August 2011 | Instead of bringing you yet another Big New Trend, we thought we'd make your life (somewhat) easier with executive summaries of all of 2011's Trend Briefings.
So, refresh yourself with the theory (CITYSUMERS! MADE FOR CHINA! THE F-FACTOR!), scan the many examples, and get ready for a breathless remainder of 2011.
Introduction | We're past mid-year, and 2011 has so far proven to be as hectic, turbulent, threatening and promising as expected. And there's certainly no shortage of innovation, of brands doing interesting things (sometimes on very low budgets), and of emerging consumer trends begging to be capitalized on.
So get a comfy chair or lounger, and catch up on all of 2011's Trend Briefings.
There will never be a shortage of smart ventures, brands, goods and services that deliver on consumers' wants and needs in surprising, new ways. In fact, with the entire world now engaged in creative destruction, check out INNOVATION EXTRAVAGANZA: our annual round up of dozens of must see innovations from around the world, as well as the (mini) consumer trends that spawned them. From CASH-LESS to NOW-OR-NEVER COMMERCE. And remember, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Invent, imitate, improve… or perish.
Consumers are tapping into their networks of friends, fans, and followers to discover, discuss and purchase goods and services in ever-more sophisticated ways. As a result, it's never been more important for brands to make sure they too have THE F-FACTOR.
Five of the ways that THE F-FACTOR influences consumption behavior:
- F-DISCOVERY: How consumers discover new products and services by relying on their social networks.
- F-RATED: How consumers will increasingly (and automatically) receive targeted ratings, recommendations and reviews from their social networks.
- F-FEEDBACK: New ways in which consumers can ask their friends and followers to improve and validate their buying decisions.
- F-TOGETHER: How shopping is becoming increasingly social, even when consumers and their peers are not physically together.
- F-ME: How consumers' social networks are literally being turned into products and services.
And don't miss the 40+ examples of platforms such as Polyvore, Svpply and Boutiques, innovations from Facebook, Microsoft and Google, and products, services and tools from brands such as Diesel, Macy's and Disney that all have THE F-FACTOR.
For consumers long used to (and annoyed by) distant, inflexible and self-serving corporations, any acts of kindness by brands will be gratefully received. For brands, increasingly open communications both with and between consumers (especially online), means that it's never been easier to surprise and delight audiences with R.A.K.: whether sending gifts, responding to publicly expressed moods or just showing that they care.
Now is the ideal moment to engage in some R.A.K:
- HUMAN TOUCH | Consumers increasingly want to see the human side of brands (or if indeed a brand has a human side at all ;-), making R.A.K. more welcome than ever.
- PUTTING IT OUT THERE | Audiences are publicly disclosing more and more personal information on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, about their lives, moods and whereabouts, both current and intended, enabling R.A.K. to be more relevant.
- PASS IT ON | More consumers than ever are now sharing their experiences with their friends and wider audiences on social networks, meaning R.A.K. can spread far beyond the original recipients.
Included are 20+ examples of brands from L'Oreal to Kraft to Heineken to Procter & Gamble reaching out and surprising consumers with generous gestures.
As rapid urbanization is one of the biggest macro trends of our time, brands can't go wrong innovating for existing and newly minted 'CITYSUMERS': the hundreds of millions (and growing!) of experienced and sophisticated urbanites, from San Francisco to Shanghai to São Paulo.
Driving the CITYSUMERS trend:
- URBAN BOOM | Close to 180,000 people move into cities daily, adding roughly 60 million new urban dwellers each year. And, while 'traditional' global powerhouses such as New York, London and Paris are already sharing the stage with Beijing, Mumbai and Istanbul, increasingly cities such as Belem, Chongqing and Guadalajara are ready to make their mark.
- URBAN MIGHT | Rich in networks and opportunities, cities act as magnets, sucking in talent and spewing out innovation. The result? Increased wealth and power of cities and those who live in them.
- URBANE | Urban culture and values now dominate. The fast pace and ever-present (commercial) temptations of urban life mean that CITYSUMERS are addicted to the here-and-now, experiences, choice and freedom, flexibility and rawness, unrestricted opportunity, and yes, the hunt for the Next Big Thing if not the Next Big Story.
All of which make consumers even more demanding and more open-minded, but also more proud, more connected, more spontaneous and more try-out-prone: CITYSUMERS will eagerly snap up a whole host of new urban goods, services, experiences, campaigns and conversations. Learn from the 50+ examples from brands such as DKNY, Dior, Audi, BMW, IKEA, DHL, KFC, Starbucks, Nike and Adidas, who are already tailoring their products and campaigns to savvy urban audiences.
While consumer trends obviously don't just 'emerge' on January 1 and end on December 31, we opened the year with our annual look at some of the key trends that are driving consumers in 2011.
We're happy to note that they still 'hold', eight months later:
- RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS: Companies monitoring consumers' public moods and surprising them with random acts of kindness... marketing may never be the same ;-) Read more »
- URBANOMICS: Looks at the effects of rapid global urbanization: hundreds of millions of more daring, more experienced consumers... Read more »
- PRICING PANDEMONIUM: Yes, consumers have always looked for deals and discounts, but flash and member sales, group buying and GPS-driven deals are unleashing total PRICING PANDEMONIUM… Read more »
- MADE FOR CHINA (IF NOT BRIC): Expect an increasing number of 'Western' brands to launch new products or even new brands dedicated (if not paying proper respect) to consumers in emerging markets... Read more »
- ONLINE STATUS SYMBOLS: Online-living (if not loving) customers will embrace any kind of symbol (virtual or 'real world'), that helps them display to peers their online contributions, creations or popularity... Read more »
- WELLTHY: Consumers will increasingly expect health products and services to improve their quality of life, and be fun, rather than merely treating illnesses and ailments... Read more »
- SOCIAL-LITES AND TWINSUMERS: Even more consumers will become curators: broadcasting, compiling, commenting, sharing and recommending content, products, purchases, and experiences to both their friends and wider audiences... Read more »
- EMERGING GENEROSITY: Brands and wealthy individuals from emerging markets (yes, especially China) will increasingly be expected to give, donate, care and sympathize versus just sell and take. And not just in their home countries, but on a global scale... Read more »
- PLANNED SPONTANEITY: With lifestyles having become fragmented, with dense urban environments offering consumers any number of instantly available options, and with cell/smartphones having created a generation who have little experience of making (or sticking to) rigid plans, consumers will embrace full-on PLANNED SPONTANEITY... Read more »
- ECO SUPERIOR: When it comes to 'green consumption', expect a rise in ECO-SUPERIOR products: products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way... Read more »
- OWNER-LESS: With big brands and governments putting their weight behind sharing and renting, OWNER-LESS models are tipping into mainstream consumer consciousness... Read more »
2011 sure ain't over yet. Stay tuned for our new September 2011 Trend Briefing: if you haven't signed up to receive a notification, please do so here. Until then, good luck with catching up, plotting, planning, and applying.