Now that we're over the "best of" lists that look nostalgically at 2009, it's on to thinking strategically about the consumer trends that will impact the new decade we've entered and what it will mean for the brands we're working on.
One of the most inspiring trends to me as a marketer is the Generation of Generosity. This trend reflects a wide array of thinking - from companies that share everything they know for free - to bloggers and tweeters that share stories and information to help others. A great example of the former is Hubspot, a B2B company based in Cambridge Mass. that publishes all its methodology and even holds free "university" webinar classes so that people can learn new insights and technology in order to become better internet marketers. And of the latter, some of my favorite sites include presentation zen and harvard business where I'm always learning new information on topics that interest me or following #tags on twitter to be part of a larger converstion on a specific topic.
In the spirit of generosity, trendwatching.com (another favourite site) predicts that we'll see more of something they term EMBEDDED GENEROSITY. This trend ..."incorporates all giving initiatives that make giving and donating painless, if not automatic (after all, pragmatism is the new religion ;-). On top of that, with collaboration being such an integral part of the zeitgeist, expect lots of innovative corporate giving schemes that involve customers by letting them co-donate and/or co-decide".
This idea is not new - Starbucks has adopted EMBEDDED GENEROSITY as a way of doing business for years, especially around its Cafe Practices coffee sourcing program and most recently, in conjunction with Starbucks RED.
So does this feel like an evolution of "cause marketing"? Perhaps so. The point here for marketers is that EMBEDDED GENEROSITY works when its authentic and transparent. Done well, it provides a rich landscape for storytelling providing the consumer with the opportunity for more meaningful involvement. And if you're not doing it, well you might very well be standing apart from your competition.
Here is the list of examples from trendwatching.com from 2009, one of which (Campbell's) is a favorite that I've already featured on The Orange. Some ideas to spark inspiration for brands as we begin 2010.
- Australian Baby Teresa manufactures and sells a variety of 100% cotton onesies for babies, and, for each one purchased, donates another to a baby in need somewhere in the world.
- IKEA’s SUNNAN LED desk lamp is powered by solar cells. The product retails for USD 19.99, and for every unit sold in IKEA stores worldwide, another one will be donated to UNICEF to give to children without electricity in refugee camps and villages in remote areas.
- Still going strong, Procter & Gamble and UNICEF have joined forces for the fourth year running, in an effort to raise money for tetanus vaccines. Each time a pack of the Pampers or Fairy brands bearing a "1 Pack = 1 Life-Saving Vaccine" logo is purchased, P&G will donate the cost of one vaccine to UNICEF.
- TOMS Shoes donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair they sell online. As of August 2009, TOMS has given over 150,000 pairs of shoes to children in need. TOMS shoes plans to give 1 million shoes by 2012.
- Sage Hospitality is encouraging consumers to complete 8 hours of volunteer service in exchange for 50% - 100% off published room rates in their 52 hotels. To take advantage of the 'Give a Day, Get a Night' scheme, customers must present a letter from the organization they worked for.
- Give a Day, Get a Disney Day aims to celebrate and inspire volunteerism. Disney is working with HandsOn Network to highlight a variety of volunteer opportunities with participating organizations across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Starting this month (January 2010), those who contribute their time can have it verified by HandsOn and they'll receive a voucher from Disney for one day admission to a Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme park.
- Servus, a Canadian credit union, began handing out CDN 200,000 in ten-dollar bills, giving 20,000 people the opportunity to create a Feel Good Ripple by spending the money on someone else. By pledging CDN 200,00 to the effort, the company hopes to start a ' kindness movement' that will positively affect at least 20,000 people. Servus is distributing the bills through its branches throughout Alberta, and asking participants to write up stories of their kindness online.
- Campbell's Help Grow Your Soup campaign aimed to raise money to maintain farm buildings in need of refurbishment. The campaign asked consumers to vote for one of ten barns in need of work, and for every vote until January 2010, Campbell donated 1 USD to restore the five barns which receive the most votes.
- In October 2009, Twitter’s owners announced that they will begin selling wine through their label, called Fledgling Wine. The wine will be bottled from August 2010 and USD 5 of every bottle sold will go to Room to Read, a charity that organizes literacy programs for children around the world.
- Chicago's Hotel Burnham launched the charity based initiative 'Casual Blue' in 2009. A USD 10 room credit is given to patrons who leave a pair of (old) jeans, which are then donated to local charities.
Source: www.trendwatching.com. One of the world's leading trend firms, trendwatching.com sends out its free, monthly Trend Briefings to more than 160,000 subscribers worldwide.