Posts Tagged ‘latest trends’

How to Reach Presumers (Pre-Consumers)

 

We have all heard the expression that the customer is always right, and in our current market, the consumer is more in control now than at any time in our history.  Expectations are running at an all-time high as consumers want the best, they want it now and first, and they want a real, human connection, too.

The demand for consumers to be in charge of their purchasing decisions has driven a new phenomenon – consumers are now PRESUMERS.  Rather than waiting for a product to be developed, attending the launch and making an order, consumers are now TELLING companies what products they want, helping to design them, and via crowdsourcing and rampant self-entrepreneurship are doing it for themselves and circumventing traditional methods altogether.

This appeals to a key element of human nature.  We love to get the first look at something – the sneak peek, the insider insight, the first look and PRESUMERS love nothing more than getting involved with, pushing, funding, and promoting products and services before they are available.

So what are the key factors driving this trend towards PRESUMERS?

According to Trendwatching, the five drivers converting consumers into presumers are:

1. FIRSTISM: More, faster, better, special, now

While the desire for something new is, well… nothing new, what is different is how consumers now seek to make purchases and shop in the future tense.  By helping to develop products that are not available yet, they are literally consuming their own future.

2. STORIES: Great story, great status

Having what is new, before it is even available, is all about bragging rights and status for the consumer, so, naturally, being a presumer is the ultimate in consumers showing off. Getting something before everyone else, in fact being involved in developing a new product is the ultimate consumer brag, perfect for sharing via tweet, post, status update and other social media forms.

3. BELONGING – Come together, right now

Being part of the creation of something new gives presumers a sense of belonging to a special and unique club, and given them a a sense of community.  It gives them a bedded-down tie-in with the brand, and with the other consumers who are fellow-advocates.  This investment is likely to have longevity too, as they can become brand disciples potentially for life.

4. OFF = ON – Online is offline is online…

Presumers want the same feeling of ‘special’ they get from their online interactions with brands as they do in a traditional retail setting and the in-store ‘pre-launch’ is the perfect vehicle for this.  They get excellent customer service, they get the new, but it is still ‘in store’.

5. NEW PLATFORMS: Disrupted funding, making and selling

DIY has taken on a whole new life in the world of the presumer.  Platforms such as crowdsourcing have created a new ‘make it yourself’ phenomenon leading to a whole new generation of startup entrepreneurs who are quite literally creating new companies in their bedrooms.  To reinforce the financial power of this trend, it is expected in the USA alone, this trend will raise USD 2.8 billion this year.

So what is the takeaway from this?  It is worthwhile remembering that as consumers become more educated, more mobile and more web-savvy every day, more and more consumers will become PRESUMERS.  And if you don’t give them what they want, now more than ever, they are just as likely to get out there and create it for themselves!


Yours in PR

Billabong Losses: Lessons for Retail


Billabong has today made an announcement like none ever before in its history: a loss.  The downturn in the retail sector in Australia has claimed its most formerly-profitable scalp, proving that even the giants of this sector are not immune to the seed change that has taken place in retail.

What is taking place is nothing less than a revolutionary change in the way that Australians purchase their goods and services.  I listened to Billabong CEO Launa Inman this morning discussing a whole new model for the way that her company approaches new product development.

She has decided to hive off lesser internal brands, and to consolidate the key product offering and focus on what makes and has made Billabong unique, plus when designing new lines that they make a small number and test them before pushing them worldwide through the business.  This makes a lot of sense.

She also spoke about being true to the Billabong brand, which was described so pithily this morning by another analyst as being embodied in the idea that having a ‘board’ makes your life better – be it a surfboard, a skateboard or a snowboard, that’s what Billabong was/is all about.

There is a key insight here in the power of simplicity.  Know what your market edge is, and stay true to your belief in your uniqueness.  In chasing profits, many businesses lose direction when they diversify, when in fact what they need to do is narrow in on what makes them different/better than the others, and then make it even more different/better than before.

The honeymoon for Australian consumers with Billabong is not over.  Far from it.  Cutting their overheads and zeroing in on what it is that they do best, better than any other lifestyle and leisure retail brand, is the path back to profit.  Because when you buy a Billabong shirt, you are buying part of a dream that is wrapped in sun-drenched days, surfer cool and ‘carving it up’ on whichever board you choose.  That is an intangible brand value that has been somewhat lost, but not irretrievably so.

