An article came out recently on citylab.com that was entitled, “Are Gourmet Grocery Stores Gentrifying Neighborhoods?”
I was intrigued.
We know that we all chose the area we live in very carefully, considering everything from schools to traffic to convenience to life activities. Per this article, it seems that now more than ever before, we are choosing neighborhoods that fit our personal brand, and we want to surround ourselves with businesses that share our values.
Many have debunked or challenged the influence that generational mindsets, desires and habits have on buying habits in retail. I think it is fair to say that we can no longer ignore the fact that we live in a new paradigm. Gone are the days when business tell us what we want, how we should dress, act and eat and now it is the generational makeup, values, beliefs and lifestyles that are shaping the way business connect with the consumer.
As a growing business, it is important to know what values, activities, and traits of consumers we should all pay attention to as we shape our current and future branding and development activities.
Social responsibility and impact
It is a proven fact that businesses that have authentic social impact cultures and share them with customers command more loyalty, respect and value. There have been studies that found that all attributes being equal – taste, benefit, price and more – a product with a social impact component will win on shelf or online. Consumers of today want transparency, knowledge, authenticity and purpose. That is not to say that the purpose must be grand, but it has to be there and be relevant. There is a growing movement in the industry to create products and services that intertwine purpose into their strategic plans and business models – both for customer value and internal employee value and retention. It is time to ask yourself, how is my company integrating this new mindset, and if they aren’t, why not?
Health and balance
What consumers wanted in products in the past was much simpler – cost value, taste, convenience and a clear reason for purchase (think: low fat, super indulgent etc.) Today, what consumers want is far from simple. How do you blend health with great taste, convenience with environmentally responsible, and free from everything with cost value? It is hard. Some companies are doing a great job, others not so much. I wish I could say I have the magic answer on how to do this, but savvy, authentic and honest communication helps to set expectations, build trust and ultimately build brand equity. And package design is an essential component of all of this J
I have said this a million times, but we can no longer market to a white woman age 18-65. Our world is global with diversity in gender, race, ethnicity, wealth, values and taste profiles. We need to take the time to get to know who the ideal target customer is and what they truly want – and own it! Yes, it may narrow the market a bit, but it will ultimately create for more consistent, loyal customers and more reliable and stable businesses, outlets from which you can plan growth.
From a marketing perspective, we need to start to think about employing strategies that are “hyper local” versus broad and bland. Hispanic Millennials are at the center of this marketing trend demanding more customization and attention played to their uniqueness.
This new paradigm will over the next 10 years will change the way we go to market, create products and distribute them. Feathers will be ruffled, and those that keep an open mind, look to the future, and embrace it will endure.
What other factors do you think will play a big role in brand development in the future? As a consumer, what do you look for in a company or brand? How does your individual lifestyle affect your business choices? I’d love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts in the comment section below!