The importance of Brand & Corporate Purpose has grown over the last decade. Companies have understood the importance of Purpose as a growth driver...
Fine young minds frame the future of consumer marketing – A Middle East perspective.
A lot has already been said about the millennials (people aged between 18-35) or the generation shaped by social media. Young people have been the focus of marketers through time and for good, obvious reasons.
However unlike ‘generation X’ or ‘baby boomers’ the millennials, who are largely digital enthusiasts, are bringing a new era to the marketing world which demands for a complete review of the marketing structure, building a different set of capabilities and partnerships.
Millennials expect a mutual relationship with brands and companies. Given their influence, companies which nurture and grow a relationship with millennials and weave it into their company’s basic fibre, will see stronger growth moving forward.
Based on Sevendots’ experience and widespread research such as the one by The London School of Economics, unequivocally links breadth of positive consumer advocacy and brand performance.
There are three key areas which brands must consider if they are to adapt to the changing marketing environment:
1. More inclusive communication with brands and companies
Companies should start to review their traditional brand funnel approach and transform their marketing organisation into a set of collaborative activities with a two way open dialogue with consumers.
2. Relevant and authentic messages
Other than investing towards more innovative, targeted approaches to engage millenials, one-to-one or through small communities, messaging needs to resonate well with their personal interests.
To capture and hold their attention brands must have relevant content and purpose. The brand needs to be clear on what it stands for – be socially responsible to reflect the emerging values of millennials.
3. Encourage feedback and input
By establishing proactive ways to engage online, respond to consumer concerns and encourage feedback and brand input, marketers will create a strong base of positive advocates. Having such base will impact on the long term health of any business.
Millennials in the Middle East
The millennials in the Arab nations are no different. In fact there are reasons to indicate that even more focus and attention should be placed on this segment given that…
- 18-35 year olds constitute 40% of the total MENA population
- due to widespread online connectivity which has opened visibility to a diverse world, the gap between millennials and the previous Arab generation is considerably wider than is the generation gap in most other cultures.
Some dimensions of their relationship with social media…
- As with millennials everywhere else in the world, those in Arab nations are active consumers, researching products and services and are very comfortable with spreading the word widely about their brand and service experiences – positively and negatively.
- There is much stronger trust in social media for news and information compared with just a couple of years ago. Saudi Arabia has some of the highest Twitter and YouTube usage figures in the world.
- Given a choice between access to the internet or to a TV, the overriding majority of young Arabs would readily give up the latter.
Even though a large proportion of these young Arabs are keen to assess modern values and beliefs and have trust in social media, parents, family, religion and friends remain quite influential in their everyday life.
Going the digital route does not necessarily mean the need to leverage ‘modernity’ in the messaging, therefore. Traditionalism will work equally well and with strong traction.
The changing demands brought about by this generation requires a holistic and urgent plan of action including some critical organisational changes – marketers need to devise proactive ways to reach out and engage in order to secure long term gains.