As we look towards the next decade, the consumer products industry will continue to feel the impact of an evolving global economy, a shifting geopolitical landscape, and changing consumer demographics and expectations. These macrotrends, highlighted within our 2020 Consumer Products Trends Report, will continue to create an environment of pervasive change within our industry.
While these macrotrends are challenging many of the traditional norms associated with our business, one thing remains fundamental – the strategic imperative associated with having the consumer at the center of everything you do.
While the idea of consumer-centricity is nothing new, it is more important than ever. Consumers expect that brands are taking their unique value proposition into account, from how their products are sourced, manufactured, marketed, and distributed. While the basic tenets of putting the consumer at the forefront of everything you do might seem obvious, many organizations struggle with what this actually means.
I would challenge organizations to think of consumer-centricity as a cross-functional discipline that embeds all facets of your organization. Some examples could include:
Research & Development – The lifeblood of a consumer products organization is their ability to deliver on an innovation promise that meets consumers expectations. To do this successfully, a deep understanding of the consumers wants and desires is a bare minimum, with the ability to listen to, engage with, and quickly course-correct based upon their changing needs – this is what differentiates new product success vs. failure.
Supply Chain – Speed. That is what consumers expect. Whether it’s the ability to quickly shift suppliers based upon change in consumer demand, or to adjust manufacturing processes to hit tighter demand windows or to develop the capability to efficiently ship directly to consumers, supply chains need to evolve based upon consumer demand and expectations.
Human Resources – Today’s consumers are also today’s employees. Organizations need to manage expectations of a workforce that has high ambition for promotion, recognition, and increased responsibilities. Having an employee-centric mindset ensures that you’ll maximize individual growth and accomplishment as a means to realize organizational goals.
Sales – More and more consumer products companies are looking at direct to consumer as a means to drive growth. However, a consumer-centric mindset will challenge you to think beyond growth. A truly successful direct-to-consumer strategy will drive increased engagement with consumers, allow for a direct line of communication to understand the effectiveness of new products, and create a foundation for brand loyalty with your core consumers.
Marketing – While having consumers at the center of your marketing strategy has always been a component of success for companies, it’s even more critical today. Today’s consumer is challenging companies to be more nimble with their marketing strategy, have the capability to collect, synthesize, and analyze huge volumes of data, and connect with their consumers in a direct and personalized manner.
Meeting the 2020 consumer products trends effectively requires new modes of thinking and working from modern consumer products organizations but above everything – strategies, technologies, skills, or capabilities – reigns the ability to ensure the consumer is present in every decision and process throughout the organization. Download Clarkston’s 2020 Consumer Products Trends Report to understand how the consumer (and the world around them) is changing and how those changes are transforming growth, innovation, and (most of all) consumer engagement.