The agile consumer #2
It has escaped no marketer’s notice that the consumer is not the same as she once was. There is a new generation of consumers who have been empowered by technology to shift their brand relationship from a mass market consumerism to a relational and purpose-driven consumerism. The brands of the past – Nike, Coke, BMW and, to an extent, Apple – were the product of mass marketing strategies grounded in defendable propositions among audiences that were unable to interrogate further. The marketing story was about claims and perception. Image was everything and reality was hidden far away in sweat shops, balance sheets and laboratories. A mass manufactured product could take on the image of a rural idyl. A Mexican car could be marketed as German engineering. The whole marketing industry was about manipulation of reality using the medium as the message: TV.
Today things are very different.
The agile consumer is the new consumer. A humanist who seeks “the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasizing common human needs, and solely rational ways of solving human problems.”
How far we have come from the belief-driven brands of the last century! The well crafted story in absence of a real truth is inauthentic. The speed with which your consumer will find out about everything you are is astonishing. You have nowhere to hide.
It used to be the case that marketers relied on metrics to deliver an accurate picture of reality. A shift in awareness or an increase in the percentage of people perceiving your brand in a certain light was meaningful. But both the techniques and the speed of those methods of learning are obsolete. You no longer even have time to test that commercial. Imagine testing a Tweet! The agile consumer demands a truthful purpose-driven approach to branding that engages rather than impresses and brings humanism into consumerism.
Much is being written by the measuring class about big data and real time analytics. These are important tools but they do not make decisions. Far from reducing the uncertainty of creative decision making, the agile consumer has amplified it. Purpose-driven brands have a guide rail of ethics and character than enable them to be the product of creative decision making and as agile as the consumer demands.
New times demand new skills and as new brands reach massive valuations in only a short time so old brands are quickly unseated.
The agile consumer is a fast learner, acts quickly and initiates rapid change. The only way to create a long term growth business is to lock into a clear human purpose, adopt humanist principles and respond quickly and creatively to the challenges and opportunities presented.