Consumer behaviour and technology are continuing to evolve at pace; the rate of change and the potential afforded by new technology is already creating clear winners and losers.

To help businesses better navigate this context, we’ve developed a proprietary model and approach designed to help clients profit from both current and future consumer behaviour change.

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It’s a model designed to help clients map and size future demand spaces – identifying platforms that can form the basis of future propositions or new products and services.

By mapping consumer motivations against different methods or solutions we have been able to frame the four specific ways in which businesses can act in order to benefit from change.

1. Deliver better solutions

Beg, borrow and steal with pride

This is often the most immediate path to growth but in the pursuit of something ‘new’ it is often the most overlooked. Lots of businesses are winning by taking and redeploying a solution (or method of delivery) from an adjacent category or market.

Probiotics once the exclusive domain of dairy products and closely associated with brands like Activia have now been extended to a range of different categories including skincare.

Unilever has invested in a skincare brand called Gallinée – this brand is focused on the microbiome and has a skincare range that deploys probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics, it is both redeploying and extending an established solution from one category and applying it to another.

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If you want to unlock incremental growth, look at how you can meet existing consumer needs with solutions taken from other categories.

2. Satisfy new motivations

Listen to your customer. They may surprise you

This path to growth is about understanding future motivations but delivering them through existing or ‘known’ solutions.

Take personal care. The last few years has seen a big growth in DIY beauty care. As more and more consumers experiment with making or preparing their own beauty products, so brands like Emulsion have capitalised on this trend and are offering consumers bespoke beauty kits which provide a convenient way for consumers to DIY their whole skincare regime.

BrewDog obviously didn’t invent beer, but it did spot that beer drinkers were bored of much of what the traditional category had to offer. BrewDog was able to grow by bringing a heady mix of new craft beers, new formats and irreverent humour to a previously moribund market.

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These brands were able to build successful businesses by first understanding how category motivations were changing and then using existing solutions in new ways to better meet the needs of a specific cohort.

3. Provide new solutions

Bigger, better, stronger, faster

This third path to growth requires businesses to look at new ways of delivering against existing consumer motivations.

The motivation to listen to music certainly wasn’t created by Spotify, but what Spotify did do, was use new technology to completely transform the way we listen to, store and search for music.

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Netflix has arguably done the same thing with visual content and Uber with personal transportation. Our motivations to watch great content or enjoy the convenience of taking a cab were already well established, but these businesses have used technology to enhance the convenience and enjoyment of both of these activities.

4. Satisfy new motivations with new solutions

Aka, inventing the future

Genuine disruption occurs when completely new consumer motivations meet completely new methods or solutions. Successful disruption drives category growth via penetration, frequency and trade-up.

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Consumers didn’t realise that they wanted a battery-powered car that was both environmentally friendly and faster than a Lamborghini, until Tesla invented one. Most of us weren’t seeking an integrated multi room, wireless streaming platform until Sonos provided one. 

Airbnb realised (earlier than most) that dissatisfaction with the traditional hotel model was increasing and that there was an opportunity for technology to facilitate the small but growing interest in house swaps; by addressing these new motivations, what began as a fledgling trend snowballed into a new and highly valuable global marketplace.

These are all examples of genuine disruption, businesses spotting or anticipating fledgling changes in consumer behaviour and then deploying entirely new category solutions in order to meet them.

Unlock future growth - now

As we have illustrated - depending on the approach taken - there are 4 main ways in which growth can achieved. Our future growth model is designed to help businesses, simplify, map and quantify this challenge.

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We can take the guesswork out of the growth challenge, helping you understand the relative size of different demand spaces and providing a basis on which to pursue purposeful brand development and innovation.

If you would like to know more about The Forge or how the future growth model could help you profit from change click here.

Insight isn’t found. Insight is forged.