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Collaborative consumption: Motivation of potential users

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 01-29-16 at 9:59 a.m.

In recent years, the enormous public visibility of Uber’s and Airbnb’s activities have contributed greatly to raising consumer awareness about the potential of collaborative consumption, both for those who can share the use of some of their personal property, as well as for those who might prefer more flexible access to these goods and services.

People’s awareness of this new potential, combined with the evolution of digital technologies that increasingly facilitate developing these new "markets", might certainly lead us to anticipate significant growth in such initiatives in the coming years.

Even if one can really question the "collaborative" nature of Uber and Airbnb (when services are provided in exchange for monetary remuneration, we are talking about a purely commercial activity, a market), the fact remains that there is a certain generalization of new forms of people's involvement, as private individuals, in new markets that optimize, on one hand, the value of owners’ "underutilized" assets, and on the other hand, access for users.

This phenomenon is particularly interesting to us from the user’s point of view, in that it represents new ways to access consumer goods and services. Although, from the point of view of the markets, these new initiatives may have some destabilizing effects (for the taxi industry, hotels), they allow these users (“consumers”) access to goods and services at a lower cost (while maximizing cash flow in the market).

Moreover, for the user, such initiatives represent opportunities for new experiences that look hugely rewarding. Indeed, interest in collaborative consumption, namely the desire to share the use of an expensive item or service, rather than paying full price for its exclusive use, is generated by multiple motivations and needs, thus opening the door to many potential initiatives that can meet these needs.

Much easier access to consumption is definitely at the center of these motivations, as potential users, namely those who express interest in collaborative consumption, are most certainly enthusiastic consumers who are eager for innovation, fun experiences and who want to take advantage of all that the market may have to offer.

But they are hoping for much more. They express a strong need to build highly personalized lifestyles; we’re talking made-to-measure offers that are perfectly adapted to their most specific needs, as if the offers on the current market do not perfectly meet their needs so they want to explore options outside of "traditional" distribution channels. They aspire to unique experiences that are quite unique and very rewarding.

They are major hedonists. They want fun, intensity, stimulation and escape. They are hoping for access to all possible pleasurable experiences, and to be able to afford them (hence the idea of "collaboration" in terms of payment).

Pride is also a very important motivation for them. They aspire to status experiences, particularly in consumer experiences. They want to flaunt all the latest things on the market, the most popular brands and products and feel proud (hence once again a desire to have easier access to consumption).

Emotional connection with people is very important here too. "Collaboration" is an opportunity to discover people and what makes them different, and potential users consider such experiences with others very enriching.

Finally, they show an interesting mix of social responsibility and predisposition to civil disobedience!

Their consumption patterns definitely meet ethical and ecological criteria. They want to do business with companies and brands that are good corporate citizens. They value helping one another and are very sensitive to community issues in their neighbourhoods and regions.

On the other hand, they are also very critical of corporations, considering them responsible for most of the ills in our society. They denounce the lack of corporate sensitivity, inefficient bureaucracies, inflexible corporate and union constraints, and faced with what they see as glaring equity gaps, they are willing to disobey to achieve their purposes (regulatory issues pertaining to taxis and hotels do not move them unduly).

Thus, interest in collaborative consumption is motivated by...

- A desire for more flexible access to consumption
- A need to personalize their consumption (more choices)
- A desire for unique, fun, pleasurable experiences
- And for experiences that are status-oriented
- A desire to connect with people (to discover others through "collaboration")
- A desire to make ethical and ecological choices in consumption
- And a readiness to violate established rules, when deemed too restrictive

Note that this interest, in its most evident form, is apparent among 7% of the Canadian population, but in total, 45% of people might be tempted by collaborative options, depending on their relevance. Interest is fairly widespread when it comes to socio-demographics, while being more marked both among young people (18-34) and among younger Baby Boomers (55-64). Let us note that interest is also stronger among professionals and among Quebecers.

The opportunity for new brands

Given the strong level of interest in the population (quantitatively) and the diversity of motivations that inspire this interest, it is quite conceivable that we are only at the beginning of a generalization of all kinds collaborative initiatives in all possible areas of consumption. New brands will inevitably arise and the opportunity for the latter definitely lies in properly meeting potential users’ motivations. Initiatives that provide access at lower cost to unique, different, fun offers, and that offer pleasurable, ethical, and ecological experiences, that allow people to connect by collaborating will be occasions to build strong brands that resonate powerfully in people's lives.

The trend is just beginning. The need is latent. The demand is multi-dimensional. "Collaborative" consumption is definitely on the cusp of significant growth, from your family recipes to the use of your lawn mower! In fact, for example, a new hotel room sharing service, the Winston Club, will be launched in March for those who are interested (don’t worry, there will be at least two beds per room!).


