millennials think tank

Amid shifting consumer preferences and expectations, emerging insights from Nielsen’s “Consumer 360” conference suggest brands need to “be the change” in order to thrive.

“The challenge to marketers now is to think about their own organizations, ask themselves how ready their internal organizations are to reflect this change,” senior vice president and general manager of multicultural growth and strategy at Nielsen, Monica Gil said during the conference. “Identifying the complex dynamics and rapid pace of the changing consumer will allow marketers to apply multidimensional thinking and to think differently about their marketing approaches, as well as connecting authentically with shoppers and viewers.”

Those dynamics have dramatically tilted into unchartered territory in the last several years. According to Nielsen research, around 75 percent of Americans now own a smartphone that’s causing them to hyper-connected and distracted, presenting new challenges for marketers. According to Nielsen, 85 percent of U.S. consumers are on their phone while watching T.V.

That’s not to mention the general nature of individuals has shifted — according to its research, 92 percent of the total growth of the U.S. population between 2000 and 2014 has been in multicultural groups. Census projections suggest that multicultural populations will be in the majority by 2044.

“The world has changed and continues to evolve, permanently forcing companies to adjust even their most abiding assumptions of how they do business,” said Gil.

But brands are encountering roadblocks regarding their maturation — how to pivot quickly, yet effectively to capture consumers for the long run, not a quick fix. According to Gil, to survive the metamorphosis of the retail market, brands are prepared to respond and deliver to multiple groups simultaneously — can a Baby Boomer and Millennial enjoy shopping journeys at the same brand, but independent of one another?

This also necessitates that brands remain loyal to core consumers, even as they expand to reach prospective shoppers, Gil suggested. To achieve this, she went on to recommend that brands take a proactive approach to trial new initiatives — deploying predictive analytics will be crucial to succeed here.

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