The business landscape that was once dominated by the giants has been upended. The innovative, no-name brands that were once too small to be any real threat are now on shelves typically occupied only by brands with big advertising budgets. These challenger brands are gaining traction and igniting a following faster than the old-school brands can validate a self-identity. The brand leaders who still spend their days focused on epic annual plans, strategizing, analyzing, re-planning, and endlessly testing are in serious danger of becoming irrelevant.
According to global brand strategist Nicole Ertas, what we’re seeing is the rise of the “Free Range Brand.”These are the brands that thrive in unpredictability and understand modern consumers and their needs–the need for self-expression, for influence, for relevancy, and for truth. In FREE RANGE BRANDS ™, Ertas explains how the revolution happened and describes the qualities and behaviors that constitute a Free Range Brand. She introduces the four new types of consumers that a remaking or breaking businesses today and reveals what it takes to make a lasting impact on them. Packed with fascinating case studies and illuminating insights,the book is a must-read for marketers and business leaders.
Ertas says, “The surprising truth is that modern technology didn’t change us – it enabled us. For the last 50 years, marketers dished it out.Consumers didn’t have the data or the facts. Trust was the alchemy that held the whole system together. The seeds of mistrust started to sprout with the Boomers, who broke from their parents’ generation. They used their megaphones, marches,and posters to demand answers and changes on big issues that made the news and got attention. They grew up to pass their values of being change agents and influencers on to their kids: the Millennials, who expect to be seen and heard and have the power to invoke real change. So it’s not just 80 million Millennials, but 160 million people who are at the core of changing everything:the two largest generations in history working together, often still living together,and fueling and supporting each other.”
FREE RANGE BRANDS reveals four modern consumer archetypes that personify how today’s consumers expect to interact with their brands. But who are these new consumers and what do they need?
LORDS- Provocative kids with smartphones, dog lovers with GoPros, design enthusiasts snapping photos, and foodies with kitchen webcams. Lords don’t respond to overt brand messages, but wield great power if brands connect with them properly.
LOVERS- Today’s consumer is motivated to be loyal by aligning on chemistry, be it altruistic or hedonistic. They are drawn into the story not as a collective target demographic, but as one who shares the dream, vision, interest, or curiosity. Without Lovers, a brand is a commodity.
HACKERS- Co-creators, brand jackers, mash-up and collaboration, Hackers expect tointeract with brands on a very personal level.Talk at them vs. with them and a brand will be left for dead.
HAWKS- Empowered influencers who are committed to vetting a brand’s every move from product, to service, sourcing, internal culture, and leadership. They are a force to be reckoned with and not one to be ignored.
Ertas says, “The world our brands live in has permanently changed. Brand Managers are not the brand owners anymore. The kind is dead.Trying to lead from the throne is holding onto the power of an era gone by, and will only bring a brand empire down faster.”