The NOW Gen

Brands

Brands

Advantages of Consumer Relationships

The relationship with your customers is a topic that’s been getting more attention in recent years, and for good reason. Developing strong customer relationships can lead to increased customer loyalty, better customer engagement rates, and higher sales numbers. This article will explore some of the most important benefits of consumer relationships and how they can help your business grow by improving your relationship with customers.

Having a relationship with your consumers is the best way to grow a community for your brand. This is something that the NOW Generation values. Having a community where consumers can interact with each other and brand ambassadors or representatives. The benefits for customers of developing relationships with brands include customer loyalty, better customer service, and positive word-of-mouth promotion. Plus getting to know your segment on a deeper level.  

As a business owner, you know that customer service is crucial to your success. It’s important for you and your team members to be able to provide the best possible service in order for consumers to want to do business with you again. With customer relationship management (CRM), however, it’s easier than ever before for customers and businesses alike to interact with each other in ways that were never possible before.

According to Forbes, CRM’s core function is to collect data that helps businesses understand and communicate with customers. This basic management tool can open pathways to having great relationships with your consumers, and learning about them and how they connect with your brand. Besides increasing business profits. 

It’s important to consider the benefits of CRM in terms of a company’s bottom line. The most obvious benefit is increased brand loyalty, which in turn leads to more positive word-of-mouth promotion and brand awareness. Some companies estimate that customer retention rates can increase by 25% when they implement a CRM strategy.

In addition, having an extended relationship with customers can help you better understand their needs and wants as well as their preferences for products and services, allowing you to better cater to them in the future. When you have a consumer relationship, they’re more likely to stay with your brand and recommend it to others. This is because they feel like they’re part of a community that shares the same values as them. 

According to a recent study on customer expectations, 79% of consumers consider personalized service more important than marketing. Consumers want to be known and treated like so. Especially if we look at minority groups we can find that a feeling of belonging allows consumers to become loyal to a brand. 

When consumers are loyal to a brand, they can make it easier for you by buying from you again in the future. They’ll also be more willing to refer your product or service to others who may need what you have.

Engagement is a two-way street. Customers need to feel like they are being heard, and businesses need to make sure that their customers feel valued. When customers know they’re being listened to, they are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend the brand. 

In addition to this effect on sales and loyalty-building efforts, engaging with your customer base also has other benefits such as increased employee engagement (for example by sharing positive feedback).

The bottom line is that customer relationships are beneficial to both customers and businesses. Businesses can improve their marketing and sales efforts by engaging with their customers, while customers will receive better service and personalized offers in return.

Blog

This is Why Brands are Using NFTs

By now, the amount of talk about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has reached almost everyone on the internet. There are some things to note about NFTs; today, we will cover some of the things that make them relevant.

Let’s begin by mentioning that NFTs are invaluable; however, at the same time can be purchased and sold. They are unique like diamonds in that no two NFTs, or diamonds, are exactly alike. This is what makes them desirable: uniqueness and scarcity.

A big plus of NFTs is their transparency. Not only are they transparent because they are literally digital, but there are traceable. No matter how many times whoever purchases it, the original owner will be able to track it because of their smart contracts.

An article by The Art Newspaper stated that these smart contracts in NFTs ensure their uniqueness and that the digital assets remain undivided and non-replicable.

It wasn’t long until relevant brands started to use NFTs, which is simple: this is the future they are creating. We are currently moving from an experimental to a more mainstream approach.

According to an article from Zeno Fine Art, “2021 became the year of the NFT, and there was a huge explosion and surge in NFT supply and demand.” This journey began in 2012 with the creation of the first tokens, and big brands started to get involved in the last couple of years.

So, what can we expect from NFTs in the future? First of all, they are here to stay. As we mentioned in our last blog about the Metaverse, they are the future of the internet experience as we know it. 

And this is because the NOW Generation is involved in real and digital experiences. NFTs play a big part in this because they allow consumers to purchase a digital representation of an original asset. In other words, they can represent art, audio, video, virtual real estate, virtual worlds, fashion, and so much more, making NFTs important to brands.

