I love this time of year. Cooler weather. Great food. More time with family. But I also love that my Inbox fills up with new trend reports. Here are some of my favorites (so far) related to the world of sustainability:
From Trendwatching.com’s 11 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2011
• Random Acts of Kindness: With the abundance of personal information available via social networking, innovative brands are starting to engage with consumers in immediately meaningful ways – picking up the tab, surprising customers with gifts, and generating charm, fun and lots of buzz factor.
• Pricing Pandemonium: The two billion online consumers are flexing their collective spending power with sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. Also check out flash sales – member communities are leveraging limited-time offers, local discounts, and dynamic pricing to spark impulse buys.
• Owner-less: As consumers recognize that they have enough stuff, they’re shifting to fractional ownership and lifestyle leasing options. Turns out, it’s access that people really want – to a Zipcar when they need it, public bikes, rental tools, parking spaces, designer clothes and accessories – without the expense, hassles and responsibility associated with ownership.
From Branding Strategy Insider:
• Value is what the consumer says it is: In today’s financial reality, consumers are looking for a reason to buy at all. Ubiquitous brands with no authentic meaning will lag behind those who clearly communicate what the brand stands for and what consumers believe that brand means.
• Ethosnomics: Consumers won’t tolerate brands who simply hitchhike on the social responsibility bandwagon – the commitment must be believable, sustained and engaging.
• Emotional Differentiation: As product choice continues to explode, brands will define themselves not by product innovation alone, but start to model themselves, their products and their processes by what emotional drivers they can fulfill. Want a good example? Think Zappos.com. They sell shoes, but their brand is tied into complete customer satisfaction – an emotional driver.
From Mintel’s Top CPG Trends for 2011
• Redefining Natural: We’ve seen in our Pulse studies that consumers prefer this term over organic, but truth is, it’s the unregulated one. Watch out for a crackdown on natural claims, as well as messaging with less emphasis on what’s not in a product.
• Garden State: the eat local, urban farming trend is still going strong even among city dwellers who are buying seeds, planting container gardens, and leasing out their rooftops to local CSAs.
What trends are you seeing in your category that will impact your marketing plans? Your process? Your consumer? These are a start, but keep your eyes open – there are plenty more that are having real impacts…