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Alibi Content’s Top 3 Takeaways From Marketing Evolution 2019

The way consumers connect with brands is constantly changing. New technology, non-traditional media platforms, aging populations, and shifting social climates mean that C-Suite marketing professionals must be on the ball. They need to be ready and willing to adapt to the quickly-changing needs of the future consumer.


Alibi Content Director of Sales, Anna Wasylenki, recently attended the Marketing Evolution C-Suite Summit in Toronto, Ontario. With a focus on marketing shifts in an age of disruption, the conference featured talks from CMOs and marketing professionals from brands such as Clorox, A&W, MEC, Flow Water, and Social Lite Vodka.


Here’s what we learned:

Gen Z will begin to occupy the largest consumer demographic. They are tech-savvy, youthful, and more engaged with social issues and politics than ever before. (Image Source: Pexels - Buro Millennial)

1.Consumers are becoming laser-focused and socially-conscious:


As we move forward, baby boomers will be part of the workforce until well into their 70s. There will be more living centenarians, while Gen Z will begin to occupy the largest consumer demographic.


So what does that mean for brands? An aging population of baby boomers and centenarians will look to pharmaceutical companies to solve their health concerns. To date, we’ve already seen the emergence of personalized medicine thanks to the Fitbit and Apple watch. Further technology and personalization in the healthcare space is sure to follow. AI, health & wellness, and Pharma will be expanding industries of interest to watch as we enter the next decade.


Gen Z refers to those born between 1996 and 2004. In other words, they make up the coveted 16-24 demographic. They are tech-savvy, youthful, and more engaged with social issues and politics than ever before. These future leaders value brands that are transparent, share their values, and promote diversity and responsible messaging.


Brands of the future must become ambassadors for social change and become more responsible when it comes to issues such as climate change, body positivity, and LGBTQ visibility and inclusivity. Digital storytelling and non-traditional advertising will form a majority, while commercial ad revenue will deplete.


The past few years posed a struggle for MEC as it received severe backlash from a lack of diverse representation in their advertising. In response, the brand rose above the stigma by creating three short-form documentaries focusing on diverse adventurers, producing a cross-Canada ad campaign debating the question: Do white people dominate the outdoors? The brand also hired Judith Kasmia, the woman behind the race debate, as their new brand ambassador. These controversial but humbling moves brought brand love back to MEC because they were transparent in their lack of knowledge and steps they were willing to take to rectify it.

With such a widespread emphasis on the climate crisis, sustainability is no longer optional: it is essential. (Image Source: Giin)

2. Sustainability is key:


The conversation around climate change has consumed much of the media as of late. This past month saw climate change being discussed in political debates, a climate summit at the UN, and dozens of climate marches around the world.


With such a widespread emphasis on the climate crisis, sustainability is no longer optional: it is essential. Consumers care about the environment, and they expect brands to share this same value.


Many brands are moving forward with green initiatives. Clorox has taken an important stand to alter consumer perceptions of its subsidiary brands by promoting the benefits of bleach through their ‘What Comes Next’ campaign, partnering Brita with Me to We to bring clean water to Kenyan families, and instigating a new Glaad Garbage Bags initiative across different municipalities in Ontario.


Leading the charge on the sustainability front is A&W. The fast food chain recently launched a series of campaigns, most notably switching from plastic to paper straws across Canada, and using the excess plastic to create an art installation at Toronto’s Union Station. The QSR also connected with a variety of vegan influencers to promote their new partnership with Beyond Meat. Valuing authenticity over all else, the brand gave their voice to the vegan community, proving that there is no room for false advertising when it comes to the brands A&W chooses to connect with.


When it comes to sustainability, starting a conversation won’t cut it anymore; brands need to take a stand and take action in order to prove to consumers that they share their values.


Brands must act in a way that not only illustrates their added-value to consumers, but that they can adapt together and continue to satisfy their demographic’s changing needs. (Image Source: ecommerce insiders)

3. Brand loyalty is a thing of the past:


Gone are the days of unflinching brand loyalty. In an age when consumers are growing more and more cynical, brands need to continuously prove their worth. Brands must act in a way that not only illustrates their added-value to consumers, but that they can adapt together and continue to satisfy their demographic’s changing needs. As we move towards the future, younger generations will push brands to be more responsible in their messaging so that they, in turn, can make more informed decisions about the brands they choose to connect with.


Nowadays, a flashy product or cool activation will only get a brand so far. Consumers want to associate themselves with brands that affirm their personal beliefs and perceptions. This is why it’s imperative that brands adapt to shifting social trends and work towards deeper connections with their consumer base. This opens a window into the values and ethos that represent each brand the most. Brands are able to speak to consumers, instead of speaking at them. (Forbes)


A brand focused on appeasing a millennial demographic, Social Lite has expanded quickly and significantly because they identified a real problem and used a real consumer base to solve it. A ‘mixed drink’ used to be time-consuming to pour, and didn’t come easily-packaged, making it an inconvenient choice for a variety of different social events. As well, sugar has recently taken a beating making the sickly-sweet canned cocktail a thing of the past. Social Lite’s founders realized that young people don’t just buy products from brands, they join tribes. Their strategy? Always put the ‘fans’ front and centre. To that end, Social Lite used real LCBO employees in their ad campaigns and created interactive contests and Instagram posts to personally engage with their demographic. Putting the fans first, and taking their concerns and needs to heart is one of the strongest ways to hold a loyal consumer base.


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