I believe that consumers have always been the most powerful source of change and innovation at any given time. Take the 1980s, for example. The desire for mobility has driven consumers to seek an autonomous and personalized experience. Consequently, the decade saw the first boom of the portable electronics revolution with the ubiquitous Walkman. In a sense, young consumers at the time were acting as “influencers,” even before the term was formally coined. Donning the new fashionable gadget, they championed the Walkman across different cultural and social backgrounds.
We have a new generation of influencers and decision makers known as Gen Z who are essential to the socio-economic fabric of society. Being digital natives from an early age, they are highly individualistic, expressive, and prefer meaningful engagement with a brand. According to Bank of America research, 9 out of 10 Gen Z live in emerging markets like India, and they’re expected to contribute more than a quarter of global income by 2031. The proven approach just doesn’t work. for them. To deliver lifelong value, we must dare to be different.
Build your tribe and co-create
As I said earlier, consumers are the most powerful source of innovation. Co-creation is not just a one-time process of tracking feedback for product improvement. It’s a long-term commitment. Through ongoing pulse checks, online community engagement, fan meetups and youth events, consumers are constantly encouraged to share their insights and recommendations on creating products and experiences. for the future. In consumer electronics, this can range from creating a distinct visual aesthetic, from 5G applications to AR/VR, to flagship features such as flash charging technologies. The possibilities are truly immense. In addition to guiding product development, consumer insights can also influence after-sales service and the in-store experience. I believe the innovation journey really takes off when you co-create with your customers.
Anticipate the next normal
To seduce the GenZ, you have to get out of the existing boxes. Having consumed vast amounts of information through multiple digital channels and engaged with like-minded enthusiasts around the world, Gen Z has developed sharper tastes and aspirations. They want access to cutting-edge technologies that offer them unparalleled convenience and power. 2021 was the year when 5G nanoscale processors and high pixel cameras democratized in the mid-range segment due to massive demand from young people. Whereas before, they were only a privilege of the premium category. In 2022, the demand for proprietary technologies at more universal prices will increase. As 5G networks proliferate into the next normal, users will also demand more connected and unified experiences with AI and IoT-enabled apps and smartphones serving as command centers. The evolution of user preferences forces brands to constantly question themselves and innovate.
Foster an omnichannel experience
The digitally prolific Gen Z is active across multiple channels and devices to stay connected with a brand. Instead of just limiting their experience to one app or website, these consumers prefer to stay connected through different touchpoints such as push notifications, emails, social media channels, physical stores, etc. Many B2C industries, especially smartphones, are experimenting with the idea of hyperlocal delivery for online-to-offline solutions. Customers can use WhatsApp to connect with retailers, view catalogs, place orders and receive same-day product delivery, after which they can pay digitally. As an added layer of personalization, shoppers can respond to questions about product features, warranty, and after-sales services from the retailer in real time. A truly diverse omnichannel experience merges the virtual and physical worlds for a more seamless and connected journey.
In a post-Covid-19 landscape, young people are looking for empathy, transparency and honesty. They want brands to champion good causes, care about users and the environment, rather than just looking for results. Green and sustainable initiatives, community development efforts and job creation are just a few of the parameters that are high on their agenda. Many brands are going back to the drawing board to revisit their core values and establish a strong, human connection. It is imperative that we not only preach, but also follow the chops and walk the last mile, wholeheartedly embracing social responsibility.
The author is VP-realme and CEO-realme India and Europe.
The thoughts and opinions shared here are those of the author.
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