Brands need to embrace the trend and be as visually compelling as possible.

9. Backtrack

An ongoing sense of anxiety means consumers are yearning for past times of authenticity and calm.  This manifests itself in the view of the 1990s as the ‘new 1950s’ – when the world was last prosperous – as well as the desire for the products and entertainment of childhood.

10. Life is a Game

Tough, uncertain times create a desire for escape and levity. This is partly unveiled as a desire to play and have fun. In addition, play and fun are a means to satisfy the desire for human interaction (see the Human Touch trend). We see games and entertainment entering consumer spheres that are generally seen as chore-like, or low engagement, such as health and grocery shopping. This means opportunities for brands to put play and game-like ideas at the center of their strategic communications.

We are wondering what you think of this list?  Any you disagree with?  Anything missing?

As for us, many of these new realities resonate deeply.  In fact, projects we are currently incubating in the social mobile,  social gaming, and virtual customer/prospect self service space tap deeply into trends 2, 6, 7, 8 and 10.

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