Consumer evolution: The past versus the present
Back in the early years of consumerism, the products and services being offered were the only things that mattered.
The industrial revolution saw remarkable feats of production that allowed consumers to get their products quickly and in huge volumes. The product was the only thing that mattered.
In modern times, the thought behind the creation of a product and the brands that make them have evolved into being just as important as the products themselves.
Let’s dissect this notion.
We are all aware of the impact of branding on our buying behaviour.
When thinking of handbags, Louis Vuitton comes to mind. When thinking of your dream car, Ferrari or Lamborghini springs up.
These examples, although simple, tell a unique take on the way consumers look for products that in all honesty, serve the same purpose as their competitors.
Customers seek the feeling and credibility that big, proud brand names provide because there is an innate level of trust that comes from them. Of course, the Ferrari is a much better vehicle that is manufactured in incredible detail; however, a car is still just a car.
This essence of “pride” one receives on their purchase is where most brands spend their focus. Marketing products and services to instill trust in the customer base is the quickest way to increase your share in the market.
There is a reason why Ferrari doesn’t need to make commercials, everyone knows that they are at the top. Companies the world over spend millions on intricate marketing campaigns to entice customers into buying their lifestyle in place of the product.
Selling soap cannot be easy, that’s why selling the lifestyle that a brand promises when using the soap is much easier.
This train of thought is however evolving into something much more complex than most firms dare to imagine.
Lifestyle is one thing, but how that lifestyle gets offered and who is offering it is also important.
The modern consumer is evolving into one that holds brands accountable to their promises both within their offerings as well as in their business practice.
Firms are being held accountable for their actions more than ever before.
As customers have learned, the production and delivery of mass goods are not always as clean and friendly as most organisations make them out to be. This leaves an enormous hole in the lifestyle that brands are trying to promote.
After all, a brand that promises health and wellness can only do so if the way they manufacture its products doesn’t influence the health and wellness of others negatively.
This creates a new breed of consumer who is far more demanding than ever before. In a good way.
Organisations are forced to pick up their socks as anyone now has access to limitless information about you and your firm via the internet and social media.
It’s a much safer bet to provide the products and services in an ethical and preferable manner rather than lying about it.
The story of a brand is also evolving.
With nothing new under the sun, firms need to craft new and unique ways to entice their audiences. Doing so requires creativity and a keen eye on what people are interested in at the time.
Gone are the days of firms being trendsetters and telling people what they should want.
Now is the time for firms to look at what the customer wants and encourage them through that engagement.