Below, you’ll find a collection of South & Central American innovations which are (re)defining customer expectations. These innovations – and the 5 big consumer trends they represent – show you glimpses of what your customers will want next.
From DISRUPTIVE BRANDS to CAPACITY CAPTURE, getting familiar with these 5 trends will help you stay ahead of accelerating expectations, and lead YOU to actionable innovation opportunities.
Readers who are serious about understanding the direction of consumerism across multiple dimensions will have already spotted that these trends don’t sit in splendid isolation. They are a handful of near-future fragments of the Bigger Picture (more on that below). But each one is also a killer opportunity to take to your team right now.
So: read, think, debate. Then get going with building brands that matter, products that delight and campaigns that people can't stop talking about!
Across SCA, DISRUPTIVE BRANDS have entered the consumer landscape, radically shifted their typically traditional markets and rapidly attracted legions of devoted customers.
Consumers are drawn to these companies for their cheap(er) products, hassle-free models, and efficient service channels. Not to mention that they often perceive these new businesses to be more fun than the region's established (read: stale) brands. Customers’ expectations? Completely rewritten.
The ripple effect created by DISRUPTIVE BRANDS who have successfully hacked their sector causes consumers to challenge the preconceived notions of how every brand in every sector operates. South & Central America has been particularly receptive to disruption thanks to frustration with large institutions (both political and commercial). In Brazil, 29% of consumers have absolute distrust in information from companies (IPG New Realities Study, August 2016). New entrants have different ways of thinking; they are a breath of fresh air for stagnant industries.
In 2017, major businesses – from telecom giants to national banks – will find that their clients aren’t as entrenched as their infrastructure. Scale and heritage offer no protection – the only solution will be to relentlessly adapt to changing expectations.
September 2016 saw Brazil-based startup Nubank launch a reward system for select early users. The bank, which charges no annual fees and has no physical branches, stated the scheme was designed to be different to any current offering on the market and was in line with its values of transparency, simplicity and efficiency. Unlike current banking rewards systems that typically offer objective discounts, Nubank Rewards converts every Real spent into points used to pay debts on the credit card. Nubank was founded in 2014 and currently has over 450,000 people on a waitlist for accounts.
In October 2016, Chile-based telecoms company WOM announced a 516% increase since its launch in September 2015. WOM, or Word of Mouth, labels itself as an honest brand striving to revolutionize the telecommunications market. The mobile company focuses on data, service and convenient prices and utilizes humorous adverts that poke fun at competitors.
Chile-based Mis Abogados expanded into Mexico in February 2016. The on-demand system connects citizens with registered and accredited lawyers over the phone to aid in legal matters ranging from divorces to traffic tickets. The platform searches its network and recommends legal professions that fit within a consumer’s budget and needs. Payments can be made in instalments, and Mis Abogados monitors progress and communication to ensure transparency.
How can your brand adapt?
Success as a DISRUPTIVE BRAND in the SCA region may involve drastic shifts in how you currently operate. The first step is to recognize your own vulnerability in the marketplace.
Our model of Trend-Driven Innovation is built on the urgency of identifying when entrepreneurs, competitors and businesses around the world bring a better way of doing something to the consumer. Can your team truly dissect which brands (large and small, local and global) are handling pricing, product design, customer service, delivery or marketing better? Your organization must learn from them all and make sure that, rather than falling short of changing expectations (and begging for disruption), it is adapting and driving them higher. No, it isn't easy, but it's your only option going forward.
The divisions between producers and consumers, brands and customers will continue to blur.
At TrendWatching, we've been tracking the global evolution of (F)EMPOWERMENT and witnessed how women across South & Central America have found themselves increasingly empowered and respected by modern organizations.
In 2017, brands will broaden their scope even further, to offer EQUALIZATIONALL services, products, marketing and experiences that appeal to groups who were previously left behind or marginalized.
Traditionally, products, services and marketing initiatives in SCA were targeted towards a very homogenous group of people and were not inclusive to the region's diverse array of segments, whether that was new fathers or disconnected rural inhabitants. In 2017, brands must urgently break from this reductionist view of the marketplace.