Consumers worldwide seek the best experiences, from instant gratification to exciting assets. NFTs are a great way to give consumers a unique experience that will put your brand ahead of the competition. Also, brands must stick to NFTs that are akin to them. 

Using NFTs to increase brand awareness needs to be specifically curated for the consumer community of the brand. This means that to continue to bring awareness, brands need to know how their fans perceive them and use NFTs to grow this recognition. 

As Web3 settles in, the interaction between consumers and brands will shift. NFTs are essential to maintain and improve these relationships. This innovative aspect of the virtual world can open opportunities to connect with consumers. It is not just about digital items, a digital community for a brand’s biggest fans. 

NFTs are relevant to the NOW Gen. Thus, brands will continue incorporating them into their digital marketing strategies. They are a new connection bridge between high-value customers and the brand products and services.

The expectations for the NFTs are still developing. We can’t be a hundred percent sure of what the future holds for these virtual tokens. However, how we virtually connect is changing, and brands must stand on the leading edge of these trends to remain relevant. 

Is your brand looking into the future of NFTs? What is your strategy to be part of this trend? 

Brands

Metaverse: The Future is NOW!

There’s a lot of buzz about the Metaverse. But, what really is this new cyberspace, and how far are we from fully joining it? The term “metaverse” was first mentioned in 1992 by Neal Stephenson in his novel Snow Crash; it referred to a three-dimensional virtual world where people interacted with computer-generated avatars. Sounds familiar? 

According to an article from Wired, the word metaverse can be used interchangeably with “cyberspace.” Because just like Stephenson described it 30 years ago, the metaverse will be a different way to experience the cyberspace we currently surf. 

Today, the metaverse is somewhat accessible to us through videogames like Fortnite or Roblox, on which you can participate in group activities, like missions that are part of the game or even concerts in these virtual worlds. However, the future metaverse will house ways to work, shop, play, and any other activity you could think of.

First, we need to understand that the metaverse is not only one thing or place that will come, but rather a mixture of many different ways to experience the future of cyberspace. This so-called 3-D web seamlessly sets in with various prominent companies putting their brands and money on it. The fast pace of these investments means that great things are coming. 

We must also remember that these kinds of shifts, in the way we experience life, happen every few decades. And with change comes the opportunity to enhance these new experiences.

For example, in the previous decade, we could never imagine using the internet for more than just finding information or communicating with coworkers via e-mail. Now we have a constant flow of content beyond simple texts or e-mails. We have applications full of video content, graphics, video calls, and much more that we can experience on the internet.

Online spaces are a complement to our lives. We share our life experiences on social media, interact with others, and consume creative content online. Although we didn’t believe this would be possible, we can instantly connect with many other people through the internet, and it has become an integral part of life and communication.

Matthew Ball, the author of The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything, forecasts that the evolution of the virtual trend will move from being a depiction of our lives into a place where we’ll exist. This means that besides everything we can currently do online, we will be able to be present in this new cyberspace simultaneously. 

Although it will still take some time for the Metaverse to be fully adopted, leading brands are already taking steps toward marketing in this new space. As mentioned above, the metaverse will bring change to more than one aspect of life, including marketing and how marketers target their audiences. 

According to a McKinsey article on the metaverse, now is the time to open our minds to test and learn. The best way to adapt to new experiences is by learning, and when something is so brand new, there isn’t much more than trial and error to understand what works for your brand. 

The NOW Gen is looking at the metaverse as today’s top-notch innovation. Consumers are eager to find and experience brands’ innovation in the metaverse. As marketers, we must aim to deliver innovative consumer experiences for the metaverse, the direction is marked, and the limits are expanding more and more each day.

Brands need instant gratification and cutting-edge experiences for consumers. Our duty as professional marketers is to stay at the forefront of innovation, and the metaverse is just the beginning of a myriad of brand growth and innovative opportunities.

Blog

Globalization, New Challenges for Brands

Globalization is not a new trend, but it remains relevant because of its impact on the way businesses and consumers interact with each other. Globalization has been present around the globe for a long time, and many brands strive to use it to their advantage. 

