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Consumer motivations in 2023: a paradigm shift for experiential brands

Consumer motivations in 2023: a paradigm shift for experiential brands

Marketers are on the edge of their proverbial seats. They see the travel sector holding onto its post-pandemic resurgence. Record holiday spending despite inflation. But most companies across diverse industries and varying degrees of experiential are deciding what they will need to do to weather an impending economic storm of yet-to-be-revealed proportions. They have reluctantly passed along higher prices to consumers. Many will implement cost-cutting measures.

But the real winners of this impending downturn recognize that understanding consumer motivations to deliver more powerful customer experiences is paramount to success. The most successful companies will re-energize their purpose in 2023 to build a better mousetrap. They’ll do so by giving the recent paradigm shift of consumer motivations the proper credit they are due.

New insights from the Magid Motivations Study shed light on just how much and in what ways consumer motivations changed during the pandemic. Bottomline: most people changed what they value, and because of that they are changing what they do. Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to say what they value in life has changed because of thinking they’ve done and experiences they’ve had during the pandemic.

The impact of that change is felt in a lot of ways. Gen Z + Millennials – and women in both generations especially – came out of the pandemic with new favorite brands, products and experiences in a wide variety of categories. Consumers report having come out of the pandemic with a new favorite brand, product or experience in a wide variety of categories

Legacy brands holding ground against disruptors
And big brands are not taking this news lying down. In a recent interview with Wall Street Journal, Aaron Levie, chief executive and co-founder of leading cloud-tool provider Box, points out that Silicon Valley has failed to completely usurp established incumbents.

Levie offers banking as an example of a space that’s been vastly changed by disruptors but in ways that are additive rather than truly disruptive. We have gone from branches to apps, but Chase has one of the top-rated digital experiences in the industry. Disney vs. Netflix is another heralded example. Even staid industries like insurance and auto manufacturing, he points out, have been able to leverage their might toward warding off obsolescence so long as they think about the consumer first.

Legacy brands are in a powerful position for the future. Fast food powerhouse Yum! Brands Inc.’s Taco Bell is looking toward edge computing to solidify its place at the head of the experiential brands pack. By harnessing the power of centralized cloud services and connected devices at local restaurants, Vadim Parizher, vice president of technology at Taco Bell, says custom algorithms will be used to guide employee behaviors. The goal is all around delivering better customer experiences across locations based on their unique loyal customer base.

Nearly 1 in 4 consumers still looking for new experiences
You don’t have to be big or be a disruptor to win. Newcomers, second-tier brands, and legacy brands looking to gain market share, attack an adjacent or emerging market, or simply solidify their position in an existing market should appeal to consumers’ desire for new experiences.

In an impactful finding from our Magid Motivations Study, we found that nearly 1 in 4 consumers are still looking for new experiences – that percentage rises to nearly 1 in 2 for Gen Z and Millennial women. For these consumers, “looking for new experiences” is one characteristic of their current personal outlook.Everything has changed; the new normal is being set
In a way, the playing field is now more level than it has ever been. Whether you are in a workshop, Zoom call or backroom of a focus group, strategists, marketers and insights leaders are all re-learning the new consumer. They are seeing that today’s consumers are more dynamic than ever, have more choices in an ever-changing landscape, and are standing up for what they want – and getting it.

Pandemic aside, rapid changes in media consumption, dissemination of information, and direct-to-consumer products fueled by new media and manufacturing practices have given rise to the most powerful consumer the world has ever known. And while marketers are wondering what the recession will bring, the consumer is accepting the inevitable and taking control of their lives – seeing themselves as survivors of a global disruption, not victims. What did not kill them made them stronger!

What we see leading companies planning to focus on in 2023:

  1. CX » journey mapping across in-store, online, and hybrid experiences as well as brand tracking
  2. Consumer landscapes » segmentation, voice of the customer, and opportunity mapping
  3. Product and resource optimization » ad testing, data driven insights, innovation, and white space

Across our practice, it’s touching every one of our industries – retail, hospitality, CPG and consumer goods, and even upstarts! We are getting challenging asks, but turning to the consumer for answers. If you’re interested in more insights from across the landscape, including the Magid Motivations Study, custom insights and analysis, or assistance with deploying strategic insights for greater benefit in your organization, let’s talk. There is no time like now to start defining your future.

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