Rebellion in SA marks new era for brands

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By Belinda Willis

South Australia is gearing up for a new phase of rebellion in its consumer markets with researchers telling companies to work on their greener credentials to attract the more discerning customers.

Leading market research company Colmar Brunton claims its well-respected Millennium Monitor is showing national sentiment is shifting from its current conformity era to this new phase, rebellion.

“Our research is showing we’re now seeing a shift toward rebellion, we haven’t seen this since the ‘60s and ‘70s,” Colmar Brunton’s general manager in SA, Sarah Zanker, says.

“People are still feeling pessimistic but they are starting to think about what they can do to make this world a better place.

“We will see movements where people will stand up to inequities in the world, there will be more people talking about the gap between the rich and the poor, and of course the state of the environment.”

Sarah says the national company’s unique social trends monitor was reliably developed 20 years ago and provides big picture research to those wanting to be ahead of the curve for their brands and organisations. The research is focused on the social mood of Australians and the company uses it to map the cycles influencing people’s behaviour.

Sarah says the impact of the Global Financial Crisis affected consumer mood and this triggered the current conformity era.

The conformity era saw branding changed to meet a new demand for more natural products and ‘no nasties’ messaging emerged around nurturing and protecting consumers. The era triggered successful farmers’ markets and paddock to plate movements.

It was preceded by the power era of the ‘80s and ‘90s where it was all about bigger and better, then the enjoyment era of the early 2000s where people wanted to have a great time and live life to the fullest.

Colmar Brunton’ Millennium Monitor.

“Millennials are leading the rebellion, and within about five years the number of people seeking sustainability will grow,” Sarah says.

“We’ll see trends towards less waste, greater movements for business sustainability, consumers are going to demand more transparency.

“In terms of employment, people will be looking to work for organisations that do things sustainably and are aware of their impact on the environment.”

She also believes the era will lead to a move toward greater customisation of services where consumers want more personalisation, to have services and products unique to their needs.

There is already one shampoo company servicing the new demand by giving consumers the option online to buy a product where they can choose their own scent level, bottle colour and what they want the shampoo to do for their hair.

Workers also will be craving greater flexibility, Sarah says, with a new wave of “slashies” in the workforce, ones able to be for example a writer, photographer and something else all at the same time.

“One of my friends is already a slashie, she works in a pharmacy a few days a week and is a marriage celebrant on the weekends,” Sarah says.

Her own organisation already recognises the need for diverse skills. It calls on the expertise of marketers, psychologists, statisticians, neuro-scientists and designers to research and analyse market trends, with Sarah’s own background in management majoring in marketing.

Colmar Brunton’s general manager in SA, Sarah Zanker.

The business works across industries from food and beverage companies to government agencies, with contracts ranging from helping a chocolate company launch in Asia to helping with road safety campaigning.

Nationally, the business works with companies including Asahi, Twinings, Mitsubishi, along with local, state and federal governments.

Sarah says the company’s research is showing the change to a rebellion era is being led by the grass roots, citing the recent local government elections in SA as an example.

“The last election saw the highest number of candidates nominating to become elected members, and there is far more diversity in terms of people,” she says.

“When you look at the councils in SA now there is younger representation and female representation, more so now than there ever has been before.

Sarah says this new rebellion era will be about giving control back to consumers and allowing them to interact with an organisation.

“It is about understanding that the values of society change over time which has a direct influence on people’s behaviour. Knowing what the values of tomorrow are is going to help brands and organisations make smart decisions today,” she adds.

Industry in focus: Careers of the Future

Throughout the months of May and June, future careers in South Australia will be explored as part of I Choose SA.

Embracing innovation, creativity and an understanding of building quality partnerships with technology is key to ensuring career opportunities in the future. SA is taking necessary steps to equip future generations with the skills for future careers and current workforces to transition to the future industries.

Read more Careers of the Future stories here.

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