About a decade ago the first wave of tech in India disrupted offline models across categories- from matrimony, media, jobs to books, hotels & apparels. But today, with the bulk of consumption decisively shifting to Millennials and Gen Z, many of these tech brands are trying to find ways to adapt.
Take any example- Set top box vs. On Demand Streaming, Job Portals vs. LinkedIn, Matrimony Sites vs. Dating Apps, OTAs vs. Airbnb- players who were once considered a leap from the traditional world already sound ‘traditional’ to the new generation.
For an instinctually digital generation, convenience of a seamless, streamlined & personalized tech experience is a given. New-age consumers look for benefits beyond that.
Through our research and work with over a dozen new-age tech led consumer product/service categories, we have culled 6 consumer trends that characterize, what we call as, “Disruption 2.0”:
TREND #1: CONSUMERS ARE EVOLVING FROM A CLASSIFIED TO A COMMUNITY MINDSET
Millennials started it and Gen Z is born with it the consumers today live in thriving real and virtual communities, bonding over common passions and interests. Spanning across geographies, demographics, and psychographics these companies have given control to consumers. From driver rating in Uber, property rating in Airbnb, reviews in TripAdvisor, product rating in Amazon to even peer feedback on Facebook & WhatsApp- community adds immense value and is a critical propeller of the confident DIY behaviour.
TREND #2: CONSUMERS PATH TO PURCHASE IS A REAL-TIME NONLINEAR JOURNEY:
With multiple channels available for awareness, consideration, purchase and feedback, the sequential path to purchase is changing. Inspiration often precedes awareness and comparison is substituting consideration.Further, in the seamless digital ecosystem, these steps are neither linear nor spaced over time. So, ‘Purchase Experience’ is becoming as important as ‘Product Experience’. A bad purchase experience can lead to a bad feedback even before actual product experience
TREND #3: POLARIZED IN THE RECOMMENDATION, CONSUMERS ARE VILIFYING DETRACTORS OR ACTIVE EVANGELISTS
It’s tough to find passive recommenders in a generation that’s quick to build opinions. Recommendation is passionately polarized- they will either vent out ire on multiple social channels or talk enthusiastically about the product or service with a missionary zeal across channels. Digital brands today need to offer smart hacks that inspire social sharing and enhance cool quotient. Discovering an unexplored travel destination through reviews or a great product deal through ratings becomes a social brownie point and is enthusiastically talked about, giving credit to self as well as to platform
TREND #4: CONSUMERS CARRY AN UPDATED VERSION OF VALUE SYSTEM, PURPOSE AND PRACTICALITY ARE KEY
Traditional idealistic values of patience, perseverance and hard work are morphing into new and cooler avatars of smart work, practicality & experimentation. It’s a generation that values experience over acquisition, functionality over vanity and seeks a meaning and sense of purpose in lives, jobs & brands. Brands & business models thus need to blend functionality with a larger purpose- that’s not superficial but is derived from category & consumer insights. Products which bring world closer, drive sustainability, facilitate asset light convenience and allow consumers to do more with less time & money will find higher resonance
TREND #5: CONSUMERS CONTROL THE CONTENT, ONUS ON BRAND TO BLEND INTO PASSION POINTS
Brands can no longer expect to intrude, spam, stalk and grab loyalty. New-gen has complete control over content it wants to consume and by implication, on ads it wants to see. Disruption 2.0 is about permissive advertising. Content that’s in sync with brands purpose and links to passion points of its TG will find better resonance. Brands will strike a chord with new-gen through a content that’s purposeful and is consistent across channels
TREND #6: NARRATIVE OF NATIVITY WON’T WORK- UP THE GAME AND ADOPT GLOBAL STANDARDS
Be it content, media, communities or brands, the consumption behaviour of new-age consumer is truly borderless. With easy access to stories and no dearth of examples, even their role models are often global. Thus, the national vs. international debate is redundant. Product with a strong purpose is the key to winnability. Ola vs. Uber, Flipkart vs. Amazon, Hike vs. WhatsApp- many marketing battles have proven this. Disruption 2.0, especially for Indian firms, is therefore a lot about upping the quality and product game- offering a tech experience that’s simple & intuitive and a service that’s best-in-class.
Gurudev Prasad is Co-Founder of BusyBeeBrands (www.busybeebrands.com) a boutique brand building firm that helps brands tell their ‘stories’ in a way that can make them memorable and differentiate them as desirable, leading to superior business results and better ROI on marketing investments.
In last 2 years, BusyBeeBrands has worked with some of the pioneering brands that have challenged the status quo and disrupted categories like fashion, commutation, real estate, travel, f&b, finance, hospitality, weight management, education and entertainment to name a few