Lemmy Kilmister: Unbridled, nihilistic hedonism!

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 01-29-16 at 9:58 a.m.

« … I don't wanna live for ever, and don't forget the joker! »
Motörhead: Ace Of Spades

On December 28th, 2015, the heavy metal rock scene lost one of its greatest personalities: Lemmy Kilmister, bassist, singer and main songwriter of the band Motörhead, who died at the age of 70. An emblematic figure of heavy metal, he perfectly embodied the values and motivations of fans of this type of music: unbridled hedonism, a need for thrills, a feeling of being marginalized by society, rebellion, yet at the same time, great authenticity.

The choices we make in life as citizens (for example, whom we vote for) or as consumers (the products and brands we consume) are not incidental. They are a reflection of our personalities, what we believe; in short, our personal values. And it seems this is the same when it comes to our musical choices. Tell me what you listen to and I'll tell you who you are!

Our work on people’s values reveal that classical music fans share values that are specific to them; this is also true for jazz fans, rock, or hip-hop music fans, etc.

Likewise, heavy metal fans share common values. An analysis of their values profile shows that they have many things in common. First of all, these fans are hedonists who seek extreme intensity, for whom pleasure trumps all. They are not afraid to take risks in life for the thrills they get out of it. They even find a certain thrill in violence (in fact, they are big hockey and football fans, particularly for this reason).

They also feel that they are living in the margins of society, expressing certain feelings of social exclusion and financial insecurity. These “mental postures” partially explain the “rebellious” aspect that we observe about them, a certain level of “openness towards civil disobedience” (that might also represent something exciting!).

In fact, they kind of get the impression that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. And since they feel they can’t do anything about it, they are trying to enjoy life to the fullest, sometimes to the detriment of their health (they make little effort in this direction), flouting convention and even sometimes established authority. They express a mentality of “the decline of the Roman empire”: better get the most out of life before it’s too late!).

If we pay attention to this type of music, its lyrics and the type of “melodies” it is brimming with, we realize that heavy metal beautifully expresses the values and mental postures of its fans: unbridled intensity, civil disobedience, nihilism, even the idea of braving death and the devil. It is apparent in songs such as At War with Satan, Welcome to the Jungle, Am I the Evil, Cowboys from Hell, Angel of Death, etc., as well as in the names of some heavy metal bands, for example, Judas Priest, Rage Against the Machine, Guns N’ Roses, etc.

In addition to this, these fans also display an acute desire to belong, to feel integrated in a community or a group of friends. They like to experience emotional connections with others (to wit, the popularity of stage-diving and body surfing at heavy metal concerts).

They are also characteristically highly critical of large corporations. They don’t usually blindly trust businesses. As consumers, although they keep an eye open for new products and services that are bound to give them pleasure (for instance, they like gadgets and video games), they’re savvy and critical-minded. It’s the product or service itself that gives them pleasure, not the act of consuming.

Finally, note that they have a somewhat traditional view of male and female roles and tend to value patriarchal authority. Simply put, they’re a bit macho.

So, if you want to reach this clientele, what are the implications in terms of marketing?

First of all, you must win their trust by being genuine. Should you fail to do so, they will be merciless (they don’t take no bullshit)! They want things that are real and authentic.

Thus, Lemmy Kilmister, icon and founding member of the heavy metal group Motörhead who died recently, was really a caricature of this profile. Lemmy was a real and authentic character who lived a wild life focused on the pursuit of pleasure (sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll). He didn’t seem to care about his health at all in his desire to get the most out of life (in his own way), nor did he care about conventions, as he thought the world was going to hell, so why not enjoy it before it’s too late…?

It’s pretty incredible that he lived like this until he was 70!



Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 01-29-16 at 9:56 a.m.

As society is constantly changing, we have witnessed many changes in people’s practices and hobbies over the years, and camping and outdoor activities are no exception to this.

In the 70s and 80s, the activity was actually quite minimalist: a nylon or cotton non-waterproof tent, a rudimentary sleeping bag, a Coleman stove and that was it. This was enough to satisfy the need for authenticity and going back to basics for most practitioners.

Later, in the 90s and 00s, outdoor activities benefitted from innovation and technological change. Equipment that was previously limited to adventurers who climb the Himalayas was democratized and became accessible to the Sunday hiker. From a simple activity, enjoying the great outdoors evolved into a complex and specialized undertaking. Nowadays, enthusiasts seek self-improvement, performance. Just as a bike ride is now performed in cycling shorts and a jersey covered in sponsors’ logos, a hike in the forest now requires quick-dry pants, even in nice weather.

