Localization and What Consumers Really Want
Some wisdom from our lead partner and field marshal Brent Warwick on the supremacy of curated content, and the recent swing of the proverbial pendulum back to authenticity, transparency, and and truth.
What Consumers Want: Authenticity, Organic, Flawed...REAL
In the 80s and 90s we saw the rise of globalization. As consumers sought to be unique, they bought goods from diverse geographic locations and they stood out from their local peers. Baby boomers were the primary drivers of big brand loyalty and globalization.
However, anytime a cultural trend swings too far to one end of the pendulum, there’s usually a reaction to counterbalance it. In the last decade we’ve seen the first ground swell of localization as younger Gen X-ers and especially Millennials have reacted to the homogenization of globalization. It’s no longer unique to buy big brand or globalized (in the now standard sense) products. Consumers want: locally grown, artisan produced, small batch, and authentically sourced. They want organic rather than synthetic. They want authentic rather than perfect and glossy; flaws are embraced since they are genuine. They want “real” in a real sense, not a marketed sense.
[Dan: One writer opines on this resurgence in the demand for physical goods that could otherwise be digitized, even going as far to say that many of these "real" goods (in her example vinyl) "represent who you are in a tangible form: it's a physical representation of the [things] you love," or the values we identify with.]
Curated Content: The New Leading Edge
In terms of information, folks are overwhelmed by the white noise online. The internet grows by an approximate 150,000 new URLs per day. While most of those are not quality sites per se, there’s still an ever increasing amount of data that no one has the time or interest to sift through.
In the same way that localization is now permeating lifestyle, it is permeating user trends online. Curated content is the new leading edge. Users want to trust a source and have that source make recommendations to them because they don’t have time to evaluate everything for themselves. That’s the new brand loyalty. “If you give me authentically-sourced, locally-grown, artisan produced information, I will listen to you when you suggest I explore or follow or recommend, other sources of content.”
So the question is: are you the trustworthy vanguard people are looking to to lead them to green pastures of organic, curated, and trustworthy ideas, info, and thought leadership that matters?