Archive for December, 2012

2013 – What Does the Future Hold?

Future Trends
As the year draws close to closing, in our minds we prepare for what the new year will bring, and given this, I thought it opportune to share what the futurists are predicting as the big new trends in consumer behaviour for our immediate future.

A report released by EuroMonitor has revealed their picks for the top 10 trends that will emerge over the next five years, and their list makes for fascinating reading.

Top 10 Trends For the Next Five Years:

1. The search for value: One of the key outcomes of the recession was that consumers reigned in spending and became much more cautious about how, when and where they shopped. With recovery slow and employment high, this thrifty mindset looks set to continue over the next five years.

2. A more cautious approach to credit: Since the start of the recession, consumers in developed markets have prioritised the need to live within their means and have tended to acquire new credit only for larger, specific purchases.

3. People power: In a new age of cautiousness and considered purchasing, consumers no longer take marketing at face value. Individuals are taking it upon themselves to carry out their own research, make their opinions known and take a more active role in product development and promotion.

4. Multicultural consumerism: Societies are becoming more multicultural as developed markets see an influx of migrant workers and foreign students, while existing ethnic populations expand. In the US, babies born to minority groups represented a majority of all births for the first time in 2012.

5. The fight against obesity: Despite the growing trend towards health and wellness, obesity rates have reached record levels and continue to grow, albeit more slowly than before. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity rates have doubled since 1980.

6. New attitudes towards growing old: As populations have aged and society has become more liberal, attitudes towards youth, middle- and old-age have changed markedly, blurring the traditionally-perceived boundaries of age-appropriate fashion and lifestyles.

7. Experience-based consumption: Since the start of recession, consumers in developed markets have focused less on conspicuous consumption and the gain of material possessions, and more on seeking out mood-boosting or even life-changing experiences.

8. The rise in social responsibility: Despite consumers having become more value-conscious since the start of the recession, there are also signs that many have become more compassionate and socially responsible.

9. The chemical backlash: As consumers worry increasingly about their health and wellness and the effects of potentially harmful chemicals found in everyday products, demand for natural ingredients in everything from packaged food to toiletries continues to grow.

10. Mobile cocooning: Consumers worldwide are becoming addicted to smart devices such as mobile phones and tablet computers as they are able to fulfill an ever growing multitude of tasks anywhere and at any time, from shopping, entertaining and networking to banking, education and GPS.

How do you feel about these trend predictions? In my own business and from personal experience I can verify the push towards creating ‘stories’, adding ‘value’, making personal connections through content, and the push towards mobile everything – news, travel, commerce, sales.  As a society, and as business cultures, we are becoming more agile, more value-oriented, more cynical, searching for meaning, and looking for authentic experiences, and this is as true in PR as in any other industry.

How do we translate these general trends into how our consumers research, plan and buy what we have to sell? That is our challenge for 2013.

Are these new trends already affecting your business? Write and let me know!

Publicity Queen
Yours in PR

Turning Loyal Customers into Brand Obsessives

obsession

There is much discussion about how to generate brand loyalty, but increasingly the new yardstick is to recruit customers who don’t just like your brand, or even love it, but are OBSESSED with it.

So, what does this look like – to have brand-obsessed consumers?  You can see it at work when Apple releases a new iteration of  i-devices, with brand disciples literally camping out the night before just to get the latest product.  Riders of Harley-Davidson motorcycles tattoo their bodies with what is essentially a corporate logo, because to them it represents more than a product – it is a statement, a lifestyle, it is key to their very identity.

So, it begs the question – how do you make that intimate connection with a customer?  How do you make them obsessed with you, in a good way?

Award-winning author and CEO of Trend Hunter, Jeremy Gutsche insists to make a powerful connection with consumers, brands must “intimately observe their customer” in order to understand them better,  to discover the right space in which to innovate.

He says the willingness to experiment and the commitment to understanding customers will yield winning results.  He encourages CEOs to ‘win like you are used to it’ and ‘lose like you enjoy it’, advocating that it is only companies who continue to experiment, create new things, have a culture that fosters creativity and are prepared to try and fail, that will be nimble enough to tap into the new generation of consumers, and to keep pace with them as their modes of researching and purchasing goods and services evolves over time.

Sounds chaotic, right? As the current economic environment is more fluid and prone to change that at any other time in our history, with the speed of change only accelerating, change is the only constant that can be depended upon, and smart brands are those that make a cultural and personal connection with their customers that can be built over time, and  is available across a broad range of opportunities for both commerce and sharing.  In short, embrace the chaos.

To see Gutsche’s video in its entirety, click here and I would love to know from you what your business does to create brand obsessives, and how you are coping with the inevitable chaos of commerce.

Publicity Queen
Yours in PR

 

 

 

 

 

Turn the pre-Christmas Slump into a Season of Growth

boost-sales
Many businesses experience a slowdown over Christmas, but there is no reason to just take the foot off the growth pedal at this time of year.

Making the strategic decision to grow your business over the holidays sounds almost counter-intuitive, but making smart moves in December can turn a slump into a spike for your business.  Here are some ideas.

1. Tis the season to be thankful: Over the course of a year business leaders, can engage with hundreds of people, many of whom have gone out of their way to deliver great service.  What better time than now to say thanks for connecting with you over the year.  According to Adam Smith’s law of scarcity, hand written notes are now highly valuable due to their rarity, and at this time of year when people are snowed with off-the-shelf cards and Christmas emails, a personal note with a heart-felt message of appreciation is GOLD and will not go unnoticed.

2. Practice corporate goodwill: Although this time of year is good for planning for the holidays, it is a time when many CEOs do their more general planning for the business as a whole.  If you have someone with whom you would like to collaborate, or to secure as a client, why not put some groundwork in place now to get them on board for the first of the New Year?  Schedule time each day in December prior to the 25th to call a potential client or business partner to wish them the best of the season, and then while debating Noosa vs Mooloolaba as a holiday destination, ask what their plans are for the future, and ask if your business might help them achieve those goals.

3. Networking with nous: there are innumerable Christmas parties coming up, and it can be appealing to try to duck as many of these as possible, but if done correctly, they can set you up for the next year with a host of hot business leads and ideas.  When choosing which invitations to accept, rather than playing it safe and catching up with old acquaintances, make a point of choosing ones where you DON’T know many people and where you will make NEW leads. Before each event, draw up a list of what you want to get out of it, and don’t stop meeting people until you have made a connection worth keeping and set a date to catch up in 2013 to develop those ideas further.

4. Plan your success for the New Year: Spend time reviewing what worked best in your business in 2012, and what you intend to change for 2013, mapping out which resources, people and ideas you need to achieve those aspirations. If you need to acquire new assets to achieve those goals, lock them in place NOW, don’t wait.

By following these easy steps, the pre-Christmas yawn may well be transformed into a eureka as you experience your busiest and most productive time of all.  What a great Christmas present to give to yourself!

Publicity Queen
Yours in PR

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