Today’s consumers are digitally savvy, glued to their mobiles and always a ‘like’ or swipe away from their next byte of digital gratification. As the internet – and the degree of connectivity it offers us – continues to fundamentally alter our behavior, we’ve come to expect experiences that are captivating, relevant and engaging. Modern day consumer behavior is incredibly intricate and complex, and deserving of more than a cursory glance. For the sake of this blog, we’ve highlighted the five defining characteristics of 21st century consumers that you need to consider.
1. The ubiquitous mobile phone defines the modern day consumer.
Mobile phones have radically changed (and continue to change) the way we live our lives. We can order takeout, find a date, play virtual reality games, buy a new pair of sneakers and connect with friends and family in far-flung places – all thanks to a device in the palm of our hands. As such, the way we interact with brands has drastically changed too. The rise of mCommerce, in particular, has brands sitting up and taking notice. Consider the following statistic from Invesp: mCommerce sales are set to reach $86 billion by the end of 2016, making up 24% of all eCommerce sales – double the amount of a mere four years ago.
2. No longer satisfied with one device, the modern day consumer is online via two devices or more.
If you’re partial to kicking back and watching Netflix while you scroll through your Instagram feed, you’re not alone. In fact, accessing two different types of content via two different devices is now the norm; with 87% of US consumers using a second device while watching television, according to Adweek. The ramifications of this behavior for brands are considerable. Today, omni-channel marketing strategies are expected, because if you want to connect with your consumers, you need to be visible on more than one channel. In the same vein, there are countless other brands vying for your market’s attention on multiple platforms, which means that your content needs to be engaging, enjoyable to the consumer and, ultimately, relevant if you want it to stand out.
3. The modern day consumer is more visually driven than ever before.
Humans are inherently visually driven creatures, and thanks to the digital age’s onslaught of visual content in the form of video, memes and gifs, we’ve been conditioned to prefer images over words. At the end of last year, TechCrunch reported that Facebook “sees 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users”, making the old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ an apt description of the modern consumer’s modus operandi. What’s more, this article by Matthew Ferrara notes that as millennials – who were taught to read via the ‘look, say’ method, as opposed to the phonetic method used by previous generations – enter the consumer market, images are the most crucial marketing currency for this portion of the market. As such, this has given rise to marketing campaigns that are fuelled by the power of images. In short: it’s out with copy and in with visually-driven marketing messages.
4. Short attention spans have made the modern day consumer a demanding one.
As our lives become increasingly digitally influenced, our attention spans (and patience) continue to dwindle. As such, modern consumers want what they want, when they want it – and if your brand can’t give it to them, they’ll look elsewhere. What’s more, you need to be able to provide your market with an exceptional experience that’s tailored to their individual needs and preferences in order to demonstrate that you value their patronage.
5. Customer assistance that’s fast and sincere is now expected.
Possibly one of the greatest benefits of social media is that it’s largely done away with the stressful (and often infuriating) ordeal of trying to contact customer support. We no longer have to wait on hold while we’re blasted with elevator music in an effort to communicate with a brand. Today, we take to social media to air our grievances and share our praise. This has seen the social media manager begin to replace the old school call center, as brands clamor to put processes in place to ensure that no tweet is left unseen and no follow goes unmentioned.
Connecting with the modern consumer – whether they’re in Berlin or Baghdad – relies on an in-depth understanding of their unique requirements, buying behavior, and cultural context. Download our guide, ‘The Psychology of Marketing Messaging’ to learn how to create marketing campaigns that get to the hearts of your audience.
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The Japanese palate is a decidedly savory one, which makes the odds of the market embracing a candy brand (a foreign one at that) pretty slim. Yet Nestlé’s localization of their British-born chocolate bar, the KitKat, has been so successful that tourists from all corners of the globe now flock to Japanese KitKat concept stores in search of a souvenir to bring back home. Kit Kat’s success at winning over the Japanese market is a localization success story if there ever was one. Here’s how they made it big in Japan:
The fortuitous translation of KitKat’s slogan, “have a break, have a kitkat” into Kitto Katsu, which means “surely win”, set the stage for the brand’s expansion into the Japanese market.
The majority of brands aren’t that fortunate, as the direct translation of their slogans most often results in a nonsensical phrase, or worse, something offensive or markedly negative. HSBC’s now infamous marketing gaffe resulted in their English slogan translating into “Do nothing”. Luckily for Nestlé, KitKat’s slogan turned out to work in their favor. Through sheer luck, KitKat’s slogan (when translated into Japanese) would serve as the catalyst for the brand reaching the number one spot for confectionery brands in Japan. That said, the Nestlé brand didn’t rise to the meteoric popularity they enjoy today without the aid of some strategic localization.