Making your brand global is not an easy task. While many successful brands have been able to become globally recognized, the process is not easy, and it doesn’t come without challenges. 

Besides these challenges, the new globalization is here. The fourth industrial revolution, geopolitics, and the escalating effects of climate change are the three primary forces propelling a new chapter in the history of globalization. 

According to an expert panel held by The Drum, these three things have all happened in the past, just not at the same time. As a result, companies are now figuring out strategies, markets, and how they position themselves. 

With the new globalization comes the need for speed. This makes sense because the NOW generation is all for instant gratification, and when it comes to growing a brand in a global market, how fast can it approach new consumers on a local scale.

Digitalization is also taking a big part in this new era of globalization. With the numerous products available to your market, brand culture, lifestyle, and behavior habits are the most helpful in reaching your consumers.

From a consumer point of view, depending on where they live,  people worldwide consume the same products. However, through social and mass media, people find similarities between their consumption habits and those of people on the other side of the globe. This is called glocalization. 

Glocalization is the ability to penetrate various global markets while meeting the needs of each local geography. Even though it is not a new concept, not all businesses with global aspirations have mastered the art of glocalization. Therefore, companies must excel at integrating local resources, modifying procedures, and implementing global technologies to create effective glocalization strategies.

Entrepreneur India shared in an article the importance of acclimating brands to global growth. According to their article, success at glocalization comes from being sensitive to local culture, social norms, and consumer habits. Basically adapting to the area where your brand is arriving.

Even major brands have struggled to bring their business to a new location. “One size fits all” doesn’t apply in globalization. Brands need to consider that the need for their product in different places may not be the same. 

This may be accomplished; many companies have successfully arrived in new markets and tropicalized their brand to the local market. For example, big food chain brands have noticed that just bringing products they already sell and not incorporating anything local to their menus is not as successful as adding an item with a local taste for the consumer. This is how you can glocalize your business.

Another way businesses can adapt to a new culture is by hiring local professionals. Local associations within your company will help your brand access specific insight on a microeconomic scale while remaining globally relevant. This is a big step because once you know the culture, you can find better ways to approach the consumer and provide them with what they need.

Globalization is not about completely changing your brand but about being flexible and willing to adapt to your consumer’s culture. The need to grow is a constant in the current global business environment. However, growth in a globalized world would not be possible without learning from the NOW generation.

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Beating Stereotypes: Diversity and Inclusion for the NOW Gen

There is a lot of talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion going on globally. This isn’t about fitting the global trend to our companies but joining the NOW generation in this matter. 

In previous blog posts, we have addressed this global issue, and it continues to be an essential topic for the NOW generation. NOW Gen brands are in the middle of this conversation and are focusing on making a real change.

NOW Gen brands have a unique opportunity to change history with respect to diversity, equity, inclusion, systemic discrimination and racism, just like they are changing history by moving us into the digital age, but without DEI transformation, digital transformation won’t be any transformation at all.” 

In a recent SXSW panel titled “Beyond Black Stereotypes: Redefining Black Fatherhood,” Kendricks Thacker shared some insights about what needs to be done to incorporate better DEI practices. He said that brands couldn’t just start talking when convenient, especially when they wade into topics they never previously championed. 

“Don’t say nothing, if you haven’t said anything before,” Thacker said. “In those cases, the best a brand can do is listen, and donate their platforms to voices that understand the issues.” 

As Thacker mentioned in this panel, to overcome the stereotypes of adapting DEI practices incorrectly, we must first learn to listen to those in the middle of the issue and understand their movements. We must not act before we think because DEI is not a vane issue and its impact on our society goes beyond participating as a brand or not.

With change comes trial and error; it will be utopic to believe that just making one change will forever change the global conversation. However, making this kind of amendment will often make us face errors. For example, DE&I has been one of the main focuses for many global companies for a while now. And although inclusion is vital to this global change, the mistake we are making is stereotyping that inclusivity. So from being stereotypical in the ways we present our DEI to making inclusion a stereotype. 

