The NOW Gen



CPGs and the Importance of Being Flexible

Have you heard of the “New Resignation,” or “Big Quit?” Well, it’s happening now. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 4.4 million people walked away from their jobs in September.

COVID-19 gave people time to rethink what they want in life, to test what works for them, and even to change careers. One of the main reasons is because they are in search of flexibility. The days where it was normal to work 40+ hours in the office are disappearing. Now, 63% of college-educated employees are working remotely. This trend also gives companies, especially CPGs, a chance to integrate work methods based on diverse thinking, insightful strategies, collaboration, and flexibility.

These recent changes have driven the need for companies to provide a flexible, hybrid alternative, and to offer a more enriching environment and support system. Companies are being pushed toward valuing more than just the work. Bill Beck, CMO of health insurance company Anthem, redesigned a creative platform that reminded people of the importance of being together since face-to-face collaboration is a critical part of the creative process. His team came together to think through the execution of the forum as a turning point in the project’s development, where markets work towards a common goal to unlock creative potential.

The new hiring

As data is becoming the central pillar of customer strategy, marketers are demanding more analytical profiles that take the data available and turn it into opportunities to deliver brand messages at the right moment in a user’s life.

Data even helps brands to push their purpose forward. Data scientists show marketers that they too can be a source of creativity because they can create connections between the vast amount of data available, and create a solution that will work for users and brands.

This change of behavior does not mean that creatives are no longer needed. In fact, CPGs are creating collaborative models where different talents, from technical to analytical, come together for creative and strategic purposes. CPGs know and value what each talent can bring to the table working together and creating solutions for the greater good of their brands.

More platforms, more partners

The adoption of digital platforms, the surge of e-commerce, and the latest consumer trends are encouraging companies to lean on a vast network of cost-efficient talent and providers. Companies are also looking for innovative solutions and fresher ideas using contests and crowdsourcing, which help marketers and C-suites reach their commercial objectives.

A global and agile hub

It can be challenging and frustrating to find the proper talent structure, especially if a company is not fulfilling its commercial objectives. Instead of redesigning an entire organization, CPGs are going smaller, First, they work to understand what is happening inside the customer journey. Then, flaws are identified, which reveal opportunities in each touchpoint. Finally, they make suitable acquisitions and find the right partner who will work toward fulfilling an objective.

Marketers are also working to increase coherence across markets. One example is setting up a global design hub that allows different needs to share[A1], upload, and download the same design elements and assets required. This ensures that the brand has consistency in the same communication and goals.

Discover more strategies and what CPGs are doing to win 2022 in our latest white paper, where we share our expertise from working with our CPG clients for more than 18 years. Put your brand on top of its game. Download it for free here:


CPGs are going micro, and here’s why

Influencers are proving throughout all platforms that they are becoming necessary for brands that want to connect in a more authentic and more profound level with their audiences; this is why just recently released figures show that the value of the industry has more than doubled since 2019, growing from $6.5 billion to $13.8 billion in only three years.

In the following years, marketers are reporting to use almost 20% of their budget for influencer marketing, an ever-increasing number never seen before; this might be related to the fact that during the pandemics, people stay more time at home, connected to their devices, and discovering more content that relates to them. This behavior hasn’t changed; in fact, it’s stronger than ever, only this time, many are turning to micro-influencers rather than the big huge celebrities we see on the internet.

When it comes to marketing and brand managers, micro-influencers are becoming the spotlight on their strategies, but before showing you the many benefits of hiring them in your next campaign, let’s know a bit about them.

  • A micro-influencer has a follower count from 5k to 50k.
  • Their focus of the content is to create a mega loyal, relatable, influential niche audience. 
  • They have the flexibility to manage their content and connect with their followers more directly.
  • They are experts in making creative, unique content that generates higher engagement rates than macro-influencers and celebrities.
  • Their message is peer-to-peer, not peer to an admirer, and this is because a micro-influencer also lives the life of their followers; they try new food, go to new places, work a typical job, and are more transparent.

So how can they be beneficial for your brand?

Consistent communication

Brand loyalty is facing an all-time low for many brands, and one-off campaigns cannot raise numbers alone, so establishing always-on influencer marketing with micro-influencers can help ensure that your brand stays on top of mind. The idea here is to let influencers create constant content that will appear in consumers’ feeds and stories during their moments of need (but without sounding too promo or organic storytelling).

Higher ROI.