Upon realizing that their slogan translated into Kitto Katsu, KitKat partnered with Japan’s Postal Service to roll out an ingenious marketing campaign.
In what was an unusual move in a market known for its advanced technology, and the embracement thereof, Nestlé decided to invest in solely below-the-line marketing campaigns. The idea for ‘KitKat mail’ was sparked by the fact that Japanese customers were already giving loved ones KitKats as a token of good luck, specifically for higher-education entrance exams. Nestlé capitalized on this, and rolled out ‘KitKat Mail’, “a postcard-like product sold only at the post office that could be mailed to students as an edible good-luck charm”, reports AdAge.com. By localizing their marketing tactics to the fact that the giving of gifts remains an important Japanese ritual, Nestlé’s campaign firmly cemented the humble KitKat as a key player in Japan’s candy market.
Since then, Nestlé has rolled out more than 300 KitKat flavors which are unique to the Japanese market and ironically, coveted by many a foreign tourist.
If you’ve ever wondered what a sweet potato flavored KitKat would taste like, you can try it for yourself (if you’re in Japan that is). A vast array of flavors, including edamame soybean, passion fruit, matcha green tea, wasabi, blueberry cheesecake, chocobanana and many, many more. An introduction of unusual KitKat flavors isn’t the only way the brand aligned itself to the Japanese market. Visitors to any KitKat concept store can order their KitKat in the form of a sandwich, croissant, tea or even train ticket. In the wake of the devastating 2001 tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster, KitKat joined forces with Sanriku Railway in northeastern Tohoku, in an effort to encourage people to visit the region in order to support its recovery. KitKat Japan finally took their success online in the form of an ecommerce store, where customers can personalize their KitKats with photographs and messages.
A willingness to adapt their original product, a cognizance of cultural nuance and tradition, a thorough understanding of their market and a little bit of luck made KitKat Japan a stand-out localization success story.
We help global brands to build their own localization success story. If you’d like to learn more about what successful product expansion entails, download our eBook, ‘The Ultimate Guide to Global Product Expansion’.
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Entering a new market is a daunting undertaking. That doesn’t mean it’s an impossible one, but thriving in an unfamiliar territory relies on having your wits about you. It also relies on having the support and backing of your international stakeholders. But getting to the point where everyone is on the same page, despite conflicting time zones, schedules and opinions, requires some strategic management (and a healthy dose of patience and diplomacy).
If you’re about to launch your product in a new country or market, these are the steps you can take to make the management of your international stakeholders that much more fruitful:
Know who your international stakeholders are.
Sounds obvious, yet many of the miscommunications and conflicts that arise when several stakeholders are working together are due to the fact that they know very little about each other. Much like you’d conduct thorough research into your new market, you need to equip yourself with more than a first name and email address. Schooling yourself on the job roles of each person, their assigned role in your product expansion, and their attitude toward it will make it that much easier to establish a relationship than going into a meeting or conference call without any idea of who you’re talking to.
Don’t underestimate the power of one-on-one communication.
We’re by no means suggesting you pay each international stakeholder a visit, but we are advising that you reach out to everyone involved personally. Whether this is via an introductory email, a phone call or an actual meeting will depend on your proximity to each other and the juggling of your schedules. Making the effort to initiate personal communication goes a long way in facilitating a mutually beneficial working relationship.
Make regular communication with all international stakeholders a priority.
If you want everyone to work toward a common goal, you need to be touching base with all concerned on a regular basis. Providing weekly or bi weekly updates to all involved ensures that everyone is up to speed with the latest developments and challenges. Regular communication also serves as a platform where concerns can be raised in a democratic and level-headed manner.
Put personal agendas aside.
While the launching of your product in a new market is something that you’re understandably protective of, going in with a “it’s my way or the highway” attitude does not make for smooth sailing. Instead, set out clear goals and objectives that need to be met, and then communicate the course of action that needs to be followed. Be open to feedback and constructive criticism, after all, the buy-in from your international stakeholders is crucial to the overall success of your expansion.
Gain a thorough understanding of their priorities.
Your international stakeholders have a crucial influence on the outcome of your product expansion. You need to make sure that you’re acutely aware of their expectations. If you’re not absolutely crystal clear as to what they define as a successful product expansion, as well as their ideas about how to go about the process, ask. When the stakes are this high, you can’t afford to leave anything to assumption.
We provide localization consulting and services to leading global brands, helping them to navigate the product expansion process easily and successfully. Download our eBook, ‘The Ultimate Guide to Product Expansion’ to learn more about what this process entails, and how you can make that sure yours is a success.
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