Nicolas Riou on New Marketing Trends for 2008

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Today is Day #2 of our review of French marketing trend notes for 2008.

(This whole translation business is actually not bad at all. I think I'm getting the hang of it.)

Read the original interview here.

Nicolas Riou (Brain Value):

As consumers grow less and less passive, brands must modify their approach in order to continue seducing them. (...)

Reading consumers is becoming very complex and presents a number of contradictions. We can no longer rely on traditional benchmarks. We forget the term "consumer" to replace it with "individual". (...)

Consumers, like brands, now express themselves on the internet. In fact, consumers now tend to trust other consumers' opinions posted on forums than actual brand communications. Power is changing hands. Brands are losing control over their own image but also take advantage of the content creation and associated buzz generated by consumers. Interestingly, some brands are attempting to regain control of this content creation by organizing contests. In 2007, Liebig organized a content creation contest that focused on recipes, and l'Oréal organized an advertising campaign design contest which promised its winners exposure for their work.

Consensus living is starting to gain momentum. Consumers are much more attentive to the way they make purchases and live their lives. Purchases of organic products reflect an trend towards all things natural, pro-health, and the reinforcement of ecologically driven imperatives. People are now much more attentive to traceability, recyclability, and the carbon footprint of products (as it relates to energy consumed during their production, distribution, etc.). This trend towards making products traceable from a to z is currently revolutionizing the food industry. Consumers can now look at a food product's packaging and immediately see the difference between a kiwi fruit which traveled 20,000 kilometers and a kiwi grown in a neighboring country. This product labeling model is gaining incredible momentum in Japan, notably with mobile devices, and should start showing up in France in two or three years.

Buzz marketing aside, the 360° phenomenon is growing quickly. Consumer touchpoints are multiplying and making use of increasingly non-traditional methods of advertising. Still, these new strategies are not necessarily replacing more traditional marketing methods to inspire emotional attachment to brands. Both as consumers and fans of entertainment we still crave the familiarity of TV advertising and big media.

Interesting how in some ways, the French are a bit behind the US in terms of user content, realizing that the balance of power has shifted, and the use of the internet (hey, the French government held on to the minitel for so long that French adoption of PC's and access to the internet was delayed for almost a decade)... yet their sophistication when it comes to a) product labeling and the role it plays in helping consumers make purchasing decisions, and b) ecological responsibility, is decades ahead of the US.

The carbon footprint of a ribeye steak? Really? In the US? I'd buy that for a dollar!

Have a great weekend, everyone. :)

Photo by NASA.

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