New consumers demand a new breed of innovations in the products and services they are using. Below, Peter Lorange and Jimmi Rembiszewski discuss growth and profitability, and argue that firms and societies must be open-minded in identifying relevant customers, and find entirely new ways to innovate and communicate.
Many fast-moving consumer goods companies, as well as many other types of firms, are following elaborate business plans, typically built around customer insights that may have developed over many years. But these current business plans may not work as well any longer. There seems to be a new breed of important consumers – “multitaskers” that are fundamentally comfortable with the new world of IT-based approaches to analysis and communication. Social media, the web, apps, etc. are central parts of their reality. These consumers do perhaps tend more to value dimensions such as quality and prestige. Lower costs per se may not be the only thing. We are probably no longer faced with what might be seen as a natural evolution of consumer tastes, but a true quantum change – indeed a discontinuity! This new breed of consumers seems indeed to be entirely different from what we have been used to so far.
These new consumers may demand a new breed of innovations in the products and/or services they are using too. These innovations typically may tend to be rather incremental, building on already existing product and/or services offerings. And it is key that these are coming about in a fast way – the modern consumers simply demand this! Not surprisingly, innovations that focus on creating prestige, status and quality tend to be more central. And, it goes without saying that an innovation must be truly appreciated by the modern consumer – if not it is indeed not a true innovation, but simply wistful “noise”.