Manufacturers Should Adapt To Smaller Client Worlds
Today's market is defined by fragmentation. This diversity of tastes, values, ideologies and lifestyles creates a complex operating environment for brands. The universal mass market America, defined by a common aspiration narrative, has given way to a nation of smaller worlds. Today's consumer is infinitely complex. Traditional means of segmenting consumers such as age, income, gender and race are no longer enough. An exponentially fragmented consumer requires an equally complex strategic approach to business.
The US MONITOR data clearly illustrates the decline of a collective American culture. Differences of this magnitude are not common, and after 20 years of general stability, in which two-thirds of Americans felt we all shared the same values, that national number barely hovers above 50% and even falls into the minority of millennials and generation X.
It's something that people openly acknowledge as well. They merge into smaller worlds of common interests, influences, and information that reflect and support existing tastes, preferences, and beliefs. A look at the cultural discourse suggests that these preferences will not return to their previous incarnations in the near future either. This reality complicates the equation for brands and companies that run the risk of losing stake to more agile competitors who are adapting to smaller worlds.
Then the question arises: How do brands stay relevant in smaller worlds? Fortunately, this new environment, while complicated, offers opportunities.
Brands as unifiers
For starters, companies need to step up their efforts to find these smaller worlds, which means rethinking traditional segmentation. Even strategies like geographic targeting are affected by the shift to smaller worlds – the values of those who live in cities, and even in certain neighborhoods, can differ significantly from those in their vicinity. Modern technology enables micro-targeting to reach these consumers, but requires special attention to the specificity of targeting, marketing and messaging.
On the other hand, many Americans are still striving for more togetherness. In other words, divided smaller worlds offer companies the opportunity to act as unity. And our data backs it up. Two thirds of Americans believe that we will resolve our cultural and political differences. A similar percentage also believe brands will play an important role.
This means that the real business opportunity is to bring people together under a great tent of connection – to create unity out of division and give Americans a reason to believe in what is possible.
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