Today, the trend is towards "glamping": a portmanteau that combines glamour and camping. Glamping consists of accommodation in unusual facilities (utopia tent, yurt, cabin, Airstream trailer, covered wagon, treehouse, caravan, tipi, or a suspended tree tent). The type of accommodations must stand out by how comfortable it is, its design, and where it is located.

Why is this trend appearing today?

The analysis of sociocultural values in our Panorama program provides us with a possible answer.

Outdoor activity enthusiasts are firstly attracted by luxury and brands that offer added value, while also enjoying local brands and products that combine craftsmanship with authenticity. They try to adopt a greener lifestyle and resist consumer society, and besides the fact that they practice outdoor activities, they have little need for escape.

Glamping reconciles two dimensions that can, in principle, be opposed in many ways. It offers luxury and comfort, but in a context that is natural and conducive to getting back to one’s "roots": exactly what these consumers want.

This consumer niche holds opportunities for different brands, including those operating in the field of outdoor equipment by offering a brand promise with strong added value that combines comfort with nature. The "nature and performance" niche is very well-served by the North Faces of this world, but few are positioned in the comfort-chic niche. There is also an opportunity here for food manufacturers and distributors: Why not offer a gourmet dining experience that can easily be prepared in the woods? If it is also environmentally friendly, there is definitely a market opportunity here.

Consumers often have behaviours that may seem inconsistent or contradictory and only an analysis of their sociocultural values can make sense of them.


Innovations: To each their own reasons to adopt

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 01-29-16 at 9:29 a.m.

It is no secret that we live in a time when innovations are appearing at an accelerated pace. This proliferation of new things on the market is causing marketing teams to increase their efforts and ingenuity to attract consumers to their new offers. However, all consumers do not adopt innovations at the same pace, nor for the same reasons.

To better understand some of the underlying motivations for the adoption of new products or services by consumers, we used our Panorama program (measuring changes in people’s values via an annual survey of more than 2,000 Canadian consumers) to recreate the segmentation developed in the 1960s by sociologist Everett Rogers in his Diffusion of Innovations model. This segmentation distributes the population into five groups of consumers according to how quickly they adopt innovations offered by the market.

Beyond the size of segments obtained, which is very similar to Rogers’ initial distribution, the value of the exercise lies in the identification of the state of mind of each of these types of consumers, that is, understanding the values and needs that are important to them and that should be expressed in messages intended for them. Not surprisingly, each of these segments has values and a vision of life that are quite different;  the tone and content of messages addressed to them when touting the benefits of an innovation must therefore evolve as an innovation is diffused in the market and they become the next target.

"Innovators" are individuals who are constantly looking to improve their lives, who are very focused on creativity and realizing their personal potential. To flourish, they need to feel they are getting ahead, that they are progressing in their lives and taking advantage of all the new opportunities available to them. Innovation is a stimulating challenge for them in the sense that they see it as a way to reinvent themselves and reinvent the way they do things in life, for the better. It acts as a springboard that propels them forward by helping push the limits of what is possible, for themselves and for society in general. These individuals are also animated by a strong sense of social idealism. Innovation as a driver of improvement for oneself, others, and the planet as a whole.

"Early adopters" share many values with "innovators", particularly the desire to improve and expand the boundaries of what is possible. Their social idealism is however less marked, as this segment is more rooted in a culture of proximity, valuing connections with relatives and the total fulfillment of the family unit. Innovation as driver of wellness and sharing with those who are dear to them.

Consumers who compose the "early majority" are primarily motivated by acquiring a status likely to be valued by others. They like to shine, to be admired by those around them; consumption reassures and stimulates them in the sense that it gives them the feeling of belonging to the privileged class (or, at least, getting closer to it). Innovation as a way to feel that one is someone, to build a social identity.

The last two segments, the "late majority" and "laggards", tend to feel threatened by innovation, which they perceive as a vector of isolation and further social exclusion. These two segments, especially the laggards, are reluctant to change their habits and feel a little at the mercy of external events. However, laggards are more withdrawn than the late majority, who strongly value commitment in their immediate community. These are also segments that consume on a practical basis. An innovation must therefore meet a very concrete need and integrate easily into their daily lives if they are to be interested. Innovation as a way to have some control over life, and, for the laggards, as a vector of community involvement.

According to the segment that we wish to sell an innovation to, it will thus benefit from being associated with:

• The new possibilities being offered to consumers (innovators)

• A notion of well-being or of closeness between people (early adopters)

• A notion of personal improvement (early majority)

• More down-to-earth benefits and increased control over one’s life (late majority and laggards)

Of course, these are large axes of values that distinguish large segments of the market, which would benefit by being refined by a better understanding of a product’s specific target. Our Panorama program is a valuable ally in this endeavour. Nevertheless, by way of illustration, here are some examples of commercials that target the heartstrings of the segments that are quickest to adopt innovations, especially the desire to push the limits and connect with loved ones.

