Our Top Stories of the Week: PR Trends, Millennials and the end of a U.S. Brand in Canada

Do millennials prefer meaningful experiences over material possessions? Which major U.S company is pulling out of Canada and what trends will we see this year in PR? You can find out these answers in this week’s edition of our favourite PR and communications stories.

Consumer Report:

A new report from global media company ZenithOptimedia says that young people have less interest in material possessions than their parents; they have a “fundamentally different” view of happiness than previous generations, in where they place greater importance on meaningful experiences. The findings are based on an online survey of 6,100 people between 18 and 34 in 10 countries, including Australia, China and the United States (Canadian millennials were not included in the study). We’ve highlighted some of the findings in the report below; you can read more about this report in the link included.

  • Less than one-fifth (17%) regard buying a house as one of the milestones towards becoming an adult, and only 20% view marriage as a necessary step.
  • Only 39% of millennials consider moving out of their parents’ home a key to becoming an adult.
  • In general, millennials view career and finances as the two most critical areas to control in order to achieve happiness.

Millennials’ outlook on life creates a marketing challenge” (Marketing Magazine)

Retail:

The major news of the week came from Target, who announced that they will be closing all 133 stores across Canada.

One of the first Canadian target stores in Guelph, Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Stephen C. Host

One of the first Canadian target stores in Guelph, Ontario. The Canadian Press Images/Stephen C. Host

As many Canadians know, Target suffered from weak sales soon after it launched its first stores in Canada; customers complained that shelves were frequently bare and that prices were higher than those in the U.S. Target’s CEO said they were unable to find a realistic scenario that would get Target Canada to profitability. Initially he believed he could turn around Target’s Canadian operations within a few years, but the problems were too big.

One of the toughest challenges in Canada was that consumers here had already shopped at its U.S. stores and had very high expectations. Even though, Target Canada made progress in recent months it wasn’t enough to convince consumers to come back.

Target abandons Canadian operations” (Globe and Mail)

2015 PR Trends:

Consumer marketing experts from around the world helped Arun Sudhaman, partner and editor-in-chief at the Holmes Report compile a list of five trends that determine the consumer PR outlook for 2015 and onward. Each trend is listed below, but explained in further detail in article link.

1. Seamless experiences

  • According to PayPal’s People Economy global survey, 70 percent of the world thinks technology should make transactions simpler, connected and faster, with more choices and opportunities.

2. Go local

  • The ‘hyperlocal’ trend may not be that new, but it may burst into mainstream activity this year; 2015 will be the year of the local shop and local marketing. We will see less and less of big multi-market and global marketing programs, although great local campaigns will often go global.

3. Self expression

  • Many say 2014 was the ‘year of the selfie,’ so 2015 will see a continued focus on self-expression, with consequent implications for brands.

4. New media

  • We will see brand and product messaging told though a lot more video, more interactivity, more visual content; more focus on visual channels like Instagram and Pinterest.

5. Vested interests

  • The impact of Kickstarter has made consumer involvement in brands a genuine possibility from the very beginning of the startup journey. New ideas will be made easily understandable so that the mass consumer audience can micro-invest. This translates to a general desire for brands to return more value rather than just product quality and price.

2015 PR Trend Forecast: Consumer Marketing” (The Holmes Report)

Thought of the week:

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates

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