In an ever-changing world being ahead takes a whole different meaning. In business planning it’s no longer enough to know what your competitors are doing or how well your basic business operations are managed. Gone are the days where you have a product or service and then coin a name, slap on a label and simply push it into the usual distribution channels and use pricing mechanism to get profits.
There has been a huge paradigm shift where consumers are concerned and businesses (be they start-ups, entrepreneurial ventures, medium or large-sized commercial enterprises) sorely need to realize this and undertake (consumer-centric and cross-industry based) strategic planning if they want to be profitable and sustainable. It’s critical to have a good fix on who your core consumers (socially & culturally) are and what they are doing.
What does this mean for a business?
It means going back to basics and obtaining clear knowledge and understanding of:
- Who are you marketing your brand to?
- Do they have a need for it?
- Or do you need to create the need?
- Or do you need to develop/tweak/ change the brand’s offer to fit into the ‘lifestyle’ of your core targeted consumer?
In essence, first, investment in, quality, strategic business planning becomes as necessary and as important as petrol is to your car. Secondly, empower (and ensure) your strategic planning team undertakes customized research (with a focus on the consumers) in order to be able to develop a clear value proposition and a growth oriented, consumer centric business strategy.
Why the microscope on consumers?
Well, simply put consumers have evolved (and quite fast that too) thanks to urbanisation and social media. Whilst social media will continue to dominate how consumers look at brands what’s more telling is the effect of urbanisation.
The rapid pace of urbanisation has given rise to a new breed of consumer (Urbanomics–“Today, half the world’s population – 3 billion people – lives in urban areas. Close to 180,000 people move into cities daily, adding roughly 60 million new urban dwellers each year.”) A consumer type that’s unique in-itself and is not based on race, religion or ethnicity. These are today’s CITYSUMERS!
Note: This ‘citysumer’ tag affects both the B2C and the B2B categories. A citysumer is an individual living in an urban setting which inherently makes him have specific habits. These habits, in turn, have an implication on choices made professionally and personally. Thus, knowing this ‘citysumer’ well, assumes importance. It assumes importance as this consumer group is a savvy urbanite and serving them calls for a need to have customised products and communication. Quoting Citysumers — –“Serving these CITYSUMERS obviously requires brands to tailor products and campaigns to savvy urban audiences, for anything from practical reasons (offering appropriate shapes, sizes and features of urban goods and services) to showing the brand ‘gets’ it (addressing busy and diverse lifestyles) to contributing to the quest for social and environmental sustainability.”
So know your core customers habits well and then strategise how to make them your brand ambassadors in order to be profitable.