Micro-influencers are a low-cost solution for brands and show a higher ROI and reach of business because of the trust they build with their followers. It’s better to hire a couple of micro-influencers that will help connect to loyal audiences and will help deliver the right message for different segmentations, rather than a big celebrity that will mostly speak to everyone but will not create any strong bond.

More Top-of-funnel Traffic and sales.

Micro-influencers are becoming effective partners for any type of business. Their originality and relatability have helped drive top-of-funnel traffic and sales, so having a close relationship with them, sharing your brand story, listening to what they offer, and trusting in their content ideas will only make your revenue grow.

Brand advocacy and audience insights.

As we mentioned before, micro-influencers are skilled to reach users with the same share of values and personal points of view linked to their followers’ passions. Therefore, aligning your goals while leaving a space that will allow the micro-influencer to create a strategy to maximize your results and ask for feedback from their audience will enrich you with real insights for your future campaigns.

How can you find the right Micro-influencer for you?

Brands need to look through their followers on social media and find if there’s a micro-influencer that could be potential. If their content aligns with your brand objectives and it’s interested in sharing their lifestyle with your brand.

Once you find them, appreciate their content, follow them, and engage them through direct messages, they will likely respond quickly and be available for you, even if they are an ongoing campaign.

You can find more insights and strategies that CPGs apply to win the market in 2022 in our latest white paper. You can download it for free here:


The role of CPG’s in a hyperconnected world

We are just a few months away from the beginning of 2022, and the changes in consumer behavior and expectations that changed during the global pandemic crisis have made something very clear to companies worldwide, and that is that these behaviors are here to stay. 

This has pushed the CPG industry to be the ambassadors of change and the innovators of the industry, through strategies that integrate seamlessly the offline and online, and this is because nowadays we live in a hyper-connected world, where convenience is what drives consumers to seek unique and fast experiences aligned not only to their shopping purposes, but also to their personal ones. In the recent “State of the Connected Customer” study by Salesforce, it was found that 80% of consumers believe that their experience with a brand is just as important as the quality of services and products, and that this experience is key to increasing loyalty and therefore long-term profit. In addition, 88% felt that brands that listen to their needs are seen as better-quality brands.

To create this profit, and not fall behind, CPGs have opted for vital strategies to meet the expectations of their consumers. From buying DTC companies, to giving consumers the ability to create their own product according to their needs. We will highlight some of these strategies and trends that are redefining the future of the industry.

Bye bye middle man

We are seeing more and more 100% online brands and startups that are eliminating the different logistics channels and bridging the gap with their consumers by offering niche products, focused on sustainability, personalization and a premium experience. This has created a wake-up call for industry giants, and in order to not be left behind this momentum, they have started to buy many of these brands to create a new experience with their consumers. And this buying doesn’t just start from the pandemic, Unilever, for example, bought several, including Dollar Shave Club in 2016 and Schmidt’s Naturals in 2017. 

Other brands such as Pepsi announced that they will create online stores for their consumers to buy their products directly, with 0 intermediaries, this with the objective of helping to develop skills and value through E-comm in the long term. Although it is a risky move, due to factors such as distance between the factory and the consumer, not doing so would imply a much greater risk as consumers are increasingly looking for a more personal treatment with their preferred brands.

The evolution of the value chain

It´s time to let go the traditional. Technology has come to impact the entire value chain, by creating more automated and disruptive processes to reach the consumer in a more unique and faster ways. In marketing, for example, advanced analytics are to generate promotions, product assortment and even pricing. Today, marketing teams from different CPGs work together with Data Scientists, integrating, consolidating and generating insights that positively affect marketing strategies and budget allocations. In sales, machine learning algorithms help create a more specific sales plan with key actions to ensure optimal negotiations and in the supply chain, experts are seeing how to convert business objectives and supplies into digital projects focused on more convenient and fast solutions.

Extreme personalization.

As we mentioned earlier, consumers are looking for experiences, and brands have to move to create them. According to a McKinsey study, almost 26% of purchases are based on product recommendations and reviews. For CPGs this percentage rises, with 65% in cosmetics and 55% in soaps. Using social networks, not only for the simple fact of being present, but also to listen to insights and understand them, can become a key point to create a better positioning through relevant promotions, allocation of targets, and even innovation and development of products. 

Another way to personalize is by creating interest through exclusivity across different E-Commerce platforms. Walmart, for example, offers L’Oreal hydration kits exclusively on Another German company even allows its online users to create their favorite type of muesli using more than 80 ingredients, and it is delivered to its consumers instantly.

