Get your Brand moving

01 Jun 2012|Added Value

Historically, brands have been able to get away with simply setting out their stall in a prominent place, ensuring people thought they were the best and waiting for the custom to flood in. Sure, this is an oversimplified view. But today the way we choose the brands we do is complicated by many new cultural factors, one of which is physical and virtual ‘mobility’. If brands don’t pay attention to where and how people  get access to the things they need, they risk missing out on growth opportunities and even losing existing share.

It’s a big question, and, of course, it’s changing fast. The way we think about where we are, where we’re going, how we’ll get there – let alone the brands we’ll encounter along the way – is making us think twice about the brands we choose to make that journey easy and more enjoyable.  People are becoming increasingly less predictable in their movements, both virtual and physical. And this mobility is not just about changes in technology, but is affected by a range of cultural factors.

Think of the ‘Stay-cation’ for instance where people decide to holiday at home instead of abroad. Or imagine if the number of cyclists doubled in a major city – what affect would this have upon advertising spend in public transport?

Let’s look at just three of the key trends that might affect mobility now and in the future, and the questions these raise for a brand seeking to find growth today.

1. Localism: You may think you know how important ‘local’ is but it’s becoming increasingly radical. Driven by transition town movements and other such local community initiatives,  consumers’ immediate neighbourhoods have never been more important. Take a visit to Brixton Village Market in London and in particular the Cornercopia restaurant to discover a vibrant and quickly developing local community tucking into a meal where all the ingredients are sourced on the doorstep is the norm.  These places will require entirely new strategies for brands to access the spending power within them.

2. Catch it while you can: Pop Up restaurants and short term art events have created a new paradigm for events and experiences.  People are actively seeking out short lived events for the thrill of cunningly finding something ephemeral. With boldness way beyond the niche, companies such as online discount service Groupon clearly tap into this desire for the fleeting. This is not about limited edition; it is about genuinely unique experiences. How can a large brand get the attention of people  who would rather travel half way across their city to get something genuinely different than settle for something easily replicable and all too comfortable on their doorstep?

3. Plugged in: Both of the trends already mentioned have benefited massively from digital technology, which has put the power back in the hands of the consumer. They no longer need to blindly trust big brands but can compare notes online and seek out exactly what they want. Today mobile technology renders this kind of decision-making ubiquitous. Why visit a chain store when you can find a local specialist boutique around the next corner?  In response, chains like Tesco in Korea have made it possible for commuters heading home to buy goods on underground platforms, simply by scanning images on their mobile phones. The way technology is changing and the way that people  are embracing it presents endless opportunities for growth, for savvy brands willing to evolve.

The upshot is that if you look closely at what’s happening in culture there are clear patterns in how consumers and the cultural environment are changing.  And if you identify, understand and act on these patterns quickly, the likelihood of creating lasting growth is far greater.

1. Cornercopia restaurant inside Brixton Village use locally sourced produce 2. Singapore Takeout: pop-up resturant went on a global tour to promote Singapore's cuisine 3. South Koreans using smartphones to grocery shop from Tesco while commuting using QR codes

Written by Sam Barton, Added Value UK

Sam works in our Cultural Insight team who are constantly looking for ways to see differently and think differently about the way the world is changing and the impact this has on brands. If you’d like to know more get in touch with Sam at s.barton@added-value.com. And take a look at the blog at www.culturalinsight.com for daily inspiration.

(Image source: brixtoncornercopia.ning.com, inhabitat.com, newworldofwork.co.uk)

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