This goes far beyond inclusive advertising or product offerings. SCA brands' internal cultures are also under scrutiny from the public eye, thanks to increasing transparency and the region’s vigilance on social media (as some of the most active users in the world). In countries plagued by wage gaps and exploitation of labor, consumers are paying close attention to how brands treat their employees. Going forward, every element of your business has to be EQUALIZATIONALL.
In August 2016, Samsung created a campaign enabling people in distant parts of Brazil to experience the Olympic Games – even though they weren’t in Rio de Janeiro. Via the Samsung Gear VR headset, members of an indigenous tribe, as well as individuals working on fruit and flower farms, could try a virtual reality experience – viewing Olympics events in 360-degrees. The VR footage included the opening ceremony, volleyball games and gymnastics finals, and could also be viewed on social networks.
In October 2016, Colombia-based Davivienda Bank launched several new services tailored to the banking needs of hearing and visually impaired persons. Implemented in the bank’s mobile app and call service, specialized labels, screen reader and facial recognition services are set be released in its entirety in January 2017.
From June 2016, men working for Natura can take up to 40 days of paid paternity leave. The Brazilian beauty brand’s policy also applies in cases of adoption and to same-sex couples. The paternity leave policy is part of Natura’s aim to achieve gender equality, and fathers can also use their vacation allowance to extend time off to up to 70 days.
There are a vast numbers of ignored and underserved groups in South & Central America. Yet this means there are endless ways to innovate around this trend.
What would your market look like if equality impacted the way every single consumer was recognized, treated and served? This needn’t be a rhetorical exercise or feel like a distant utopia. Identify those who are currently left behind by brands and show them the respect they deserve. They, and those outside their group, will reward you with love (and spending!) for proving your brand exists to better the lives of ALL it serves.
Time to throw out the old demographic models of consumer behavior.
In 2017, BUILT-IN BRANDS will look to their existing service channels and offerings for creative ways to better utilize resources and provide more (yes, more!) to their consumers.
Life moves quickly in SCA, and citizens do their best to cram as many experiences as possible into their day. That's why they'll appreciate brands that go the extra mile and help them push that further. Yet delighting time-starved customers isn't the only reason to embrace this trend in 2017. Brands that figure out how to take advantage of their existing channels (or hijack another organization's) can expand their reach without making risky or large-scale investments in new infrastructure. In a region where multiple countries face political unrest and/or economic uncertainty, the BUILT-IN strategy is especially prudent!
But remember: for consumers, BUILT-IN BRANDS are all about efficiency and accessibility. Latin America’s urban population is growing at a rate of 1.5% per year and is projected to account for nearly 90% of the region’s population in the coming decades. With fast-paced, competitive city-living, convenience is key and SCA's consumers will delight in time or effort saved.
In October 2016, BBVA ATM’s in Peru sold tickets for a high-demand soccer match between Peru and Brazil. Consumers purchased a maximum of two tickets and selected seats from 50 specialized kiosks placed throughout Lima. In an effort to avoid any lines or crowds, the company stated a confirmation voucher could be redeemed with identification at any teleticket module before the official sale of tickets begins.
In May 2016, Tramontina launched the Test Drive For Good campaign for its Trotter lawn mower model in São Paulo. Consumers tested the Brazilian home and garden brand’s device at poorly-kept city parks that needed landscaping. Prices for the riding mower start from around BRL 17,000 (USD 5,000).
In May 2016, Reebok transformed six bus shelters in Colombia into outdoor gyms as part of the athletic brand’s The Gym is Everywhere campaign. Personal trainers were on hand to show commuters how to use the station to work out, and encourage them to spend time exercising while waiting for their bus.
Look to your existing channels. Can they be repurposed for marketing, sales or even customer service? And look at other brand's channels in other sectors – that might be the key to reaching and delighting consumers before your competitors. Just remember: becoming a BUILT-IN BRAND is about providing more. As SCA consumers feel increasingly time-pressed, seamless efficiency and convenience become ever-more desirable.