For retailers who are pondering in alarm about the future, the multiplicity and variety of retail point of sale options is an opportunity as well as a threat, and despite the flood of poorly-made cheap imports and knockoffs, a powerful brand still has impact at the till.  With Summer only weeks away, it will be interesting to see if Australian consumers rediscover their love for Billabong, now that it has transformed from ‘local son done good’ to ‘little Aussie battler.’


Yours in PR

Newism: Building the Latest Trends into Your Content


What is NEWISM?  The lure and the appeal of what is new is… well… nothing new.  As humans we are drawn to stock in retail spaces that are in pristine condition and we all breathe in hard our new car smell, but at a more strategic level, in our current short-attention span world, the drive to embrace the ‘new’ has never been so powerful.

According to a new report by TrendWatching.com, NEWism, the latest ‘ism’, is: “is creative destruction, hyper-competition, globalism, consumerism on steroids and a celebration of innovation, all in one.”  They argue that for B2C brands it means capturing and holding consumers’ attention, and although the attention span of consumers is shorter than ever, this creates opportunities for short, sharp bursts of innovation that can pay off.  Big.

Within NEWism itself, there are several observable trends, including: creative/destruction; FSTR (faster); experience cramming; status stream; trysumers and To Have is to (H)old.  Let’s look at these one at a time…

1. CREATIVE > DESTRUCTION

Given more flexible market structures, new products, services and experiences on a daily, if not hourly basis, in every B2C industry, creating a plethora of opportunities for consumers.  If proof were needed of this trend in action, note that the World Intellectual Property Organisation has observed that 2 million patents were applied for in 2010, up from 1.4 million in 2000.

2. FSTR

Everything is getting faster and FSTR, if you will.  The delivery of ease and speed as a market edge has never been stronger – witness the success of Instagram (10 million users in under a year) or Draw Something (35 million users in just 6 weeks!).  The downside is that products can go from ‘hot’ to ‘not’ at just as quickly.

3. EXPERIENCE CRAMMING

The desire to tell interesting STATUS STORIES is further fuelling consumers’ never-ending lust for new experiences, especially acute in a world where so much of identity is expressed online.  Just by posting about the latest trend on social media, from a trusted referrer or source, is enough to create sufficient curiosity to drive increased traffic for a new concept/product/service.

4. STATUS STREAM

As everything is increasingly transient, keeping one’s finger firmly on the pulse of the endless global torrent of new products and services, showing one’s connectedness and being in the know, will be an ever-richer source of social status (especially for SOCIAL-LITE consumers).  Something can never be too ‘new’, apparently and knowledge of the new is increasingly valuable and is the currency of our age.

5. TRYSUMERS

Our new consumer environment is increasingly transparent, with everything now reviewed and rated the moment it’s created, meaning the risk for consumers of trying out something new is approaching zero.  Trysumers are modern-day market testers, working in real time, enabling consumers to experience the ‘new’ with less commitment, and at lower cost.

6. TO HAVE IS TO (H)OLD

New consumers are embracing the trend of devolving themselves of ‘stuff’.  These days consumers rent and/or share everything (from cars to clothes to electronics), get perpetual upgrades and are always a click away from the ‘next’.  Using brand buy-backs, exchange schemes, online platforms and mobile marketplaces, it is smart to offer convenient options for consumers keen to ‘trade in to trade up’ to the new.

Paradoxically, while new has never been so hot in consumer trends, there has been a simultaneous push towards the glorification of all things retro – hence more products than ever are packaged in tins, and the resurgence of such brands as Vita-Mix, KitchenAid and the market appeal of all things ‘vintage’. Even the ‘old’ manufactured to be ‘new-ish’ looking.

So how do we make sense of this lust for both the new and the old simultaneously?  While innovation is valued more than ever, balance this with the idea that ‘heritage’ brands, known to deliver constant, trusted quality and provenance potentially have market appeal that eclipses what is right ‘now’.  In a strange way, the lust for the new also reinforces the power of the tried and true.

So what’s the take-away here?  If brands can harness the drive to innovate and share, and wrap it in the trusted values of the past, there is a winning formula here for increased market penetration across a broad range of industries.


Yours in PR

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