Mass-market audiences are a thing of the past, and no brand can afford to be friends with everyone.
A typical 21 year old has played 5,000 hours of computer games; exchanged 25,000 e-mail, SMS, and chat messages; used a cell phone some 10,000 times; and spent 3,500 hours online.
That's your future consumer.
When I conducted the research for my book, "BRANDchild" (the world's largest study on kids and their relationship with brands), one result that surprised me was the number of channels kids are able to handle simultaneously. Adults are able to manage 1.7 media channels at the same time, say, watching TV and reading a magazine. Kids, however, can pay attention to an astounding 5.4 channels. They can watch TV, send SMS messages, surf the Net, chat on IM, listen to music, and even devote 0.4 of their simultaneous communications energy to homework.
When I recently repeated the study, not only had the number of channels kids handle at once increased by 0.2, but the adult capacity for dealing with multiple channels had grown almost 0.1. The ever-evolving media environment, therefore, not only influences the younger generation. It affects us all, and we're adapting to it. This leads to a question: what behavioral changes will we see in future generations vis-À-vis communications strategies and media use?
A lot. But here are two key developments you can expect to deal with in handling consumer behavior in the future:
You're dealing with a generation of broadcasting MSP consumers. You have to live on the edge to tackle this crowd. It's essential you take chances to meet the ultimate objective: having your brand stand out.
Sadly, most companies perceive and represent themselves according to core values extracted from an MBA textbook. Tomorrow's brands must be distinctive to push the envelope of acceptability across a spectrum of socio-economic and political tolerances. Brands must even offend certain audiences to make their presence felt and their distinction from competitors clear.
The challenge of releasing and growing a successful brand is ever-greater, making it essential brand-builders and their colleagues focus on narrow audiences. In doing so, a brand can reflect values that only this audience appreciates. Yes, you may offend a lot of people beyond that specific group, but in doing so you'll build your brand's relationship with its core audience. This philosophy is a radical departure from branding in the past, in which everything -- values, reputation, nuances -- had to be perfect and acceptable to the vast majority.
Mass-market audiences are a thing of the past. In principle, no brand can afford to be friends with everyone at the same time.
Is your brand MSP-ready? Are you factoring the broadcaster behavioral phenomenon into your platform? Do you recognize these key consumer characteristics by making your audience the center of your brand? Have you revisited your brand values to ensure you're stretching its message and personality, voice and style, to the edge? If not, polish off your brand and arm it with relevance to the motivations and impulses of generation tomorrow, before they discard your brand forever with one brief click.
Martin Lindstrom is recognized as one of the world's primary on- and offline branding gurus by the Chartered Institute of Marketing. He is the author of several best-selling branding books including his latest, "BRAND sense: Build Powerful Brands through Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Sound," published by Free Press. BRANDsense.com details information about Lindstrom's "BRAND sense" and the BRAND sense Symposium, a branding conference running in 51 cities in 31 countries.
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