Trends to Watch

What do co-donating, perkonomics, brand butlering, tryvertising, eco-generosity, free love, RAK, and (F)rigid no more have in common besides being really sort of cool buzz words? Well these are the trends that the consumer trends firm is suggesting for a new generation called the G Generation. G is for generous, not greedy.

According to Trendwatching, consumers are fatigued and downright angry about the greedy generation of business that treat them like they are suckers. And businesses need to differentiate themselves from that view if they hope to be profitable. Ah yes, profits are still important but unless you are creatively addressing this consumer perspective then you can forget about growing those profits. Lots of these ideas are ones that the ebook community should take to heart where DRM is concerned. They are also ideas that small business has to embrace since they have less rope to hang themselves with then bigger business.

And Trendwatching knows that yes,

“there’s hardly a company left that doesn’t have some kind of ‘social responsibility’ program in place. But while supporting a faraway orphanage, making sure office coffee cups are recycled, and celebrating an annual ‘Diversity Day’ are all laudable causes, social responsibility is hardly ever more than the sum of a number of initiatives that at times can feel forced—a response to societal pressures instead of a holistic desire to be good and to be generous. And we haven’t even addressed the need to incorporate generosity towards employees and, above all, customers.”

So quickly what do these cool buzz words mean?

  1. Co-donate: Start with social responsibility, charity and good causes. There are lots of innovative corporate donation programs popping up, and one characteristic many share is that—in tune with the ‘age of collaboration’—they ask customers to co-decide and (often) co-donate. Another common element is the use of online and/or mobile technologies to make the most of impulse-driven and/or networked fundraising and donating.
  2. Perkonomics: “A new breed of perks and privileges, added to brands’ regular offerings, is satisfying consumers’ ever-growing desire for novel forms of status and/or convenience, across all industries. The benefits for brands are equally promising: from escaping commoditization to showing empathy in turbulent times.”
  3. Brand Butler: “If consumers value the authentic, the practical, the exclusive, and they’re also forever looking to make life more convenient, even save some time, then why persist in bombarding them with one-way advertising campaigns? Instead of stalking potential and existing customers, why not assist them in smart, generous, relevant ways, making the most of your products and whatever it is your brand stands for?”
  4. Tryvertising: “A new breed of product placement in the real world, integrating your goods and services into daily life in a relevant way, so that consumers can make up their minds based on their experience, not your messages.”
  5. Eco-generosity: “Expect companies who are serious about GENERATION G and the environment to quickly move from merely neutralizing and offsetting their undesirable eco-effects to actually boosting the environment by going the extra mile.”
  6. Free Love: “The ongoing rise of free, valuable stuff that’s available to consumers online and offline, from AirAsia tickets to Wikipedia, and from diapers to music. FREE LOVE thrives on an all-out war for consumers’ ever-scarcer attention and the resulting new business models and marketing techniques, but also benefits from the ever-decreasing costs of producing physical goods, the post-scarcity dynamics of the online world (and the related avalanche of free content created by attention-hungry members of GENERATION C), the many C2C marketplaces enabling consumers to swap instead of spend, and an emerging recycling culture. “
  7. RAK: Here’s a simple, under-used branding tactic that, if practiced consistently and long-term, will delight customers, and do more for positive brand buzz than most mass advertising campaigns: random acts of kindness. Yes, that’s right; everything from picking up the tab to sending a surprise gift to loyal customers—preferably in a well-crafted, well-understood campaign—will soften up even the toughest of customers.
  8. (F)rigid No More: Last but not least, there’s a world to be won by being less rigid—if not downright frigid—when it comes to interacting with your customers. (F)RIGID NO MORE is as close as you’ll get to the required ‘generous’ mindset. It’s about return policies that don’t require a receipt from loyal customers. It’s about hotels not charging an extra night for that late checkout. It’s about ditching three-months-notice rules for a gym member who wants to cancel his membership due to illness. It’sas described by the always excellent Seth Godinabout recommending a competitor to a customer that you can’t help.