Like practically everything else, brand principles are in the midst of disruption as we move into 2018 and beyond.
The concept of the target market - of knowing exactly who you are targeting and thereby predicting the corresponding consumer behavior,is being tossed out in 2018.
What’s now true is that consumption patterns are no longer defined by ‘traditional’ demographic segments such as age, gender, location, income, family status and more.
Consumers today are constructing new lifestyle identities that might combine a variety of likes and dislikes and are selecting brand experiences that match their new self-selected identity. As an example, no one expected that women now account for the majority of video game players, and there are more gamers aged over 44 than under 18. Or that seniors would like hip-hop, pumping iron, skateboarding, and bright fashion.
And yet they do and countless other stereotypes are being shattered every day.
As consumers experiment and develop new personalized lifestyle identities, brands and products should take note. Now is the time to embrace new and seemingly unfamiliar demographics, built on emerging cultural and social norms. The benefits for brands who innovate in this new environment will be substantial.
In the luxury auto space, Lamborghini is modeling this new approach and the market is watching with great interest. Lamborghini, and its raging bull brand, is launching its long-awaited 2018 Urus SUV. The new and unexpected target market? Women and families.
Stefano Domenicali, Lamborghini’s CEO said: 'A bull is always aggressive, but I would like to give us a new philosophy for the future: a bull can be gentle.' The goal will be to make Urus immediately identifiable as a Lamborghini, both in how it looks and in how it drives, and to make it immensely “personalizeable” for a young (30-45) target audience whose members view themselves as the “protagonists” of their own lives, Domenicali said. Currently women make up just 5% of Lamborghini drivers.
Which brands will seek and embrace these new demographics and target markets? Will this result in growth and market expansion?
2018 could be a year in which brands burst forth with new energy to keep pace with self-actualized consumers. Or it may be that consumers proceed in spite of clumsy brands missing the mark.
Either way, it’s going to be quite a show to watch.
Beverly is the author of the best selling book The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. She also teaches the Global Business of Sports & Entertainment at UCLA Anderson School of Management and is a thought leader in IoT, Big Data and Digital Media trends.