In the case of DEI, stereotypes are fogging our judgment and blinding our inclusion. We are so used to boxing people according to their race, gender, religion, and even their jobs that we see individuals as groups of people. Stereotypes have been known to humans for a long time now, and much work has been done to eradicate them in society, but the truth is that stereotyping is more natural to our minds than we can imagine. We could blame heuristics for this, but the truth is we can all do better. 

Heuristics, where stereotyping begins, are useful mental shortcuts that help us navigate life. These rule-of-thumb strategies help us shorten decision-making time and allow us to function without constantly wondering what needs to happen next. Overall, heuristics is a fantastic tool called “common sense,” but the downside is that it can lead to inaccurate judgments or biases, like stereotypes.

Theoretically, we should replace stereotypes with actual knowledge. Realistically, stereotypes are seldom challenged unless something creates a reason to change them. But this current DEI issue is a practical reason to make an effort to break from assumptions and demolish stereotypes. As Now gen brands encounter these roadblocks, they must stick to their DEI efforts and strive to make changes happen. 

“The past year has shed light on what many people already knew: Much of the onus (obligations) of diversity, equity and inclusion was on the appointed DE&I leader, who historically often worked in isolation to carry out these objectives.”

In short, as companies, we must find ways to set objectives to beat stereotypes and be more inclusive. Still, we must learn to hear those affected by the situation and work together to impact how they are perceived in society positively. In the eyes of The NOW Generation, being inclusive speaks volumes, and as the saying goes: actions say more than words.

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Digital Transformation without DEI is no transformation at all

Digital Transformation without DEI is no transformation at all; social inclusion and kindness are 2 musts for a successful digital recipe.

In 2020 Americans experienced two events that at the time everyone thought would change the world forever: the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police. But last Sunday’s Super Bowl, in which brands paid $484.7 million for 42 minutes of advertising–possibly the most notable of which having been a retro-looking QR code bouncing around old-school-screen-saver style, sending people to a crypto-currency site they ended up crashing–during a game where “End Racism” was written in the endzones, culminating the season for a league currently being sued for systemic discrimination against minority coaches, raises the question about how much things have really changed.

Brands didn’t hesitate to transform themselves in the face of the pandemic. Necessity is the mother of all innovation to paraphrase a cliche. According to KPMG’s Global Head of Advisory, thanks to the pandemic, “The move to digitization has accelerated, and the benefits will be permanent…There is no going back.” McKinsey data suggests that 80% of consumer interactions have moved online and that the pandemic has caused a quantum leap, having sped up digital adaptation by several years. Deloitte says that “to grow and thrive in a post-COVID-19 world, swift digital transformation into a pandemic-proof organizational model is vital,” and the pandemic even inspired notoriously slow CPGs to accelerate their strategies

The move to digital as a response to the pandemic has been indisputable and unanimous, and it makes sense. Consumers are demanding that companies meet them where they are and that they deliver personalized experiences. Approximately 75% of consumers experimented with new shopping behaviors because of the pandemic and 80% of them expect to continue with those behaviors. Consumers are increasingly demanding more personalized experiences and expect to experience them digitally.

While DEI has grown in importance, the change in the wake of the George Floyd protests is more of a mixed bag. It wasn’t all bad at the Super Bowl. For the first time in the history of Super Bowl advertisements, “female BIPOC representation (46%) and male BIPOC representation (41%) mirrored the 38% BIPOC US population,” and we saw the first hip-hop act to headline a history making and extremely well received halftime show. Those bright spots, however are probably overshadowed by the fact that the NFL is currently being sued for systemic discrimination. The NFL isn’t alone. In the last month Tesla has been sued by California for systemic discrimination in its factories and Spotify has been in the news for all the wrong reasons because of racist comments made by its most popular podcast host. 

In our last blog post, Talk is Cheap: Consumers Demand DEI Action, we dropped a lot of data about how consumers are demanding DEI action, just like they are demanding digital transformation.

