I was re-reading the TrendsSpotting 2010 Consumer Trend Report which contains lots of interesting and a few surprising ideas about what consumers want today. Here are 10 key trends that should inform the way your nonprofit communicates with your key audiences in the aftermath of our great economic freefall. With thanks to TrendsSpotting.
- Value is the key driver in consumer decision-making. What are you giving your supporters that is of value to them? Think about a values set that they believe in (honesty, transparency, accountability, ethical behavior) and live it.
- Consumers have discovered their own resiliency (post-economic meltdown)and are taking more control of their lives. Your supporters, like all consumers, have figured out that they are going to survive and be okay – just maybe in a different way. They have adjusted to the new economic reality and so should you. To engage them, offer them new reasons to join you in your work – approaches that communicate it is a different reality and one you embrace. TrendsSpotting call them the DIY’ers – they are doing more themselves–so give them the tools and support they want to DIY on your behalf.
- Consumers are seeking stability and are rebalancing their lives to fit the new reality. Your organization has probably done the same – speak to your supporters about your rebalancing and how it has changed your work. People will relate to your challenges and be more inclined to support you.
- Consumers talk to other consumers. Do you read consumer reviews before you make an online purchase? I do. I trust their combined wisdom (even though I discount 30% of what I read as pr) and make my purchasing decisions based on a careful review of their comments and other factors. Does your web site provide ways for your supporters to comment on their experiences with your organization? Positive online and offline word of mouth is the most powerful pr you can get.
- The trend toward “ethical responsibility” is growing. Being understood as an organization that cares about the environment and other ethical interests attracts supporters and gives them an emotional reason to connect to you. A related consumer trend – make it “eco-easy” for supporters to participate in your ecologically-sound programs – is also worth noting.
- The new media is at the center of our economy. You need to understand that it will continue to evolve at a fast pace and that consumers are going to grab new tools and applications and shed the old clunkers as quickly as it makes sense to do so. Translated to the nonprofit world: You must have talented, savvy staff onboard to lead your media strategy and execute nimbly. You must be ready for the next generations of tech-savvy supporters.
- The consumer world is aging – but in a new way. Yes, we baby-boomers keep making noise at every turn. We’re still the largest cohort and, yes, we are aging. But don’t confuse us with our parents generation. Our old is not what theirs was. We remain relatively healthier and have a stronger sense of independence and individuality than they did. If you want to keep us involved, listen to our needs.
- There is a growing shift from words to visual images. Whether it’s YouTube, photos on Facebook or sent from your phone, or a web site, realize that these communications channels are growing and information is increasingly being communicated using the graphic image. Add to that Twitter, with its 140 character limit, and you begin to understand the devaluation of the written word as a primary communications mechanism. (Hey, don’t blame me… I just report the facts).
- Nostalgia marketing is big. Bruised consumers (many of them aging baby boomers – but also those kids born in the 1970’s and 80’s) like going back to “the good old days” for emotional relief. Give them a dose of your organizational history and capture their imaginations and support.
- “Embedded generosity” (I love that term) makes it so easy for consumers to give. Yes, there are multiple online platforms that make giving a painless act of generosity. If your organization is not yet connected to one or more of them, get going.
Gail Hyman is a marketing and communications professional who currently focuses her practice, Gail Hyman Consulting, on assisting Jewish nonprofit organizations increase their ranks of supporters and better leverage their communications in the Web 2.0 environment. Gail is a regular contributor to eJewish Philanthropy.