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Warming up to future shapers

: Tuesday, March 27 - 2007 @ 07:37

And what a pleasure it would be if you know this at the product development stage!! For marketers, being able to forecast the next big trend is critical to successful product development. If you have the foresight, you can get in first.

Researchers and insight managers have long worked with marketing teams to better understand where markets are heading. This led to the development of the “early adoption” model – a tried and tested method of tapping into those consumers who will take up a new product the quickest and ideally (and hopefully), influence others to do the same.

Unfortunately, this model relies on insight from consumers who are also “early abandoners” – they buy into a new trend for a while and then drop it. This leaves the marketer with the problem of finding long term, reliable converts. Among other things, the need to identify those who will shape the long-term future of a brand or a market is indeed very strong. As the consumer gains in power, this insight is becoming more and more critical.

Now, there is a way to identify these “future shapers”. TNS has launched FutureViewTM. TNS FutureViewTM is a market research tool that identifies the “future shapers” who act as brand ambassadors by quickly adopting a new brand or product, remaining loyal (if it’s up to scratch) and helping to take the product into the mainstream. They are the “new consumers” whose outlook puts them at the forefront of consumer behaviour macro-trends. By comparing FutureViewTM with models of early adoption, TNS’ research has shown that FutureViewTM is a better measure to use when aiming to identify which brands are well placed for future growth. In other markets, TNS has found that “future shapers” identified by the model are 51 per cent more likely than early adopters to adopt a new product long-term and recommend it to others.

TNS FutureViewTM could also enable marketers to develop concepts that will engage their future shapers to take the product to the mass market. This will allow marketers to focus on segments that make the most difference to the success of their products – a clear competitive edge. This becomes especially important when one considers the fact that consumers today are savvier and more demanding than ever. The rise in interactive and personal media, fuelled by blogging and social networking sites, is giving consumers the power to push back. They want brand owners to know exactly what they think of their product – and more than ever before, they have the power to shape a product or brand’s future success. The need to engage your brand’s future shapers, and ensure they are saying the right things about your product, is critical.

This new consumer is defined by seven characteristics, identified by the TNS FutureViewTM model:
• They value authenticity and originality in all they buy and experience
• They are well informed and hugely involved in the products, services and brands they buy
• They are individualistic – doing things “my way” and increasingly demanding that companies do too
• They are time-poor and value anything that saves them time
• They are socially responsible – and exercise their ethical awareness via their product and brand choices
• They are curious, open minded and receptive to new ideas
• They are advocates of new ideas – and they spread the word

Each of these qualities is an opportunity for marketers to shape their brand communications to engage with this influential audience. FutureViewTM is not about predicting the future. But it can indicate future potential for a product or brand, tap into the consumers that will influence its success and use intelligence about the demands of these future shapers to develop the product in the first place.

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Tuesday, March 27- 2007 @ 7:37 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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