In April, Drug Store News and Mack Elevation co-hosted the third annual New General Market Summit. The one-day thought leadership event examined the changing face of the American shopper — driven not only by the growth of multicultural and millennial consumers but also by the influence these consumers are having on all consumers — and how the best brands are able to connect on an emotional level, as well as build community and advocacy with an ever-more diverse consumer.
According to research from 23andme, makers of an OTC genetic testing kit, the average American is made up of four different ethnicities — we are by definition a polyethnic culture.
Though it might seem that America is more divided than ever, today’s best brands don’t just celebrate our inherent diversity, they celebrate our commonalities. For example, Sundial Brands pioneered the New General Market concept about 10 years ago. “For us, the most important part of this definition is ‘commonalities,’” CEO Richelieu Dennis told DSN in 2015. “It is not a segmentation approach; it is an approach of inclusion. It also is not part of a multicultural or ethnic strategy; it is a multi-need strategy in which the heterogeneity within ... and the similarities across populations are simultaneously acknowledged and understood. We all share very common needs. When we begin to focus on what those are, we can begin to solve for much larger population sizes and serve consumers in a much more meaningful and relevant way.”
In this issue, DSN highlights the big ideas and best practices that emerged from the event. The brands that are winning share one other common trait — purpose.
Purpose is driving everything from purchasing decisions and where consumers put their brand loyalty to product design and development, to how companies are recruiting and preparing the next generation of leaders. Increasingly, a growing body of evidence suggests that this need for a defined sense of purpose isn’t just some nice-to-have idea that only exists in our minds; it is a part of our physiological makeup. We are hardwired for purpose. When purpose is absent from our lives, there is a physical effect. According to studies, people with a strong sense of purpose are less likely to suffer from depression; they sleep better; they tend to have stronger immune systems; and they are less likely to suffer from such chronic diseases as diabetes and heart disease, or to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Interestingly, according to a Gallup/Healthways study, people with a strong sense of purpose also are more comfortable with ethnic diversity.
Finally, a quick word about our cover: The very best brands that are winning with the New General Market consumer share one other thing in common. Because they stand for something bigger and more important than just a product on a shelf, the best brands feel like they are part of us; they get under our skin. What’s your brand doing to win the New General Market? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about it.
To view the full New General Market special report, click here.