OK, we admit it, this trend isn't just about convenience... it's about fun, too!
Can you playfully build in bonus value during otherwise wasted time (as Reebok did with the daily commute) or add surprising offerings onto frequently-visited under-utilized spaces (as BBVA did with the ATM)?
better business —
Why 'good' business will be good for business.
An entrepreneurial spirit (born from desire and necessity) will strengthen in SCA in 2017, led by armies of BATALLADORES EMERGENTES!
The growing desire for autonomy in work has two major drivers. Firstly, high unemployment rates and economic troubles continue to plague multiple parts of the region with varying degrees of severity. According to the World Economic Forum, youth unemployment (or informal employment) is uniquely high in Latin America. As a result, the gig economy in Latin America is urgently appealing to citizens.
Secondly, the pursuit of self-employment has been turbo-charged by the pervasiveness of (comparatively) affordable smartphones that allow participants to make any moment or task an opportunity to gain value. Meanwhile, mobile payments are flourishing and powering transactions. What's next for tech-powered entrepreneurial empowerment? See Deco the chatbot below for one idea.
BATALLADORES EMERGENTES aren't waiting for companies, NGOs or governments to help them – they are getting to work. But that doesn't mean they won't welcome your support to make the leap from cogs in the gig economy to fully-fledged founders ;)
In October 2016, Brazil-based Fundação Telefônica launched Deco: a Facebook Messenger chatbot designed to educate young entrepreneurs. Deco links and guides professionals though 10 videos featuring testimonials from successful local entrepreneurs across multiple industries. Viewers are linked to information on entrepreneurship and the institute’s projects on the company’s website. Fundação Telefônica’s president stated that the company hopes that 50,000 young professionals will view seven of the 10 videos before the end of 2016.
In June 2016, France-based global innovation network NUMA saw its campaign fully crowdfunded for a co-working space in Mexico City. Designed for entrepreneurs, the NUMA Startup Mansion features high-speed wifi, a startup garage, a multipurpose courtyard and a café. People need to check in to the co-working space on social media in exchange for free access.
In October 2016, Colombia-based Banco de Bogotá introduced Pymercado: a social networking platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The site focuses on networking opportunities and serves as a space for small businesses to showcase their services to broader domestic and international audiences. The bank stated that businesses can build a profile, similar to LinkedIn or Facebook, and post announcements to its influential user base.
Identify any barriers that might stand between citizens and their desires to be successful in their own right. Is there a way for your brand to be involved in the development of their business venture? Perhaps your brand can partner with startups, offer incentives or simply provide a (physical or digital) space for productive conversations. These entrepreneurs may launch their own DISRUPTIVE BRANDS that shake up entire industries – smart SCA brands will get on their side ;)
Another way for brands to get in on the action? Create a PEER ARMY: a network of connected peers that can deliver wide-reaching value for customers (be sure to reward them adequately!).
The divisions between producers and consumers, brands and customers will continue to blur.
In 2017, smart SCA brands will capture idle capacity and claim lost value from wasted resources –all for the good of society and the planet. While BUILT-IN BRANDS surprise and delight through innovative channels, CAPACITY CAPTURE is about creating a guilt-free form of consumerism.
The business models and cultural impact of the sharing economy grow ever stronger (in Brazil, even kids can use a bikeshare). The concept of resource maximization, paired with access-over-ownership consumerism, has radically altered Latin Americans' expectations around utilization and waste. Inhabitants have grown accustomed to the idea that they can use cars by the minute, access office space by the hour, eat food cooked by a neighbor and more... Within that context, 'traditional' business processes appear increasingly wasteful. And no modern consumer is comfortable with the social, ethical and environmental implications of waste!
See how the below brands are already tapping CAPACITY CAPTURE by minimizing waste and offering consumers guilt-free options.
