Engaging Tomorrow’s Consumer

brian blogAs Rob Flaherty’s recent blog posts encapsulate, the World Economic Forum’s Davos Conference is a highly visible collaboration of world leaders tackling mammoth global issues. Davos dominates headlines during the week as every aspect is streamed, shared and spread around the world.

As you may guess, however, the annual meeting is only one of many ways WEF seeks to improve the world. Throughout the year, WEF and partners release global issue reports on a range of topics, from “Rebuilding Europe’s Competitiveness” to “Future Role of Civil Society.”

Last year, Ketchum was proud to facilitate contributions to a recent WEF report entitled Engaging Tomorrow’s Consumer. The report seeks to guide businesses on engaging Millennial consumers in sustainable practices. In other words, if companies can entice consumers to desire sustainable products, selling sustainable products will become viable business.

Here our story takes an exciting creative twist. For the report, Ketchum could have asked for insights from our world-class thought leaders in brand marketing, sustainability, government relations or social marketing. We didn’t. We asked the target audience. We asked university students.

Hundreds of students, hailing from more than 50 universities across 13 countries, to be exact. Ketchum’s Mindfire program, our award-winning crowd sourcing community, regularly tackles the creative challenges of Ketchum’s clients including FedEx, IKEA, Frito-Lay, White Wave Foods and Hertz.

In 2012, we asked Mindfire to tackle the much larger WEF challenge of driving sustainable practices worldwide. Using a multi-stage approach, Mindfire narrowed a globe-sized subject into focused, quotable responses. Combined with secondary research and expertly written by WEF and Accenture, Engaging Tomorrow’s Consumer is a roadmap for companies to reach Millennials, informed by Millennials.

To engage the Mindfire network for your creative challenges, contact mindfire@ketchum.com. To engage tomorrow’s consumer in sustainable practices, follow these key takeaways from the WEF report:

  • Sustainability needs a makeover: Consumers need to be excited and motivated by sustainability in order to engage.
  • Business needs to use language that is more familiar and offer consumers incentives and sustainable choices that are more relevant to their lives and aspirations.
  • Millennials, people born between 1981 and 1995, present the greatest opportunity for engagement. They are receptive to and engaged in global issues, and enjoy growing influence and incomes.
  • Companies can use six key strategies to seize the opportunity and enable more sustainable lifestyles. They can strengthen the consumer case for sustainability, engage their marketers, better integrate sustainability into research and development, create platforms for consumer collaboration, activate employees as advocates, and quantify outcomes.

Brian is a Senior Strategic Planner within Ketchum’s London office.