1) Defining Innovation – BMW

2) Empowering – Microsoft

3) Man vs. Cheetah – Sketchers Gorun 2

4) Reunion – Google Search (Note: wonderful but lasts 3 ½ minutes)

5) Dear Sophie – Google Chrome


Canada as a “distinct” society and market

Categories: Food for thought

Posted on 01-28-16 at 4:36 p.m.

There can sometimes be a perception – conscious or not – that the United States sees Canada as little more than its natural, northern (and colder) extension. However, Canadians have a long history of claiming their independence and distinctiveness from their southern neighbours, and our Panorama survey shows that very real differences exist and subsist between the two largest trading partners in the world. Any American player seeking to make an imprint or build upon one in Canada will start at a significant advantage over its competitors if it is aware of the characteristics that make the “Great White North” a truly distinct society in the North American landscape.

People-centric, socially conscious

Embracing people’s uniqueness and diversity – as well as learning from it – is an integral part of Canadian identity. Canadians score considerably higher than their neighbours to the south in assigning value to concepts like Equality of the Sexes, Flexible Definition of Family, Flexibility of Sexual Identity, and Openness toward Others, expressing a desire to distance themselves from social models and molds to validate individual particularities that they perceive as a source of social richness and personal fulfillment. When possible, those seeking to win over the Canadian marketplace should therefore be not only willing, but eager to display receptiveness to difference and to offer goods and brand images that play well to demands for personalization and customization.

Consistent with a more humane, people-oriented mindset, Canadians are more apt than Americans to want to help others and tend to be more sensitive to issues affecting the world around them – be it in terms of their community or the environment. Concepts like Primacy of Environmental Protection, Ethical Consumerism and Mutual Aid resonate significantly more strongly north of the border. For instance, whereas only 29% of Americans “totally agree” that they should help people around them even if they don’t know them well, close to half (44%) of Canadians do. And while close to a third (32%) of Americans are willing to accept higher degrees of pollution to preserve people’s jobs, only a meager 19% of Canadians share this view. In this sense, social and ecological sustainability play an important part in Canadians’ choices of brands and products.

Feeling in control – and eager to keep this feeling

Despite market forces and the unpredictability of life today, Canadians have the impression that they can stay on top of things. A significantly smaller proportion of Canadians (45%) than Americans (56%) agree with the idea that they have a hard time changing the course of events affecting them. But despite this feeling of control, Canadians are less comfortable that Americans with uncertainty and risk-taking, being almost twice as less inclined to take risks in life than their American counterparts. In this sense, comforting brands and comforting brand promises are especially welcome by Canadian consumers, as well as promises of empowerment.

More to the point, as a direct by-product of this pronounced sense of cautiousness, Canadians are also more financially prudent and pragmatic from a consumption standpoint in comparison with Americans; price is a more important factor for them in their purchasing decisions, whereas a product’s brand is less so. A total of 43% of Canadians totally or somewhat agree that when they buy a product, the brand is very important to them, a proportion that goes up to 58% across the border. They do not engage in “buying for buying’s sake” to the same extent that Americans do and they are more wary of marketing and advertising; only 12% of Canadians believe that if a product is widely advertised, it is very likely that it will be a good product, while 39% of Americans share this opinion.

Therefore, Canadians are more likely to consider any offer as a commodity and to be attracted by the best price. To make itself known, a brand therefore has every interest in having a somewhat aggressive pricing strategy or, if inclined to charge a high price, one has to be quite convincing about the concrete value being offered in return.

A tale of two countries

From a consumer values point of view, Canadians stand apart from their southern neighbours by:

• Being more focused on themselves as people, on their uniqueness, with less of a need to fit into the social mold

• Putting more stock in equality, ecological and ethical matters

• Feeling more empowered, in greater control of their lives, which they want to maintain

• Being more cautious in terms of consumption, more inclined toward utility, and less preoccupied by consuming for the sake of pleasure or status

Brands and brand promises that emphasize the following values will therefore have a better chance of being well-received in this market:

• Celebrating people’s diversity and offering a good degree of personalization

• Celebrating people

• Having a clear and honest sense of social responsibility

• Able to both comfort and empower consumers

• Bringing tangible benefits into people’s lives

• Offering good prices or clear concrete value

Any company seeking to do business with a specific segment of Canadian consumers would gain by understanding where they come from as people. In the end, it all comes down to knowing your end client. With its Panorama program, CROP is uniquely equipped and positioned to help you do so.