A scheme to create cotton yarn from the spinning wheel of an exercise bike was launched in Brazil during June 2016. A partnership between Smart Fit and Italian fitness equipment brand Technogym, the project allows cotton to be produced while the static exercise bike is being used The resulting yarn is exchanged for warm garments, which is delivered to a local organization distributing clothing and food directly to the homeless in São Paulo.
The Arena of the Future (used during Rio’s Olympic and Paralympic games) was constructed specially so that it can be repurposed. Its materials can be converted into four state schools, each with a capacity for 500 students. The 12,000-seat steel structures, including ramps and rain-screen cladding were designed to be easily dismantled, transported and reassembled.
May 2016 saw São Paulo-based food bank Banco de Alimentos launch Reverse Delivery: an initiative that harnesses the power of the thousands of delivery drivers that return empty-handed after dropping off food. Participating restaurants (there are currently more than 35 signed up) ask the customer if they want to donate any food. The driver then collects the items from the customer when they deliver the meal and takes it back to the restaurant, where it is picked up by Banco de Alimentos and distributed to those in need.
A hyper-transparent marketplace means SCA consumers are more aware than ever before of wasteful business models. Now, they expect all brands to utilize their resources as efficiently as possible for the good of the world around them.
One way to unlock CAPACITY CAPTURE? Examine your production and delivery cycles for space to effectively claim value in lost resources. If you're feeling really ambitious heading into 2017, why not provide the guilt-free consumption of a CAPACITY CAPTURE initiative whilst simultaneously providing the convenience of a BUILT-IN BRAND? Go on, give it a shot!
better business —
Why 'good' business will be good for business.
The not-so-secret secret to spotting trends (including the five in this Trend Briefing)?
Stop watching customers and start watching the innovations – products, services, campaigns – flooding into the market now. Draw lines between similar innovations, and interrogate them for the new customer expectations they're helping to create. If that sounds like your thing, you'll find the end-to-end guide to our complete methodology in our book, Trend-Driven Innovation.
But your next question might be 'how do we process the thousands of innovations out there?' Well, it helps to have a Trend Framework...
Too often, professional trend watchers imply they have an inherent gift that enables them to divine the future. Now, we don’t want to be the ones to spoil the party, but the five trends you’ve just read didn’t just emerge from a top-secret, caffeine-fueled brainstorming session.
We map all the expectation-changing innovations we spot against our Trend Framework: 16 mega-trends – the big, slow-moving currents – that, taken together, form our complete picture of consumerism today and where it's heading.
Having a robust and comprehensive Trend Framework allows us to assess the implications of the hundreds, if not thousands, of innovations we see on a daily basis and that we receive from TW:IN (TrendWatching's global network of spotters) every day.
You’ll now understand how, while tracking sustainability-focused initiatives as part of our BETTER BUSINESS mega-trend, identifying a cluster of innovations which disrupt customer expectations around utilization and waste led us to the CAPACITY CAPTURE trend.
Check out the interactive visualization below that shows how this all comes together for clients of our TW:Premium service, who get full access to the 16 mega-trends, 120+ trends and 15,000+ innovations in our online platform.
Note: the visualization below contains innovations added in the last three months.
The 5 trends featured here are important, but they represent just a small fraction of the consumer landscape. Clients of our TW:Premium service get full access to all the 16 mega-trends, 120+ trends and 15,000+ innovations in our online platform, as shown below.
Note: the visualization below only contains innovations added in the last 3 months. But you get the idea :)
While it‘s our job just to watch trends, ambitious business professionals should read these trends with only one thing in mind: how to apply these trends and create compelling new innovations that will delight your customers (and win new ones!).
We can help with that too!
Yes, customers have never been more demanding. Yes, there's never been more competition. Blah blah blah. None of this is going away in 2017 (or 2018, or 2019...). However, trends are the secret weapon that help you turn this overwhelm to your advantage. But you already knew that ;)
So, take our CONSUMER TREND CANVAS, a free one-page guide to analyzing and applying trends. Dive into its simple, practical, step-by-step process to creating innovations that are deeply grounded in what customers want, desire and expect. Then win.