I participated in a brand/product innovation workshop last week for a well-known CPG brand that’s consumed all over America.
The brief was typical: increase relevance among millennials.
I came in to work early to participate in the session. They’re usually fun. Plus, free food.
A pair of young consultants lead us through current cultural trends to inspire us with things relevant to today’s Millennials consumers. Health and natural food came up, as did innovations in on-demand technology.
And then one of the consultants did something that is unfortunately quite common in agencies: she made fun of Trump supporters.
I noticed a Bernie Sanders poster had made its way into one of her cultural trend boards. But Trump’s rise? Nowhere to be seen.
In the news today, another one of American primaries has concluded. Again, Trump is the big winner. With Cruz’s exit, Trump is now the presumed Republican nominee.
Data shows that Trump is not just popular among white middle aged Republican men. He is popular among everyone. Well, everyone except agency strategists apparently.
The billionaire won among voters who never attended college; the working class; and the middle-aged.
Then again, Trump won almost every other demographic, too.
As a planner/strategist/brand consultant, it’s our job to understand customers. To empathize with people whose background we may not share.
When we leave out the importance of Trump to Americans and replace him with our own desire for Bernie Sanders, we do not just show ignorance, we hurt our clients. The center advertising and media jobs in America is New York city. But it’s our job as planners to understand consumers who by-and-large do not live in New York.
A friend sent me this article from The Atlantic on ‘The Average 29 Year old.’ According to the Atlantic, the average 29 year old American is very different from the average 29 year old brand strategist at an ad agency in New York City:
In trend pieces, the word Millennial has become shorthand for “a college-educated young person living in a city.”
…Instead, the average 29-year-old did not graduate from a four-year university, but she did start college; held several jobs, including more than two in the last three years; is not as likely to be married as her parents at this age, but is still likely to be living with somebody…is more likely to live outside of a dense urban area like Brooklyn or Washington, D.C.
It’s that 29 year old that we need to be innovating this product for.
I’ve found myself defending Trump supporters at work on multiple occasions (and another time on this blog). I don’t care for Trump’s politics, but I do care for why he matters to so many others. Brands that figure that out will have a winning strategy.