One of the most important elements of any campaign strategy is knowing who you need to engage with. So we were very interested to see the initial reports from Census 2016. A few news pieces have been circulating in the news but here are some key points of interest that we think are particularly important to marketers:
There has been an increase of 72,333 people living in Dublin since the last census. Roughly twice the whole population of Monaco. As the main cities take on more people in general, this will continue to have a massive socio-economic and cultural impact.
Imagine there's no Heaven...
There was a 74% increase in people saying they had 'no religion'. This is despite the restrictions in the census that did not any option for 'atheist', 'agnostic' or 'unsure'. It indicates a definite shifting sentiment in Ireland's relationship with the church - even in the last few years.
There were over 12,000 people who reported living in a same sex couple - the first time this has ever been recorded by an Irish Census. Of those, 43% of couples were female. From a marketing perspective, this is important to note in terms of balanced representation of same sex couples!
There was a 5% increase in the number of renters - indicating a further change to the traditional idea of a household. Something we all probably could have guessed given the current crisis in the rental and housing market.
Speaking of households, the number of non-occupied homes has decreased (good news) but the number of people per household has dropped. So scrap the idea of the ‘2.5 kids' because it's actually less than two kids per couple now. This will have longer term implications when it comes to age.
One of the most startling statistics was the massive 20% increase in the number of people that can now claim a pension. As we head towards a similar average age as Norway, marketers need to start planning how they are going to respond to needs across pensions, care, housing, health and insurance.
We are seeking creative, passionate strategic storytellers, who have a proven working understanding and involvement in the content world. ..
We are the most tech savvy generation ever. We grew up with technology. We use more than one device and are connected full time. When we need information, we need it immediately and don’t accept delay. If a website doesn’t load in three seconds, it’s lost us.
Smartphones allow us to be more connected than ever to the choices out there. Be it dinner, a car, a house or a potential mate, we don’t seem that keen to invest any amount of quality time in anything, when a better version might be a touch or swipe away.
In recent times, the purchasing habits of my generation have engaged the interest of many businesses and marketers. This is due to an evident shift in our purchasing habits, when compared to the previous generation. For most businesses, understanding this is not a choice but a necessity.
Everything on demand
To ‘own something’ in the traditional sense is becoming far less important as the scarcity of these items is no longer a problem. Ownership simply is not as hard anymore. The never-ending flea market of the internet allows us to ‘own’ anything we want, at any time we want it. Being able to access the world on demand has changed how we ‘own’ products and services.
We don’t connect directly to the object of desire itself, but rather what it means to us, how it makes us look to our peers or how it may enhance our lives in some way. In order to achieve this value from the object we don’t actually need to own it, but just to be able to access it and use it for the time we need.
So, what has caused this generational shift? And how should companies be shifting their own behaviour to embrace the death of ownership and connect with us in this way?
What is ownership?
Technology allows us to get what we want fast and easily, without actually needing to own. Companies like Air BnB, Uber, Spotify and Netflix, allow us to access their services when we want it, with no need to purchase for long term ownership.
This ‘collaborative economy’ allows us to experience ownership of things in a way that was previously exclusive to streaming media, and is a precursor to what is now happening to physical products - cars, homes, goods and services.
We want experiences
Purchasing is no longer about the product itself, but about what value it can give us, how it can connect with us or, more importantly, connect us to something or someone.
We want to experience rather than to own. Therefore, brands must offer us an experience that we value – preferably something unique that we can share with others. We want to connect to something bigger than a product or service.
We know that this way of thinking varies quite significantly from traditional views.
So, what can businesses do to stare this change in the face and get our attention?
1) Create experiences
Think about how we can experience your brand in action and how that action relates to us. Help us connect to other people to create this experience. Toyotas Feeling the Street campaign did this when they brought vibrant music performances to street corners around the globe.
2) Be Authentic
Brand authenticity is just as important to us as price and discounts. If we smell fakeness, we won’t hesitate to switch to another brand that we feel we can trust. Be authentic to us and we will give you back brand loyalty.
3) Have Values
We value brands that show that they align with our personal value and views. 71% of us relate with brands that support the communities and society in general.
