Direct Media Slovenia’s Managing Director Mitja Tuškej, the region’s leading branding expert and head of the DMA branding module, spoke to IAB Slovenia. Check out the full interview at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwoUOo23uDMzR7e-IP2N55Q.
Read the most interesting parts of the interview here.
Thanks to IAB Slovenia for the chance to talk!
Zoran Savin, Director of IAB SLOVENIA: WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR BRANDING TODAY?
MITJA TUŠKEJ: My beliefs — which I’ve been upholding in my work virtually all my life — are rooted in the fact that math and statistics remain crucial for branding to this day. I believe that data rules, and data analysis lays down the law. No matter what you want to do with your brand, it’s complete madness to not use data and analyses to determine your actual target audience and how your brand ranks against the competition.
Zoran Savin, Director of IAB SLOVENIA: ARE DEMOGRAPHICS SUFFICIENT FOR QUALITY TARGETING?
MITJA TUŠKEJ: Today’s alternative to that — and quite a good one, at that — is lifestyle targeting. I started studying this targeting principle more than ten years ago. I defined lifestyle segments among the population in Slovenia and in other countries in the region. Then in 2015 I was thrilled when I saw the then new Trendwatching report — prepared annually by a team studying global trends — describing an emerging megatrend that they named “postdemographic consumerism.” The report said something along the lines of “If your work involves with brands, take caution! Perhaps it’s time to gradually move away from demographic targeting and turn to lifestyle targeting.” In their latest edition tackling 2017 trends, they simply wrote, “Demographics are dead. Long live lifestyles!” The lifestyle–brand relationship is clear and powerful. If a brand wants to find its place on the market, it must amaze a specific group of people and find its ambassadors, influencers, and those who would promote the brand’s reputation. Before that, the brand must know how to find and define this target audience, focus on it, and get close it through brand communications.
Zoran Savin, Director of IAB SLOVENIA: IS THAT WHY GENERATIONAL GROUPING IS NOT ENOUGH?
MITJA TUŠKEJ: The math once again says that that’s the case. Generations contain subgroups that significantly differ in their behaviors, worldviews, brand perceptions, and consumer habits, among other things. For example, our methodology splits Generation Y into three segments: Party Lovers, New Breeders, and Young Conservatives. On the other hand, Generation X has five different segments. It’s interesting when comparison shows that Generation X’s thinking is more liberal than that of Generation Y’s Young Conservatives. This segmentation creates a line that today starts with Generation Z and ends with the silent generation — from the youngest to the oldest. Within this linearity, some subgroups are classified unevenly, but still follow a completely logical order. It’s interesting that we can place all our lifestyle segments in Uncle Roger’s segmentation: We all know about his S curve, dividing the population into: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards. This combination gives excellent results in brand management.
Zoran Savin, Director of IAB SLOVENIA: IS GENERATION Z TRULLY A DIGITAL GENERATION?
MITJA TUŠKEJ: I was surprised when I saw the first Generation Z analyses, when I saw their media consumption and how they receive messages in different media. I was surprised to see that they receive messages in print media extremely well. I was completely caught off guard! The print returns. I can’t say for certain yet, but the fact is that that’s what the data showed. For now, let’s say it’s more of a fun fact … Also, their receiving of messages is related to other channels. Native is hot, they were born with tablets and smartphones. Their perception of the world is entirely different, as is their perception of messages is entirely different — or at least considerably different. The digital world permeats their lives even more than with Generation Y. So, my answer is YES, Generation Z trully is a digital generation.
Zoran Savin, Director of IAB SLOVENIA: WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO APPROACH YOUNG GENERATIONS THEN?
MITJA TUŠKEJ: Through other channels, through new channels, and above all through differently produced messages — keeping it efficient, short, clear, and part of one clear picture through a variety of channels. Generation Z is the first generation capable of consuming significantly more information. The older ones are facing a very present and serious issue of information overload. We put up a wall to block out the information that are not in line with our lifestyles, our desires, or habits. With Generation Z, it’s different. They are capable of faster and greater data absorption and filtering.
Zoran Savin, Director of IAB SLOVENIA: HOW DOES THE NEW MARKET SITUATION REFLECT ON BRANDS?
MITJA TUŠKEJ: The time between 2008 and today is interesting — out targeting was wrong, often we were targeting even all consumers as a single audience, we lost clear brand stories, advertising was moving in a strange direction, everything was adjusting to the new recession market situation … Because of all of this, even strong competitive brands became very similar to each other. For example, if 2007 saw car brands positioning over a relatively wide space, today this space is considerably reduced. Competitors are becoming similar, which is bad for brands. When we analyze the communications of Interbrand’s top 100 brands, we can quickly conclude that everyone is focusing on their own brand story and target audience. And they are successful and growing.
Zoran Savin, Director of IAB SLOVENIA: HOW CAN A BRAND INCREASE ITS NUMBER OF CONSUMERS AND AT THE SAME TIME CONVINCE ITS TARGET AUDIENCE IN SMALLER MAKRETS SUCH AS SLOVENIAN?
MITJA TUŠKEJ: There’s no dilemma here to me, nothing to calibrate — you just have to jump into the pool that is full focus. Let me try to give an an example. I’m in love with this brand, although I must admit I would never drive it — I’m talking about Volkswagen — because it’s completely outside of my lifestyle. But the numbers from 2000 to today indicate that the brand’s qualities, values, and personality — which symbolize the brand’s target audience — remain the same to this day. In addition, Volkswagen has grown its market share from 10% to 17% over the past 15 years. It’s been speaking to the same profile of man all the while. And at the same time we all know about it. Of course, some of us will never buy it, while others will be keeping their parking space for this brand only. This focus of theirs — in my opinion — is close to perfection!