C-Lab was established in Portugal in 2009. Since then, we have conducted countless studies and now have the benefit of long series of relevant indices and in-depth expertise on the complex process of adjustment and change that the consumer society is currently experiencing in Portugal.
In addition to the Barometer, the Consumption Function and the research on “Consumer’s Changing Trends” which are undertaken annually, the year of 2015 will be dedicated to two in-depth research topics that despite their different nature.
THE HOUSE : WHAT IS ITS CENTRALITY AND WHICH CONSUMPTION’S DEFINE IT?
A house is not just a house – is an object full of meanings and symbolism. In its shape, a house reflects a lifestyle, a socio-economic reality, a status, a state of mind (from thrifty to the most luxurious / fancy). In its content, it is the family’s primordial space – a place of comfort and intimacy, that sets a family organization scheme. In some stages of life, it can also be a symbol of autonomy or an essay for a marriage project. A house is, therefore, a portrait of its inhabitants – their world, their values, their expectations.
In the last decades, the house was the main material achievement of the portuguese families. However, the social, demographic and economic changes observed in the past years are altering the projects that it involves. Unemployment, less stable incomes, more informal or less lasting relationships, a higher number of people living alone, greater job mobility, would be, by itself, sufficient reason to question a “project for life”. Joining to this, the credit access difficulties and the notion of risk associated to the purchase of a house (by resorting to financing), are changing the very meaning of investment in a house, especially among the younger generations. For those, the house will represent less and less an asset and increasingly a space of action.
If the house reflects who lives in it, it is expected to reflect the new behaviors, values and aspirations of consumers. It is also expected to reinforce aspects such as the integration of technology and equipment in the domestic sphere, which give new morphology to the experiences in the house.
For the brands, there are certainly new themes and assessment areas: the house “where everyone helps” has to be more functional; the house where one works and learns has to be more technological; the house of pleasure must have more content and comfort; the house of whom best manages the family budget, has to be more efficient (also in energy and environmental terms); the house of those who are exposed to new influences (mostly visual) has to have more and better design, be a better scenario.
With this investigation we intent to understand the dynamics of home experiences and the consumptions that define it, looking to typify and distinguish the “house relationship models”. “models of relationship with the house”.
It also intends to explore the accomplishment and pleasure dimensions that happen at home scene that may present new consumptions reasons, new share-of-wallet and new share-of-time.
Finally, we aim to understand to what extent the new values and consumption references affect the investment made at home, searching once again a segmented consumer profile analysis.
SUSTAINABILITY AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: HOW TO POSITIVELY REACH CONSUMERS?
The Corporate Sustainability theme has been, for a long time, in the majority of the agendas from organization leaders, by multiplying indicators and indexes such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, that guide their actions.
Along with the investment increase in this area, a great extension of the range of potential focus areas for the companies is observable. Which areas should one invest? What are the themes one should gain property of? How to ensure relevance and scale in the pursued initiatives? With which outlook and value creation ambitions with consumers and customers? These are the most difficult questions to answer.
If it’s true that, by principle or obligation of the ……, the firms expend a great deal of effort and investments in Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility, it is also true that, sometimes, the values that they announce are to reflected on their goods or services, on their production line or even on the relationship with suppliers and employees. Actually, there is a gap between the corporation development in these areas and what it is shown to consumers- two worlds that rarely intersect-, wasting what could be capitalized in favor of corporate recognition or established relationship with the brands.
An international study from Edelman (developed in 12 countries with 15.000 consumers), reveals that 70% of the consumers is certain that most of the brands are self-centered and moved by pure selfish interests, not allowing an honest commitment with the consumer. The results of the study suggest that brands are being penalized not only because they have difficulties in accompanying the recurrent merge of rational and emotional needs, but above all because they tend to neglect the consumer social needs.
The C-Lab also knows, by raids of the theme in investigations of consumer trends, over the past six years (‘Responsabilidade Social de Proximidade e Envolvimento’ and ‘O Valor de Fazer Economia’) that the Portuguese do not recognize most brands action on this field. Not only is this empty space felt, the consumers also tend to doubt the initiatives authenticity, scrutinizing the coherence and counterpointing it with the firm’s actions that reveal to be understood as their way of being in the market that is economic value oriented.
In terms of consumer perception and assuming that the affinity with brands increasingly depends on the recognition of the value they create, there is low value in the incorporation of sustainability as a guiding principle of the brands if the message is not understood by the consumer side, or there is little to non-dialogue with their expectation.
By knowing this reality from the first step, and understanding that the biggest challenge relies on “moving and involving the consumer”, that has the ambition to go further, searching in a systematic and deep way.
We intent to help the firms understanding the way that consumers effectively evaluate their actions, how they define and understand the Sustainability and Social Responsibility theme and what references are within their radar.