Eleven Trends for 2011

Eleven key consumer trends to watch in 2011 include acts of kindness from brands, the developed world launching products for emerging economies, and online status symbols, according to consumer insights firm trendwatching.com.

Following is a brief overview of each of the 11 consumer trends which trendwatching.com predicts will have a global impact on marketers in 2011.

1.Random acts of kindness: Consumers’ cravings for realness, for the human touch, ensure that everything from brands randomly picking up the tab to sending a surprise gift will be one of the most effective ways to connect with (potential) customers in 2011, especially beleaguered consumers in North America, Europe and Japan.

trendwatching.com advises that the rapid spread of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook among consumers gives brands previously unavailable insight into their moods, wants and locations, and also provides a new direct channel to deliver acts of kindness.

2.Urbanization: Urbanization remains one of the absolute mega trends for the coming decade, with about the global population currently living in urban areas. Urban consumers tend to be more daring, more liberal, more tolerant, more experienced, more prone to trying out new products and services. In emerging markets, these effects tend to be even more pronounced, with new arrivals finding themselves distanced from traditional social and familial structures, while constantly exposed to a wider range of alternatives.

3.Pricing Pandemonium: Mobile devices and social networks allow consumers to constantly receive targeted offers and discounts, even at the point of sale from a rival brand, as well as join interest groups. Brands should target consumers with offers and features such as instant mobile coupons and discounts, online group discounts, flash sales, and dynamic pricing based on real-time supply and demand.

4.Made for China/Emerging Economies: In 2011, expect an increasing number of ‘Western’ brands to launch new products or even new brands dedicated to consumers in emerging markets. Growth in consumer spending in emerging markets far outpaces consumer spending in developed markets, and Western brands are favored more than local brands in emerging markets. Western brands including Levi-Strauss, Apple and BMW have already capitalized on this trend.

5.Online Status Symbols: In 2011, trendwatching.com recommends that brands supply customers with any kind of symbol, virtual or ‘real world,’ that helps them display to peers their online contributions, interestingness, creations or popularity. This includes personalized social networking memorabilia as well as location-based games and contests which award virtual or real-world prizes.

6.’Wellthy:’ Growing numbers of consumers will expect health products and services in 2011 to prevent misery if not improve their quality of life, rather than merely treating illnesses and ailments. Products such as mobile health monitoring devices, as well as online health apps and health-dedicated social networks, will serve the multichannel wellness needs of consumers.

7.‘Twin-sumers’ and ‘Social-lites:’ Both of these types of online consumers identified by trendwatching.com are critical to spreading positive word-of-mouth recommendations. Twin-sumers are consumers with similar consumer patterns, likes and dislikes, and who are hence valuable sources for recommendations on what to buy and experience, while social-lites are consumers who consistently broadcast information to a wide range of associates online.

8.Emerging Generosity: This trend is about brands and wealthy individuals from emerging markets (especially China) who will increasingly be expected to give, donate, care and sympathize, as opposed to just sell and take. And not just in their home countries, but on a global scale. It’s a profound cultural change and a consumer demand that their counterparts in mature markets have had a few years to getting used to.

9.Planned Spontaneity: With lifestyles having become fragmented, with dense urban environments offering consumers any number of instantly available options, and with cell /smartphones having created a generation who have little experience of making (or sticking to) rigid plans, 2011 will see what trendwatching.com calls full-on “planned spontaneity.”

Brands can expect to see consumers in 2011 rushing to sign up to services (the planned part) that allow for endless and almost effortless mass mingling with friends, family, colleagues or strangers (the spontaneity part). A developing segment of this trend is consumers signing up for mobile services that passively and constantly broadcast their location.

10.Eco-Superior: When it comes to ‘green consumption’, brands should expect a rise in “eco-superior” products; products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way. Trendwatching.com says brands should think of a combination of eco-friendly yet superior functionality, superior design, and/or superior savings.

11:Owner-less: Fractional ownership and lifestyle leasing business models have re-emerged, with services such as car-sharing and public bike programs enjoying success around the globe. For many consumers, access is better than ownership.

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Mad Men shill for Unilever

Unilever Launches ‘Mad Men’ Blitz
Says a spokesman” “Unilever created the vignettes to showcase its iconic brands and celebrate their heritage on a hit show that is culturally relevant to consumers today. Consumers are craving nostalgia. The featured brands are prominent today and were popular in the 1960s, when ‘Mad Men’ is set.” Interestingly, the first reactions from viewers and bloggers haven’t been positive, with complaints about how the ads too closely mimic the show. On the “Mad Men” Facebook page: “Who is Dove soap trying to fool with that fake Mad Men commercial!? That is how I felt, like Dove was trying to steal Mad Men’s thunder!’.

