By Dave McCaughan, Co-Founder & Chairman, Marketing Futures
& Faiyaz Ahmed, Co-Founder & Partner, Marketing Futures
Seems obvious. But too many marketers forget their basic role: understand what matters to the people you hope will consume your offer and develop that brand strategy that says you can meet that need.
Forget trendy words like ‘consumers,’ ‘insights,’ and ‘trends.’ No, instead what marketers need to do is lots of market research to understand what matters to people. And, no, that does not mean asking GPT. We mean real research – deep interviews, observation studies (qualitative and quantitative), and carefully structured investigations, of course, about your category, but in our experience, real learning and real insight come from researching what is happening outside your category, what matters to people in the rest of their lives, and then applying that to differentiate your brand. So, look outside your category to find what matters, is inevitable, won’t go away, and is making a real difference. Then, develop your brand story to explain how you can match that need.
Examples? Well, the world is full of them. Dave has been lecturing on the subject for two decades. Ask us to see his ‘History of Men’s Underwear’ speech where he explains in detail how brands and categories develop by researching what is outside their category. But the good news is there are also lots of examples around you. We had a quick look at some ‘inevitable’ things that markets have to focus on in Bangladesh and take advantage of them.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS: The Pandemic-Obvious Outcome
Being conscious about health and mental wellness has people on high alert. COVID has made people rethink all aspects of health. Now, in this ‘sort of’ post-COVID world, we are seeing a lot of attention on mental health as it has become a serious concern. We want to be less stressed while trying to be more conscientious about all aspects of health. Sleep disorders are being reported a lot more, and people are willing to talk a lot more about anxiety and seeking therapy. Is your brand able to help people relax, feel safer, or add calmness? The obvious thing might be the heightened interest in organic turmeric, chia seed, garlic, and honey. Are you using ingredients like that? People are more conscious about the sourcing of foods, so organisations like iFarmer, Farmers Market Asia, and praniSheba which focus on e-tracing foods and perishables have emerged and are coming to their prime.
Ask your team: what are we able to do to help people feel calmer?
FORGET WORK-LIFE BALANCE: It Is All About Whole-Life Balance
Many people, well, a large number of office-based workers at least, have been introduced to a hybrid working model over the last 3 years. Good for many, troubling for others. The problem of how to separate work time, home time, and free time is harder as boundaries fall away. In all that, people realise that they need to create times and places and occasions that are separate and exclusive – maybe with their family, maybe on their own. And doing that out of home or office is even better because people tell us ‘balance’ in life means being ‘out of the norm.’ So yes, designated movie time or game time with family or friends becomes important. Destination Netflix, Prime Video, or Ludo King sessions are really important and great opportunities for brands of all kinds to be a part of. And then there is creating dates to eat out, short trips or even doing grocery shopping together.
Is your brand creating ‘occasions’ for people to break routines and enjoy life?
USE TIME WISELY
Stuck in endless traffic? it is a pain but also a time people wish they could make more use of. Interestingly, during the peak of COVID shut-ins, people told us they missed commuting because it was a time they had to themselves. So, how is your brand helping people make better use of their precious time – not just in traffic but at all times? Sure, Zoom and Google Meet are the best friends of office-working people trying to avoid another jam, but, think broader. Quick learning apps for students have been booming. 10 Minutes School is the most popular one extending varieties of short courses from basic English learning courses to IELTS, communication skills, etc. But the possibilities are endless for any brand. For example, the average under-30-year-old Dhaka resident plays mobile games for nearly four hours every day. Is your brand active in finding ways to be a part of that ‘fun’ time? Are you one of the brands producing entertaining, educational short-form content?
Make sure your brand is not just about the product but about the service that helps enhance life.
SEEKING PEACE: Spirituality Is Not a Trend It Is a Coping Device
Yoga, meditation and other spiritual methods have become more popular as people had to deal with renewed threats to life. So naturally we see people have become more religious. Meditation classes like Quantum, Silva Mind and other techniques are gaining traction. And sustainability is no longer the physical act of choosing products with less destructive impact – it has become a form of spiritual satisfaction. Sustainability is part of a shift to value life and the near future by putting in a little effort. But it needs lots of help, because, whether talking of religion, yoga or saving the planet, such faiths take effort and guidance. So when brands like BAT take numerous initiatives to educate its farming community about environment- friendly and sustainable agricultural practices for enhancing soil fertility, conserving water, and decreasing pollution they are also really doing their bit to help people understand and feel that life can get better.
So ask yourself and your brand manager what are you doing that says your brand recognises a greater need.
Don’t be lazy. Go look, investigate, and research what matters to people and how your brand can help them. Happy to help.
Photographs courtesy of Marketing Futures