Sociological issues are also of considerable importance for Australian, as 71% of urban Australians aged between 18-34 consider gender equality to be close to their hearts, Mintel research showed.
Commenting on how brands can successfully appeal to iGeneration consumers, Shelley McMillan, Trend & Innovation Consultant, ANZ, at Mintel said: “When it comes to winning the trust of Australia’s younger population, companies that pursue progressive policies or campaigns will be the winners of this race—particularly if it is fighting for equality.”
On the other hand, older generations are more likely to feel strongly about local products or services. This is displayed by the preferences of urban Australians aged 45-54 (39%) and those 55 and above (56%).
“Older generations are more likely to purchase locally made or grown products or services than their younger counterparts—consumers who are generally more attuned to the digital world, more aware and open-minded, and perhaps have higher levels of distrust for official bodies,” stated McMillan.
“With the emergence of a younger, more idealistic generation of consumers, brands would do well if they are more brave and progressive with their approach when driving up brand initiatives,” encouraged Jane Barnett, Head of Insights, South Asia Pacific, at Mintel.
Brands need to take extra caution with their advertising. Up to one in three (33%) Australian females disagree that their gender is correctly represented in advertising. Over six in 10 (65%) of Australian females are also worried about the existing wage difference between males and females, for example.
Highlighting the importance of a brand’s mission statement and its values, Barnett commented: “In Australia, consumers are known to be big advocates of gender issues and while there are companies that are championing gender equality and diversity in society, more could still be done, as reflected in our research."
Companies associating themselves with these “do-good initiatives” should focus on developing and sustaining “credibility and consumer understanding”.
In total, one-third of (32%) urban Australians also stated that their favourite brands play a significant role in affecting their purchasing decisions.
Mintel’s trend on ‘Accentuate the Negative’ indicated how brands are working on transforming negatives into positives by indicating their mistakes and shortcomings, in a bid to build trust and transparency.
“Brands are under the close scrutiny of today’s consumers, and they need to be aware of just how exposed they are to the public,” Barnett emphasised.
Providing an insight into how brands should act in times of crisis, Barnett went on to say that “a hold its hands up” approach should be adopted.
“Companies are also now seeking to stay ahead of consumer criticism by quickly and visibly reacting to it...this way, the negative buzz around a brand can be addressed, and in doing so, the situation can be turned into and communicated as something positive,” Barnett encouraged.
‘Mimicking’ friendship is at the centre of a brand’s strategy as “it is important for brands, to be honest, be human and be positive, all to build that level of ‘friendship’ and trust with consumers,” Barnett concluded.