And there’s more: “Despite hating the weak, we-suckered-you-into-watching-our commercial, Dove did generate some talk about … Still, subconsciously, I’m sure next time I buy soap I will see the Dove brand and automatically think SCAM ARTISTS and buy Ivory instead.” A blogger griped, “I usually love Dove commercials but I found this one to be way off-target from their ‘women loving themselves’ branding.

    Dove ‘Mad Men’ Commercial Causes Controversy; Unilever Says It’s Witty Parody (stylelist.com)
    Dove make ads just for Mad Men, women have the ideas, get no credit (adland.tv)
    More Fake ‘Mad Men’; More Real Ads (mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com)
    Advertising: Commercials in ‘Mad Men’ Style, Created for the Series (nytimes.com)

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    Absolut Branded Entertainment: Spike Jonze and Jay-Z

    Spike Jonze & Absolut’s free web film features robot love, long wait times but no Absolut
    Absolut vodka and agency TBWA/Chiat/Day tapped director Spike Jonze to create a branded short — minus the branding — to premiere at Sundance. The film, “I’m Here,” follows an android who falls in love; the brand associations are attached through other marketing efforts around the film. “This is an emotional expression of the brand,” Absolut’s Anna Malmhake says. “None of us could see what a shot of the vodka would have added.” Anna’s right … but isn’t that the point of “branded” entertainment? The trick is to make sure that there is some link … and its not just an unrelated effort.

    The Jay-Z Empire State Explored in Full Absolut Vodka Film
    TBWA\New York (OMC) enlisted the directing services of noted music photographer Danny Clinch, who delves into the rapper/mogul’s Empire State of mind and gives us a glimpse at his preparation for a September 11 benefit concert, which took place at Madison Square Garden last year and helped kick off the Absolut Concert Series. Nice to see my old friend Colby in the credits!

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    Design: Amy Winehouse and Fred Perry, Vulva Original

    Fred Perry, the sports label favoured by mods, rude boys and Northern Soul fans, has collaborated on a new collection with soul singer Amy Winehouse. The womenswear collection will be based on Winehouse’s own 1950s-inspired style and will comprise 17 pieces, including polo shirts and skirts. The brand has signed up Winehouse, who designed a capsule collection for fashion label PPQ last year, for four seasons.

    Scent Of A Vagina
    German company Vivaeros has developed a cologne for men (and probably some women) that smells like vagina! Head of the company Guido Lenssen says they developed the Vulva Original by taking a combination of urine, sweat, and female arousal from women of all ages.

    Amy Winehouse to unveil fashion collection (guardian.co.uk)
    Amy Winehouse Launches Fred Perry Clothing Line (pastemagazine.com)
    Amy Winehouse Partners With Fred Perry for Fashion Collection (shoppingblog.com)
    Amy Winehouse Fashion Line in the Works (justjared.buzznet.com)
    Amy Winehouse to turn fashion designer with own collection (telegraph.co.uk)

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    Recession: Unbranded Couch-Potatoism …

    Consumers are defecting from iconic CPG brands as they try to save money by purchasing less-expensive store and private-label brands. While this trend is not new, it has become more pervasive since the economic downturn started in December 2007, per eMarketer. In fact, 59 percent of U.S. consumers reported having switched to store brand food and household products over the past six months, according to a May 2009 study by ICOM.


    Recession Intensifies ‘Couch Potatoism’ as TV, Internet Converge
    Some 26% more Americans chose TV as their favorite type of media than they did last year, according to a new study by Deloitte, which lends credence to the theory that the recession has intensified America’s love for television. The study revealed that more than 70% of respondents ranked TV among their top-three favorite media activities; 34% placed it at the top of the list. TV also snared more than double the numbers of the second most popular media choice, the internet, which came in at 14%, according to MediaBuyerPlanner.

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    OK, so maybe digital agencies *are* able to lead …

    I have penned (rather, copied and pasted) a few lines on this topic before … now I notice yet another article about whether Digital shops are ready to take lead agency /AoR positions for clients. This time AdWeek‘s Brian Morrissey chips in, saying that “Web Shops Go From Underdogs to Top Dogs”.

    “While digital shops have fared better than their traditional counterparts in recent years, a hot-button question points to their still-debated status: Can these agencies move beyond their primary role of tech jockeys to become leaders of brand strategy? R/GA has attacked this question head on by winning lead agency assignments from Ameriprise Financial as its lead shop. Such assignments are still the exception to the rule. Yet the general expectation is that the number of these jobs will increase, particularly as digital initiatives become core not only as marketing channels, but as internal drivers of innovation.”

    Well, a couple of things…

    1. Does it make sense these days to differentiate digital and traditional shops (except by heritage)?

    2. The brain drain from formerly-traditional agencies to formerly-internet-advertising agencies means that most of the smart money/ people are moving to the “digital” side. I think this thought-leadership migration will only continue.

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