The future belongs to “clean slate brands” – newer brands “untainted” by the legacy of the past, heritage or history, according to www.trendwatching.com’s latest consumer insights report. Consumers perceive newer brands to be more responsive, more transparent and without a legacy of poor business practice.
www.trendwatching.com’s trend drivers are:
1. ‘Lust for the new’
Consumers perceive newer brands to be more nimble, more innovative, more customer-centric without the constraint of legacy systems and processes of the older, more historic brands they compete with. Consumers also like to discover new brands, they are excited by them, more so than brands that are “pushed” to the consumer.
“Thanks to the democratization and globalization of innovation (not to mention the celebration of entrepreneurship), brands and individuals from all corners of the world are now working around the clock to dream up and launch endless new products and services, that are truly better and more exciting than current offerings. Lower barriers to entry have gone from buzzphrase to reality, especially online.”
2. ‘Instant trust’
This focus on “newism” as predicted by www.trendwatching.com in a 2012 report, discounts traditional branding principles of trusted brand legacy and symbols with a solid heritage. “This idea is being swept aside in a business arena now characterized by instant trust – and where big business is mistrusted, particularly after the current recession (banks), business failures or disasters. This trend is most relevant in mature economies, where trust in big business has never been lower: only 28% trust big business in the UK, 30% in Japan, 32% in Australia, 33% in the US and 34% in Canada. In emerging markets however, consumers’ trust levels are much higher: 83% in China, 72% in Turkey, 65% in Brazil and India (Source: Havas, January 2013). www.trendwatching.com pegs four factors as pointing to the preference for “clean slate brands”:
- Immediately known: even brand new brands are immediately shared, liked, tagged, recommended, reviewed. Consumers like being early adopters and 92% trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising (Nielsen, April 2012).
- Born clean: new brands are seen to have new business values with higher environmental, ethical and social standards integrated into the DNA of the company from the start. It is apparent in the number of younger brands gaining traction in the various top 100 brand surveys around the globe.
- Simple truth: Simple, lean, transparent operations are what characterises the operations, supply chain, design and consumer interaction of clean slate brands. Consumers are particularly attracted to such brands after the legion of scandals, from the banking sector to horsemeat in food products and large scale business failures.
- Future faith: consumers like brands that haven’t “sinned” and expect them to conduct themselves properly in the future too. In fact, 64% of global consumers think most companies are only trying to be responsible to improve their image and are not really sincere (Havas Media 2011).
3. ‘Open operation’
Clean slate brands engage with consumers, making them reall feel part of their business success, by connecting with them in a two-way conversation. Asking their opinion, allowing them to participate in major decisions, taking feedback on board and implementing their ideas. “Whether it’s through offering financial support, by helping to shape a brand’s operations, or even by contributing to the product itself, customers of clean slate brands often feel more in control – a basic human desire – and that they have a meaningful relationship with the brand.”
www.trendwatching.com has provided examples of newer, “clean slate brands” that it believes are reaching this new consumer:
- Coffee Joulies, a product which keeps hot beverages hotter for longer, let consumers decide whether it should move its manufacturing from America to a less costly Chinese plant.
- Wewi, an organic soda from Brazil, made with Amazonian guarana.
- Waze, crowd-sourced navigation app that grew from 10 million users to 36 million in 2012, despite asking consumers to disclose personal information.
- Lockitron device and app that allows users to lock, unlock and share access to their front door remotely, was crowdfunded through pre-orders withing 24 hours of launch and within five days of launch, had raised $1.5 million in pre-orders.
- SmartThings allows users to connect physical objects to the internet, enabling them to monitor and control doors, televisions, air conditioning, lights, heaters, etc, via a smartphone app. It also includes notifications when people or pets enter or leave the home. It raised over $1.2 million on Kickstarter and retails at $299.
- 2go is a South African mobile messenger service beating Facebook in Nigeria, with over 10 million users (Facebook has 5 million users in Nigeria).
- Simple: a digital banking start-up focused on customer service.
- TransferWise is a service that connects consumers seeking to exchange Dollars, Pounds and Euros, avoiding bank service fees, commissions and poor rates.
- Snapchat is a photo sharing app that allows a user to view a pic for a few seconds before it destructs. Growth has been explosive, with up to 50 million images being processed each day.
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