«Research is basically unanimous that consumers want more diversity. According to Facebook IQ 71% of NOW Gen consumers expect brands to promote DEI in their advertising. According to Microsoft 70% of Gen Z consumers are more trusting of brands that show diversity. A study conducted by The Female Quotient, Google, and IPSOS found that 64% of NOW Gen consumers took some action after seeing an ad that incorporated DEI. That same study found that 69% of Black consumers were more likely to purchase from a brand whose ads positively represented their race, and that 71% of LGBTQ consumers were more likely to click ads that authentically represent their sexual orientation. Furthermore, 75% of Gen Z consumers will end relationships with companies that run ad campaigns perceived as macho, racist, or homo­phobic. These statistics pretty much speak for themselves, and the trend is that DEI is only becoming more important to consumers.»

The data raises a rather unfortunate question: in the face of equally pressing consumer demands, why can brands make monumental changes at speeds never before seen in the realm of digital transformation, but they can’t do the same in addressing issues of systemic racism and discrimination? In a famous New Yorker essay, Letter from a Region in My Mind, James Baldwin theorized that “America, of all the Western nations, has been best placed to prove the uselessness and the obsolescence of the concept of color. But it has not dared to accept this opportunity, or even to conceive of it as an opportunity.” 

Some brands do see the opportunity, and they’re making changes. Levi-Strauss says that “Digital Transformation Depends on Diversity,” and in the eponymous article they lay-out several strategies to combat discrimination that results directly from digital transformation. Google’s Super Bowl ad spoke directly to how their technology takes into account the difficulties some people have in being photographed emphasizing that their product makes sure that “everyone feels seen.” Hershey’s, for example, has created a new position, Chief Diversity Officer, that already boasts a laundry list of DEI focused action and initiatives. We wholeheartedly applaud these brands and their efforts, but it has to be said that a handful of brands alone won’t make a difference.

As no other writer has described as deftly the problems of race  U.S., we leave you with another classic quote from the great James Baldwin: 

“Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise. If we—and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others—do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world. If we do not now dare everything, the fulfillment of that prophecy, re-created from the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!”

NOW Gen brands have a unique opportunity to change history with respect to diversity, equity, inclusion, systemic discrimination and racism, just like they are changing history by moving us into the digital age, but without DEI transformation, digital transformation won’t be any transformation at all. 

Brands

How to gather first-party data in a cookieless world

Twenty-five years ago, a magic tool called cookies that changed digital advertising was born.

Thanks to them, marketers could identify, build a profile based on interactions, and activate engagement through a series of messages. Cookies were also helpful for insight and brand impact. Relying on them seemed like a perfect strategy for gaining customers’ data, but these good old days are over now. The end of cookies is coming in 2022, and brands need to build trust and create unique experiences for their users to gather relevant data organically and under their consent.

As challenging and uncertain as this sounds for the industry, we are on the verge of a new year, and it’s the perfect time for brands to reassess their strategies, let go of depending on one third-party resource for data and strengthen their client relationships. 

Try inbound.

The numbers are here, 94% of customers leave and unfollow brands when they see irrelevant promotions and messages; nevertheless, 93% will buy again at companies if they find a remarkable service, 77% will recommend their experience on socials and reviews. So, to get positive numbers rolling in your marketing strategy and gather first-party data, inbound can be the answer. 

Inbound is a philosophy based on helping people and building relationships with them by guiding them throughout their journey. An inbound practice is built under three pillars (attract, engage, delight). It can be adapted into your funnel into many techniques, such as offering educational and resourceful content that consumers can use or creating platforms or bots to provide excellent customer service for people. Positive inbound can lead to a share of data under the user’s consent, so it’s essential to keep in mind to be as human as possible in your strategy, be empathetic with users through mindful research, have a constant conversation with customers and standardize your communication for consistency.

Trust influencer marketing

Today, shoppers live on social media an average of 144 minutes a day. They enjoy browsing, discovering, and purchasing from an ad or influencers. 

50% of Gen Z shops after seeing an influencer recommendation because they bring a deep sense of connection, and credibility to their audience. Investing in influencer marketing creates a bridge to purchase, so try having them not only for awareness but also across your customer journey and providing them with call-to-actions to direct their users to your shopping basket and gather first-party data. 

If you have a problem picking which influencers are the right ones, try including AI in your practices. Machine learning can help identify content in a way humans can’t, monitor each influencer activity, and help you optimize your budget. 

Give them control. 

