Category Archives: New products

Multicultural Millennials: Building Relationships with Young Consumers

Recent insights from Nielsen reveal that “multicultural consumers are transforming the U.S. mainstream… (p)ropelled by the twin engines of population growth and expanded buying power.” I explored the Nielsen data in a previous post, reaching the conclusion that in order for brands to serve this rapidly growing segment of multicultural superconsumers, diversity must be more than just a buzzword. When diversity of experiences, voices, and viewpoints drives a brand’s identity, communications strategy, and product development, it can authentically and successfully resonate with a multicultural market.

In addition to embracing a diverse set of influences, how can brands reach the young consumers who are poised to become major market forces over the next decade? In a time when consumer trust in major public institutions (including business) has been compromised, brand builders must strive for authenticity, communication, and a purpose-driven approach.
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The MultiCultural Edge: Who Are Tomorrow’s Super Consumers?

Recent Nielsen data confirms a seismic shift that is occurring in the demographics of American consumers. First released in 2015, Nielsen’s report on The Multicultural Edge revealed that multicultural consumers are “the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.” While Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and other multicultural groups currently make up around 40% of the population, they are on track to be a numeric majority by 2044.

This young and growing segment of the consumer population is already driving changing trends in groceries and beverages and is poised to greatly impact markets such as technology, entertainment, and fashion and beauty as well. This segment of consumers offers an exciting opportunity and a challenge for today’s brand-makers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. How will we respond?
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What Kickstarter Helped Startups Achieve in 2016

Innovators and startups take many different paths on their journey from idea to execution. As a founder of SparkLabKC, an accelerator program in Kansas City, MO, I was privileged to witness many of the ways in which scrappy startup founders pursued funding. These entrepreneurs, driven by their unique vision for the future, work tirelessly to share that vision with the rest of us.

Of course, they can’t do it without funding. While the current investment climate makes it possible for many young companies to achieve the dream of landing venture capital or other major investments, not all startups are in a position to avail themselves of traditional methods. Where can they turn?
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How Successful Brands Evolve Over Time

A brand is a promise you make to your customers. It’s a hallmark of the consistency, quality, and efficacy of a company’s products or services. A brand is also an aspirational statement – we’ve encouraged brand-makers to ask themselves “Who do our customers want to be?”. A brand at its best both answers and fulfills this question.

But what happens as a brand ages and evolves? As a brand weathers multiple decades of innovation and market variation, change isn’t just an inevitability, it’s a mandate: evolve or risk being left behind. Here’s a look at three brands that have transitioned successfully over multiple decades of existence, with an eye towards what today’s brand-makers can learn from their example.
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Artificial Intelligence for the Rest of Us: Machine Learning

A few weeks ago I received an email that really excited me. I’ve worked on a lot of cutting edge technologies as a marketing and development strategist and advisor to many startup companies, but this particular message felt like a bold glimpse into the future. It was a compelling look at how small businesses can leverage new technology to compete and succeed at a higher level.

The message came from a company called Clarifai, which is developing machine learning APIs with the belief that “the same AI technology that gives big tech companies a competitive edge should be available to developers or businesses of any size or budget.” Their image and video recognition API leads the industry, with the ability to quickly and efficiently process and identify mass quantities of images. With the addition of Custom Training, which allows companies to “teach” AI to understand concepts relevant to their business, Clarifai is ushering in a future in which Artificial Intelligence can be deployed to assist businesses of all sizes.
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How to Create & Sustain Brand Loyalty

There are many schools of thought about what creates and sustains brand loyalty (that is, a consumer’s preference for one particular brand over another in the same market space). These range from practical matters of convenience to complex and interwoven psychological factors. In the age of social media, we often hear that “engagement” in an ongoing dialogue with a brand is what creates loyalty. Other marketers swear by the psychology of color in creating consumer preferences.

The reality is much more nuanced than either of these approaches indicate, of course. The deeper drivers of connection with a brand are more subtle than memorable packaging, a brilliant logo, or a witty Twitter mascot. New and growing brands that leverage these underlying factors to connect with customers can elevate their position in consumer consciousness and reap the rewards of brand loyalty and evangelism.
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Inside the Innovative Mind: Glimpsing the Future

One of the questions that I find consistently fascinating and informative is “How do entrepreneurs find world-changing insights?” For those with active, searching minds, inspiration can be found in many places, but the insights that have shaped product development and consumer behavior over the last several decades often came from where we might least expect them. By studying innovative minds and their sometimes surprising influences, we can learn a lot about how to create vital, transformative products ourselves. Continue Reading