Oceans of Information

This is the final excerpt from our 2015 How to be Right for the Times report.

The digital society is not a simple linear onwards and upwards society. The effects of these technologies are diverse and contradictory. The graphic below reflects the diverse findings of our 2015 qualitative research as to the effects the adoption of smartphones and other new technology has on people’s lives. It shows that, even as we begin to personally feel more powerful and self-sufficient, our access to information is becoming more and more fragmented — that’s the ‘long tail’ too.

RFTT 2015 July.019

And that sense of power we experience may be accompanied by an almost infantile desire to have what we want, now, without question. As our expectations of immediate high quality goods and services grow we become less able to delay gratification or deal with anything that contradicts our desires.

That impulse to focus on what we want extends to the way we deal with the ocean of information itself — we become adept at blocking out what we do not wish to hear. Filtering our news through social media means we pay attention to what our friends pay attention to — not what outsiders may wish to tell us.

At worst and kind of also at best we become powerful demanding diverse and insulated little tribes. Silicon Valley itself is the ultimate example.

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Which Generation Loves Your Brand Most?

This blog post is yet another excerpt from Windshift’s 44-page report How to Be Right for the Times

Generational preferences are a critical element of being Right for the Times. In the past, there were a number of important generational rites of passage that signalled a change in a person’s brand preferences. These included:

  • getting a serious job,
  • buying a house,
  • becoming a couple,
  • getting married,
  • becoming a parent,
  • building a career,
  • emptying the nest
  • retirement.

But when you go through one of these rites of passage today [if you do], do you automatically take on the same brands as the older generations used? That depends entirely on your experiences and the way your expectations have been shaped – which is after all, the only real thing a generation has in common.

Differing levels of migration and family size also affect generational preferences though – we know that in New Zealand the younger generations are less likely to be NZ European and more likely to be migrants.

We have five generations in New Zealand now — they aren’t all the same size and different people draw the boundaries in different places, so Windshift’s generations span the following years:

RFTT 2015 NZGens.001

 In our study of 18 to 69 year olds we covered the three middle generations, Millennials [Generation Y], Generation X and Baby Boomers.

[Author’s Note] Overall 60 of the 143 brands in our survey [42%] had significantly different levels of attraction [skews] for different generations. One generation was highly over-represented among the brand lovers while another produced no skews whatsoever. Guess which was which?

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Does Your Firm Have Good Future Prospects?

This is an exclusive extract from Windshift’s 2015 How to be Right for the Times Report

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In our 2015 survey, as usual, we asked people who work for private enterprise firms whether their company was prospering, stable, or declining. The graphic below shows the pattern of response over the past 13 years, at 3 year intervals [plus this year].


RFTT 2015 Firm.001

Imagine how it felt in the business world in 2003, when 52% of employees could say their firm was prospering and expanding. It’s hard to remember now.

According to this graphic, two-thirds of businesses in 2015 are stable with good future prospects, while one-third are moving up or down in earnings. The well-known brands who made it to the Top 25 aren’t necessarily prospering and expanding, but it’s fairly certain that their employees would rate them  as stable with good future prospects.

Let’s think for a moment what it means to say a brand has good future prospects or is prospering. Its audience is growing or has increase the intensity of purchasing. That might signal some kind of competitive advantage, or a successful launch — like that of Lewis Rd Chocolate Milk. Or it might reflect growing customer-connectedness — like Air New Zealand – nationally at least.

But it may also reflect a generational change — older generations adopting new technologies, for instance, or younger generations reaching important milestones that suddenly change their preferences.

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