Don’t think that you will no longer cooperate with Google or Facebook; they accommodate your objectives, so it’s essential to learn to work with them efficiently. Find strategies that can help gather email addresses and even phone numbers. These data can be shared within these platforms and help create a custom audience within these first-party data ecosystems. Design a Customer Data Platform or Data Management, or acquire them from a vendor and offer ethical, reliable customer-centric experiences that empower users and give them control over their data. 

The road for marketers is still under construction, with many challenges ahead. It’s essential that during these changes, such as the elimination of cookies, you can count on a partner that can make your strategies become a reality in a cost-efficient manner. AT 121, thanks to our Speed Philosophy, we can work with our clients and deliver projects in record time without compromising their budgets. So give us a call, and together we will find the right strategy and tools to make you shine across your 2022 marketing journey. 

Brands

The importance of a solid brand’s purpose

Brand purpose is vital because it demonstrates to your customers that you are more than your products, services, or advertising efforts. You have a goal that is larger than merely making a profit. A new generation of customers wants businesses to stand for something broader than the items they sell. They want businesses to represent an inspirational ethos, have a strong point of view, and take action to influence the world positively. So check out if your brand has the guidelines to earn a check on the purpose section.

Examine your own brand’s purpose as well as the brand you represent

A brand mission is a brand’s reason for existence other than to make money. It’s the ‘Why?’ behind the brand, the spirit of your company — it connects with customers on an emotional level via shared ideals, solved challenges, and distilled meaning. It propels business, helps individuals, and improves society: Is your brand’s motivation for a purpose other than to make money?

Think of your brand purpose manifests itself positively in the eyes of others? Is it capable of fostering emotional attachments and connections? After all, we are all in the same boat, so ask yourself if your brand is improving business, people, and society; most importantly, how do these responses relate to your company’s or product’s brand?

Difference between brand purpose and brand vision, mission, and values

So far, we’ve discussed the brand purpose, but it’s equally critical to define what a brand’s mission isn’t. Your brand’s purpose is not the same as its vision, mission, or values. They are interconnected; each builds on the other. However, if your brand’s vision, mission, and values are the building bricks, consider your brand’s purpose of being the foundation.

Where you are heading is defined by your brand vision. Your mission will determine how you will get there. And your values will determine how you act along the way. They are all inward-looking. They represent you when discussing your brand. They are crucial to identify, but none are as potent as your purpose.

Your purpose—or Big Audacious Meaning—is the overarching explanation for why you do what you do. It should be placed above the vision, purpose, and values to educate and guide them. It is priceless because it is outward-looking, defining the change you will make in a person’s life, a community, or perhaps the planet. Clarifying your mission helps consumers understand how your brand benefits them and their world.

Purpose that sells

The concept of brand purpose is especially crucial when marketing to millennials, who favor businesses that generate social and environmental change, according to 71% of them. A groundbreaking global study analyzing the value of brands with a well-defined «Purpose» shows that consumers are four to six times more likely to buy from those brands, as a Forbes article reveals.

In many circumstances, the contemporary customer is seeking a relationship rather than a product. They do not need to be sold; instead, they must be inspired. What emotions does the brand elicit in them? Is it consistent with their fundamental values and beliefs? As consumers’ interests shift, marketers must interact with social audiences deeper, more personal level than ever before.

To build a strong relationship with your brand, you can apply Keller’s brand equity model and boost your brand’s equity. This tool outlines four actions you can take to create and manage a brand that your consumers will support. Overall Purpose-Driven Marketing is at the core of a previous strategy to achieve more significant customer connections.

At 121, we aim to help you achieve your brand’s objective, not to compete against your creative, strategic, or In-House agencies. We adapt and implement your global campaigns to suit and comply with your outlets’ requirements while also aligned with your brand’s equity and helping you build a clear purpose.

From Social & E-comm content, graphic design, digital implementation to integrated production, 121 will work with you to grow your brand while giving you peace of mind. We genuinely believe that we can play a significant role in your success, for us, the Fastest day-to-day Design and Content Studio for many global Fortune 500 companies.

Brands

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 walmart.com. 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.

Brands

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!