Mildberry brand building solutions

TRENDS OF CHANGES IN CUSTOMER SELF-IDENTIFICATION

Figuring out how to handle the new level of customer awareness and individual trends behind it.

Customer as an Expert


Customers` level of expertise and knowledge achieved unprecedented levels thanks to the Internet. According to Google, the number of search queries with the word "best" has increased by 80% in 2015—2017. Customers conduct their own research before buying even minor products, such as a hand cream.

Back to Basics — New Definition of Status Consumption


Growth in such categories as craft drinks, cosmetics with natural ingredients, local food, and other demonstrates the shift from superficial consumption to conscious consumption, taking us back to the past, in a way (chapter Back to Basics for Status, Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2019, Euromonitor). Individuality, simplicity, and authenticity are now in fashion. For example, the success of the American brand Tito's Handmade Vodka is thanks to their "homemade" production and broadcasting the authentic and unique story of the company. Another prominent illustration from beauty industry is Loli Beauty, a skincare toolbox consisting of organic components in bio-degradable or recyclable packaging. By choosing such products, customers can demonstrate to the world their new identity, a new status. Being conscious and selective, knowing how to separate the wheat from the chaff is the new expression of status.

Conscious consumption


Sustainable production and consumption become more popular. Zero plastic in favor of bio-degradable or recyclable materials, ban on animal testing, increasing number of vegetarians and vegans among young people in developing countries — these phenomena will behave a continuous influence on brand communications in food, clothing, and other markets.

Corporate Social Responsibility


According to the poll by Wolff Ollins, staff treatment in the company is important for 37% of respondents, while customer treatment matters for only 27%. It is a vivid example of how modern consumers make brands responsible for creating a positive social climate, assign them to be agents of cultural changes in society.

Companies that treat their staff as individuals and create opportunities for growth and self-expression will be more popular among customers. Everyone likes buying products made by happy people.

Self-Reliance


Customers have become more self-relying when determining the rules of choosing products and services. They have less trust in middlemen, in particular, brands that promote their product or service in aggressive ways. It can be illustrated by the growing popularity of such mobile apps as Vivino and Spoon Guru. People come to a store, scan products, examine the list of ingredients and read reviews right there. Sometimes such apps won't even show you a product if it doesn't fit into the diet or concept system established by the customers themselves.

Peer Orientation


According to the 2018 research by PwC, social media have become the main purchase drive (37%) and even beat online stores in this respect (32%). Customers are more likely to take cues from their newsfeed when choosing a product. Naturally, a brand needs to start cooperating with influencers as early as at the development stage.

Gender Neutrality


The poll among customers from 13 to 20 years old showed that 70% prefer gender neutral products. Masculinity and femininity remain to be distinguishable but the company needs to keep in mind that opposite gender might consider using traditionally "male" and "female" cosmetics. Examples: a traditionally "male" brand Dick's Sporting Goods promotes a female collection, gender-neutral clothing by Celine Dion nununu, Dr. Bonner soap, and many other. It is also possible that soon the so-called "pink tax" will disappear ("pink tax" is the extra price charged for female-oriented products compared to male-oriented).

Single and Happy


According to Euromonitor, by 2030, 30% of households will be people who prefer to stay single. Singles are 10—15% less inclined to buy long-life products, as well as trendy and organic goods. Besides, they are harder to get involved in long-term loyalty programs. Single lifestyle is more popular and less stigmatized in society, which means that brands need to focus on consumption trends among these "proud singles" by broadcasting positive attitude to their lifestyle and meeting their demands.

Age is Just a Number


Now, 25% of European population are 60 and older. Brought up in consumer diversity, in good health, thanks to achievements of medicine, and still curious about life, they don't see themselves as old people. According to the poll of baby-boomers (now 54—74 y.o.) by Euromonitor, 35% said that they focus on taking the best from life and aren't worried about the future; 46% are sure that their choices and actions can change the world for the better. When communicating with this audience, brands must avoid "elderly" positioning, offer services related to staying active and exploring various food, cultural, and social experiences, focusing on interactions with other generations. Examples of this are the Papa start-up,Coboc brand,  Cognifit app for maintaining brain activity, and other.

Right Here, Right Now


Customers want fast shipping and immediate solutions for any issues. In 2018, 41% of respondents said they would pay more for same-day shipping, while 49% of respondents of ages 30—44 confidently said they would pay extra for any services that help them save time. Time is new money. A vivid example of this shift to zero-touch consumption is the new store format Amazon Go. And the most popular goods category in it appeared to be ready-to-eat food.

JOMO


The wellness trend Joy of Missing Out (JOMO) formed as a response to stress from informational overload. In Q1 2018, an average adult American spent 3 hours and 48 minutes looking at the screen, which is 13 minutes more than in the previous quarter.

More and more people consciously opt for offline experience. Detox tours, handmade crafts, group cooking, paper books are just some example. In general, the wellness component will become more frequent in offers of experience providers. We can expect major changes in interior design. Air filters, controlled intensity and temperature of light, hypoallergenic finishing materials — the general trend of "staywell rooms" is growing popular.

Subscription on Future


Skepticism of millenials towards expensive one-time purchases opens new horizons for industries that can offer subscription instead of goods. According to Landor agency, in 2019 we will see subscription becoming a norm for the majority of consumption sectors. In addition to Microsoft Office 365, Netflix and similar services, there are more radical examples: food, airline tickets (Surf Air — Netflix-style subscription for private flying), even cars ( Access by BMW). On-demand use, zero operation costs, wide range of positions within the subscription become solid arguments to choose subscriptions. The goal of a brand is to demonstrate a new level of personal freedom that a subscription can give to their customers.

Conclusion


These trends demonstrate profound changes in individual consciousness of people. As a consequence, these changes manifest themselves in customer habits and expectations from brands. Since modern consumers feel a growing antipathy towards everything fake, demand that people and companies "be real", only the brands that share these values and can differentiate between these concepts will be able to retain customers in the future.