Capturing The Discerning Consumer

WORDS BY SIMON MORTIMER

Capturing The Discerning Consumer

How to make sure you're resonating with your Audience.

The success of a brand lays in determining the right audience. We need to understand the values and beliefs of the consumer in order to create a meaningful and emotional connection. The consumer has gone beyond purchasing products based on functionality, looks, or price. The engagement between consumer and brands has evolved.

Today we are witnessing a change in brand behavior. Brands are taking a stance on global, social and environmental issues, the latest being Nike's campaign with Colin Kaepernick and Adidas' shoe, made entirely of ocean plastic in partnership with Parley. If you're unfamiliar with Parley, I suggest checking them out. www.parley.tv/#fortheoceans

Why are brands shifting their values? As Gen Z and millennials represent the largest spending power, controlling the market, brands are adjusting their values to align with those consumers. Gen Z and Millennials are conscious about where they invest their hard earned money. Challenging brands on their corporate social responsibility (CSR). Gen Z and Millennials are using their spending power as a currency to vote for change, and so we should. With societal and environmental issues on the rise, we need to take extra responsibility and understand the value of our purchasing power. 

It all boils down to purpose. Are brands contributing to our quality of life and well-being? Are they making the efforts and decisions we value? Are they the voice and advocates we need for change? 

I have to wonder when brands invest in creating recyclable or sustainable products, for example, Adidas' Parley shoe. Is this just a marketing initiative? How much do they really care, is this just to create further brand awareness, scratching the surface of mindful environmental products? I feel like they just want to do enough to show that they're taking part in sustainability conversation.  After developing this technology to create a trainer made from ocean plastics why hasn't this been implemented into the majority of their products? I think there is definitely value in creating a conscious collection. Giving consumers the option to shop a range of sustainable items or even the opportunity to recycle past garments. This is where I think Allbirds are creating real impact and connection with their consumers. They are completely transparent about where materials are being sourced from and how products are made. Allbirds have built their business around sustainability and being environmentally conscious.

It doesn't stop there. The consumer has come to expect more and more from brands. Gen Z and Millennials are motivated by unique branded experiences. With an emphasis on product stories, transparency in ethically sourced materials, and fair wages. Consumers are demanding brands to be more transparent about their products and services, becoming a determining factor in their decision-making process. Not only is there a big push for transparency but also personalization, we've seen brands like Nike reinvent there store time after time, giving consumers new reasons to engage, with personalization stations being part of that in-store experience. Offering consumer membership services, styling sessions, and the opportunities to get creative with personalized footwear and clothing.  

What have we learned? 

1. Understand who your consumer is, what are their values and what's important to them.  Use this information to align your business values and objectives with your consumer.

2. Make sure that you're giving the best consumer experience, whether that's online or in-store? Consider ways in which we can engage audiences on different levels, offering new experiences each time they interact with the brand.

3. Be transparent. Don't hide anything and create stories about your products or services. The Consumer wants product education before they buy. 

4. Think about how your product or service contributes value to the life and well-being of your consumer. Do you bring a purpose?

5. How can we touch the audience on a personal level, make every consumer feel like they're a VIP? Collecting data on your audience will help you personalize your brand's offering. Find out, when's the consumers birthday, what do they value, invite them to a product launch, share information with them before it becomes public, offer a reward scheme to VIP customers?