4) Keep it short and sweet
The need for instant gratification means that the message should be short and sweet. That is, marketing must be precise and succinct. Business needs to maintain continuous communication with us by being disruptive and standing out.
I recently attended a branding workshop guided by the creative leads from a number of high profile branding projects including Airbnb. Read an account of my experience below or if you're in a hurry click here to see my two main takeaways from the workshop.
Consumer Branding in the Digital Age
In recent years young consumers have radically changed the way they relate to brands. Where previous generations typically looked for quality, familiarity and trustworthiness in their consumer choices, this generation places value on authenticity. Where once consumers acquired things, now they look for unique, personal experiences. In response to this shift in attitudes brands have had to find new and engaging ways to communicate meaningfully with their intended audience. With this in mind I recently attended a two-day branding workshop in Scotland in order to better understand this change in approach.
Guiding the workshop were James and Jowey, the founders and creative directors of Koto, a London based branding agency. The pair have worked as the creative leads on a number of high profile branding projects including Airbnb and Gumtree. Over two days they took the group through a detailed demonstration of their branding process giving insights into how to construct an effective modern brand designed to cut through the noise and emotionally connect with the consumer.
Do Your Research
The first notable aspect of their approach was the sheer depth of research they undertake before even opening a design program. For Airbnb this entailed sending four agency members to four continents to stay with nearly twenty different hosts, recording in detail their experiences of the service. They also immersed themselves in the company itself, interviewing over one hundred employees and placing half the design team in Airbnb’s San Francisco headquarters for 3 months.
It was from one of these interviews that a key insight into the brand emerged. When asked to explain Airbnb’s unique offering an employee replied simply that it allowed you to ‘belong anywhere’. This chance, unscripted answer succinctly described the consumer needs of their target audience and provided a key insight into how the brand needed to communicate with them. The Airbnb customer wants to stay in a real house with a real person rather than a global hotel chain. Their ideal holiday involves going beyond the well-trodden tourist trail, meeting new, like-minded people and experiencing new places on a more authentic level. This simple two-word answer brilliantly sums this up and later became the brand slogan and a central pillar of how Airbnb thinks about itself.
Your Customers Aren’t Stupid. Don’t Treat Them Like They Are.
Throughout the workshop another key aspect that began to emerge was respect for your audience. James and Jowey repeatedly stressed the importance of assuming an advanced level of visual literacy in the modern consumer. One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when communicating is to talk down to your audience and this is no less true in branding design. These days people are inundated with a wide range of media communications throughout the day. The result is a consumer that’s extremely media savvy, with the ability to quickly process a dizzying range of different messages and discern the subtlest of cultural meanings.
This insight had a considerable influence on the development of the Airbnb brand, particularly the design of the Bélo, the curly ‘A’ logo. Eager to move away from the sky blue used in the original logo but facing resistance, they commissioned a group of academics to conduct a semiotic survey of the colour. The resulting report demonstrated blue’s unsuitability for the brand. Typically considered a cold colour, blue was antithetical to the brand values of warmth, homeliness and belonging and was ultimately changed to a rich and vibrant red. Similarly, the logo construction further reinforces these values by avoiding corners and sharp edges in favour of curves and an interlocking motif intended to convey togetherness. The final iteration is simple, highly identifiable and modern. More importantly though, it implicitly assumes a high level of media literacy in its audience.
2 key things I learned
So for those working in branding or just interested in this part of the industry, here are my two main takeaways from the workshop:
- Research is essential to understanding the core values of any brand. Immerse yourself and your team in the culture of the client company as much as possible and remain alert for that key insight - it may well come from a suprising source.
- The modern consumer is highly media savvy so don’t talk down to them. The consumer/brand relationship is built on mutual understanding and an emotional connection based on shared values so speak their language or you run the risk of being ignored.
Eamonn Hall, Graphic Designer.
Young adults, particularly women, are reported to be more afraid of gaining weight than ‘getting cancer, losing their parents or nuclear war’. This scary statistic is something that directly impacts me and is something I am going to explore over a couple of blog posts.