The Last Word

The Last Word

By John Zealley

The global power brands that have long defined the consumer goods industry are no longer untouchable. Disruptors are not playing by the rules and outperforming legacy companies by creating relevancy, greater levels of convenience and personalised experiences to appeal to the new generation of consumers.
There has never been a better time to be a consumer. The ‘I want it now generation’ has seen the once predictable ‘big box’ linear model, increasingly give way to a hybrid model, that combines a powerful online and physical presence. Successful companies will be those who reinvent themselves from the ‘outside in’ by building an ecosystem of suppliers, peers, distributors and customers, to co-create complete solutions that can be delivered to market with speed.
The new generation of consumer is looking for every brand interaction to be connected, personalised and convenient.
Consumer goods companies need to focus on making themselves relevant by building a deep understanding and connection to the empowered consumer, using data and analytics, incorporating disruptive technologies and embracing transformative business models.
In the same way that fashion brands reinvented the mass clothing market, moving from pre-planned and seasonal to fast and trend-led fashion, so modern consumer product groups need to reinvent the mass consumer market.
This requires companies focus on creating relevance and appeal for individual brands while also ensuring the overall portfolio flexes and reacts to what consumers want in the moment.
Unsurprisingly, the cosmetics industry, a close relation to ‘fast fashion’, is really getting it. They’re inventing products much faster, bringing them to market through a carefully orchestrated network of channels and then tying them onto trends, celebrities or whatever the ‘meme of the moment’ is, to help them sell. For organisations to change, it needs to come from the top. We are seeing time and time again that the leading consumer goods companies are those led with a clear vision and purpose.
To succeed, companies will need to act small, with slick chains of command and focused groups of people equipped to respond to the most attractive opportunities for growth. The cornerstone for this, is developing strong data-led market activation capabilities and infusing deep category knowledge with the analytical skills to inform decision making.
The future of consumer goods is fast and requires a fast response to keep pace. Successful companies will need to move to be a modern CPG as they embark on their own journey tech-led innovation to compete with their smaller and more nimble counterparts.
Successful companies will be those who become even more responsive and relevant – shaping propositions to the individual consumer in real time. Larger companies must also continue to use the advantages of scale to effectively compete with the multitude of small players entering the market, using data-led insight and analysis.

Stephanie Cornwall
ADMINISTRATOR
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