How do Americans feel about spending money, the economy and the outlook for tomorrow? According to research by consulting firm The Futures Company , 67% of people surveyed say they feel more secure about their finances and have a sense of optimism and excitement about the future. Armed with this knowledge, foodservice brands can seize the moment to channel feelings of goodwill into true business value.
In a webinar entitled "State of the Consumer," hosted in November 2015 by Coca-Cola, The Futures Company discussed four ways foodservice providers can capitalize on the energy and enthusiasm of today's consumer.
- Boost innovation and value-based consumption.
The more consumers are willing to spend, the more opportunities brands should present to earn their business. The Futures Company found that while 19% of consumers are willing and able to spend, 38% are not willing to part with their money. Brands can motivate consumers by moving from a defensive position to an offensive one; by inspiring instead of reassuring; and by removing barriers and motivating people to buy. How to accomplish these strategies? Look for ways to enliven the consumer experience by showing what you stand for — healthy living or charitable giving, for examples. Identify ways to improve service and make every interaction valuable.
- Sell to the heart.
Brands need to tell their stories and inspire people to share their ideas and feelings. The data revealed that 73% of consumers feel that very little, if any, advertising and marketing is relevant to them. Instead of talking about brands as a way to convince people to spend, it's better to give them ideas that move them to share with others. Storytelling cuts through the fatigue brought on by hard-sell marketing and advertising. People love stories and they enjoy sharing them with others. Companies that can connect with their customers through stories have a greater impact on those customers.
- Market to Millennials.
At 83 million strong, the 19- to 34-year-old demographic represents the largest population in the United States. It also has enormous economic and social power. As such, brands must connect with them to earn their loyalty. Millennials are value-based consumers who believe that the brands they buy say a lot of about the kind of person they are. Finding ways to reach millennials with the messages and channels, such as mobile apps, they prefer is essential to business success.
- Adapt and respond.
Foodservice businesses need an agile, flexible communications strategy to reflect the unique ways in which culture changes and flows. There isn't a one-size-fits-all strategy for any demographic category, and businesses must recognize the importance of marketing to individuals, not groups. Consumer sentiment has changed over the last 15 years, and more people believe that individualism is important. Think about ways to disrupt the market to bring greater value and loyalty to your brand. For example, when The Coca-Cola Company introduced the Coca-Cola Freestyle® dispenser, we gave consumers a cool new way to think about soft drinks, giving them more than 100 options in one place and the chance to mix their own beverages. It was — and still is — an innovation that captures imaginations and sales. Ask yourself how your company can change the status quo.
With these four ideas in mind, you can market your products and services smarter, not harder.
For more information on consumer sentiment and other topics, sign up for our monthly Refreshing Inisghts by Coca-Cola webinars.