The way people communicate, get entertainment, shop, and socialize has changed dramatically. Thanks to the smartphone, access to consumers has also changed. It is now possible to reach people across geographies, socio-economic status, cultures and ethnicities without any prohibitive barriers like high costs and distance.
We at Lumière recently explored a new dimension of moderation with consumers across the globe sitting comfortably back at our offices. While we have been doing social media listening for the last couple of years in India, this was the first time that we scaled it across continents. The big discovery is that connecting via internet can build trust and confidence to enable an engaging and purposeful discussion. Instant messaging has proved to be yet another catalyst to connecting with modern age consumers on a real-time basis over the internet.
We pick one topic to cover in all the countries and are able to pick up regional nuances while discussing each of them. The respondents selected are articulate, candid and well-engaged throughout the exercise. The icing on the cake are the personal anecdotes, pictures and videos that they share to supplement their views.
On the topic of parenting, while non-millennials admitted to be far more lenient as parents, millennials felt that parents today are too soft with their kids, and rated their own parents as better equipped for parenting. Participants speak of the role technology plays in parenting. It is seen more as a deterrent than an enabler by many, and most cite it as a major barrier in exercising control over their kids. Consumers across the globe are concerned about child safety. Internet has enabled an easy access to information and connectedness, however wisdom is valued just as much. Grandparents are seen to have a contributing role in the household in helping the family raise the children right. Millennials view parenting as a life altering choice and want to take on the role of parenting responsibly.
On the topic of environmental issues, participants take responsibility for bringing and adopting the change, and are aware of the initiatives being taken around them. Some particularly inspiring stories are of initiatives taken to reverse the negative effects of human activity on the environment, like returning the land to lush green forest, where it had turned barren after cultivation in Africa. The sentiment of collective responsibility towards protecting the environment is widespread. Individual households recognise the contribution to the cause of the environment. A change in managing waste is seen as an important step in healing the environment.
It is exciting to learn about lives and lifestyle of people across continents, and this was only the tip of iceberg. There is great potential in such interactions and richness of insight that such interactions can provide, and seek many more such opportunities to get up and close with consumers worldwide.