But let’s not just stick to E-Comm. Augmented Reality (AR) is an incredible opportunity for CPGs to make experiences from the package. With the help of Smartphones, people can discover more about what they are buying, immerse themselves in the production experience and even find out which product is right for their needs, thus connecting the digital world to the offline world, and optimizing the collection of customer data in a more organic and optimal way.

We have to start acting and fast. Today is the time where we have to understand that markets and industries are moving at the speed of light and we have to captivate consumers right away. At 121 Corp, we move at the same speed as the world. We work hand in hand with our clients, and together we create innovative strategies and product design in record time across their value chain and consumer touchpoints. We know that in this year and the new years to come, we will not only need to have the perfect product with the same promotions and campaigns as always, but we will have to put ourselves in the consumers’ shoes. Understanding their tastes, needs, values and purposes, in order to create experiences that excite them and make them fall in love with a brand.


Creativity: The non-negotiable ingredient

Creativity! What is creativity exactly? Agencies worldwide take the challenge to take Fortune 500 companies’ brand materials and communication to the next level. Creativity is one of those things that not everyone can actually put into words. So, what does it mean to be creative?

Bestselling author and journalist Daniel Pink says Creativity is “Giving the world something it didn’t know it was missing.”

Steal Like an Artist author, Austin Kleon defines Creativity as “Taking what’s in front of you and everybody else and making something new out of it.

Today we associate Creativity with so much more. We think about imagination, ingeniousness, Innovation, invention, and originality. As Entrepreneur magazine states, Creativity is the best solving tool there is, and we agree entirely. Advertising is about reaching your target audience with audacity. Consumers want to see ads they actually like. We all love a good campaign. It makes us want to share it and participate in it.

CPG Power brands are cautious about messing with their brand’s equity. Implementation must be done creatively but without disturbing the brand’s guidelines.
This is why brands develop strict brand books so that every agency that manipulates their materials doesn’t generate different materials that don’t go along well. Can you imagine hundreds of agencies deforming a power brand’s logo? It would be too painful to watch!

Creativity on Adapting Global Campaigns (without losing a brand’s identity)

Global advertising and creative agencies such as IPG, GROUP M, Publicis, WPP Group, Dentsu, among others, take months to develop truly mindblowing campaigns. However, implementation agencies are in charge of adapting global campaigns into regional and seasonal materials.

Creativity shouldn’t be lost on adaptation. On the contrary, a good dose of it should be injected into materials. Ask our designers. We have loooots of fun delivering attractive pieces of content.

Old Spice, a Procter & Gamble brand, is known for its irreverent campaigns. The iconic “Hello Ladies” has resulted in hundreds of campaigns that will always give you a good laugh. We know we do. We have a lot of fun while adapting and developing engaging ad materials for social and e-comm channels.

Mucinex, Reckitt Benckiser’s flu remedy, is most certainly a fun brand to work with thanks to Mr. Mucus, the star we love to dismiss from their ads. KY, also from RB, is vibrant and creative. Having both a line for women and men makes them stand out because of their bold and unapologetic communication. Consumers find it genuine and playful, good to know, considering the nature of their brand.

Effective implementation is about providing artistic value on adaptation material, adding verbal, visual, and creative sound elements to elevate a brand’s communication. Creativity is not always valued at first. However, taking it into account will make campaigns more appealing as they roll out, and consumers get to appreciate our work.

Speed and Agility: A match made in heaven

Agility & Speed are not the same. Being agile means always in a position to take account of market changes and act on them. Speed is something we were born with, not be that braggy. Improving a consumer’s omnichannel experience over time is something brands should consider. Marketing teams must take so much change into the equation.

Brand Managers and Marketers require their agencies to deliver on very, very, veryyyyy short notice. Let’s just say we’ve developed entire product range adaptations in less than 24 hours. Its an arduous task, but we are ready to get our hands busy.

The world, as we knew it changed. Today brands require creativity if they want to stand out on social media, A+ pages, and every major e-commerce platform. Online Seasonal Sales have stolen the spotlight from brick and mortar stores. 

At 121, we swear by our speed, our reputation precedes us as we are a reliable partner delivering POS and Packaging design as well as Web Solutions. Today we do so much more than that. 2020 propelled us immensely into the world of content. Social and e-comm are booming right now, and our clients started demanding astonishing amounts of it in a blink of an eye. Let’s make great things happen!