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When seeking to understanding their customers over the years, brands and organizations have had little option but to rely on blunt instruments and generalized patterns. The valuable work of marketers, analysts and strategists centred on segmenting society into broad groups based on gender, ethnicity or geographic location. These groupings would then inform how products and messaging could be tailored for relevance. In the modern age of data analytics, however, it is not only possible to understand and target an audience of one but it is increasingly becoming the expectation.

From online shopping to online dating, the digital age has introduced people to a range of options that previous generations could only have dreamed of. For every option that is swiped left or scrolled past, there is an array of others waiting that may or may not be better suited to our personal preferences.

Last year threw a spanner in the works of human movement. While we were on an unwavering trajectory towards an urbanised and globalised world, widespread lockdowns sent us back to the confines of our homes, into the borders of our own countries and towards suburbs beyond the cities. With a new balance of working from home and at the office, and real estate booming beyond the major cities, we are seeing a version of our future emerging faster and more differently than we ever could have predicted. The notion of city living is expanding in its definition as are the innovations that are accompanying it.  

COVID has drastically changed the way we shop. Online shopping, direct to consumer business models, curb-side pick up and e-commerce have all skyrocketed in popularity during the pandemic, leaving many businesses scrambling to catch up. With COVID having accelerated the transformation of consumer behaviour, businesses and brands need to move their position in line with the times.

Here are four ways to reposition your business or brand:

More than any other time of history, we have trust issues. As our era has seen so many of the institutions that once stood as societal backbones crumble beneath scandals, lies and alternative facts, the value of trustworthiness has skyrocketed in its scarcity.

Whether in our personal relationships or our interactions with big brands and institutions, trust is the foundation of loyalty, engagement and affinity. This foundation has taken a pounding in recent years – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next decade will undoubtedly be dominated by the large-scale trends we have long anticipated. Driverless cars, passenger drones and the rise of the robots all represent developments that are impossible to miss and will be defining for our era. However, while it’s easy to be dazzled by large-scale trends, it is equally undeniable that some of the most exciting breakthroughs that will shape the coming decade will occur at a much, much smaller scale… in fact, they will be microscopic.

For years, millennials have been the central topic for discussions of marketing, workplace culture and employment. However, while millennials remain crucial to these discussions, our current moment is revealing a new subject of discussion: that is, the millennial’s younger cousin, Gen Z.

It wasn’t always trendy to be sustainable. In the past, speaking and acting on issues of climate change and the environment often rendered you a hippie or a leftie, or worse still, a vegan. However, what was once an issue kept in the margins is now overwhelming the mainstream, with the need for urgent action being widely acknowledged by businesses, leaders and public officials alike.

The empowered consumer is a trend that has been changing the marketplace for years. As consumers have a louder voice, more access to information and a larger array of options than ever before, the relationship between businesses and customers is changing and the balance of power tipping in favour of the customer. COVID accelerated this to a new level altogether.

Among the most significant and lasting changes created by COVID last year was the sudden shift to remote work. Return to offices this year have been varied, and where we will collectively end up in our work life in years to come is proving difficult to predict.

Buying a car has long been esteemed as a core milestone for people of all ages. Many of us fondly remember buying our first car, and we all celebrate the buying of a new one, turning to social media and friends to showcase our shiny new purchase. However, trends of recent and coming years are pointing towards a way of living in which celebrations of these purchases will happen less and less.