“Staying ahead by seeing around corners”

 

Seth Hillstrom:

Jeff Fromm is here with us today to talk about the future of our brands and businesses – and why that may not be such a pretty picture if we don’t take the time to look ahead. Jeff is one of the foremost experts on “future-proofing” your brand, so we’re thrilled to have a chance to pick his brain!
Don’t miss the leading minds in beverage, marketing, and beyond – including Jeff’s deeper dive on this topic – this fall at eBev, October 24-26 (http://ebevseries.com)
Jeff, thanks so much for joining us today!

I’m ready to “talk” via this chat now.

Seth:

Jeff, your research, books, blog, and presentations have illuminated marketers around the world by putting a spotlight on the need to secure your brand/business’s future by always understanding “who” your future consumers are. Can you tell us why this is so critical to sustainable growth and success?

Jeff:

Great brands identify need states and in the case of alcohol beverages palette states and more.  Today’s modern consumer curates their identity in part through social channels.  Brands need to do more than make a great tasting product they need to tap into the emotional drivers that make it hard to switch away from the brand for alternatives.

Seth:

The progression of your research is naturally described by the titles of the three books you’ve authored on the subject: Marketing to Millennials, Millennials with Kids, and now Marketing to Gen Z. I’ve got my questions about Gen Z, but first I thought it could be fun for you to illustrate what you think is the most important shift in paradigm from Millennials to Gen Z – do you have a story or example you could share?

Jeff:

Gen Z is a lot more “Old Souls in Young Bodies” which means they are digital, social & mobile to the core but with more traditional values.  The classic example would be #neveragain.  it is a movement started by Gen Z.  Millennials and Gen X have really not been nearly as vocal on topics regardless of their views.  Further Gen Z is looking for brands to show proof.  I mean “proof” not alcohol content by the actions they take.

Seth:

Okay, so you’ve described today’s teens, Gen Z, as pragmatic, principled, and possessing significant digital prowess. Let’s unpack some of that and look at how it applies to our brands and businesses today. What does it mean to win share of heart from consumers who care about more than how much they like your products?

Jeff:

So great tasting products have to be priced well and easily available and if you do all that you still get a B- on your report card.  Getting to an A means building emotional connections through different paths — innovation, being a culturally relevant brand, driving purpose, being hyper-easy to use (not just easy) as well as a few other points we’ll cover at the Conference.

Seth:

…what about from consumers who are mobile-first in a way that far-exceeds that of their predecessors?

Jeff:

First mobile-first in the US and mobile-only in many countries.  For the US, the expectations are moving fast.  We work with Amazon and they have changed what consumers think brands can and should do.  I always say think “hyper” not just easy.  It is a way to create extra-ordinary brand value for a just in time buyer on their mobile unit which is not a phone.  I only get text back when I try to call ;0)

Seth:

Finally, can you tell us 3 things about Gen Z that may defy some common perceptions of today’s teens?

Jeff:

Several million are already over the age of 21 since they were born in 1996….1) they are competitive; 2) they are less willing to share info in social unless they see a quid pro quo and 3) they are interested in equality and fairness more than the environment which was big with Millennials — so CPG brands will not gain extra traction with enviro-friendly beer.

 

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