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The improving understanding of marketing that is taking place in the leather industry comes in part from the fact that tanners have become much more involved in working with the full value chain. They have started to realise that for everyone in that complex network to make a profit the final consumer has to see the value in the product they are buying.
Some tanners have learned even more by starting to make and market finished products, even if only from their hard to sell selections, and yet others have moved to cutting leather for their customers.
The timing is useful since it now appears that many tanners have recognised that we are geo-demographic change to a society defined by an ageing group counterbalanced by a young one which is now moving rapidly into middle and senior positions in the work force. With this comes something which is harder to grasp and that is that at the same time as consumers evolve so does their expectation of leather. We tend to think of leather as an unchanging item, but its strength through history has been very much aided by its own ability to evolve. Not just to be used for different purposes but also to allow the expressions of different feelings from high fashion through luxury and to high level of performance in some sports footwear and gloves.
A toaster often has more computer power than the Apollo 11 Landing Craft
The pace of modern life means that those consumer expectations are evolving ever faster these days and so are the consumers themselves. Given the arrival of advanced technology that means a toaster with a defrost function has more computer power than the Apollo 11 landing craft, the young generation is more in tune with the technology than many of us can grasp.
So much so that since 2004 marketers have been playing with the term Generation C, although it only began to be defined properly as Generation Connected in 2012. Sometimes they are called the YouTube generation as three quarters of them visit YouTube at least weekly and about 60% use the Internet as their main source of entertainment. According to a Cisco this cross-generational cohort is connected to one another, to the seamless use of devices and through that to the “digital heartbeat” of the planet. Initially this was tough to be only the digital natives born in 1990 and after but now it is accepted that this is generation characterised by mindset and attitude rather than age.
It does not matter whether you call this generation “collaboration”, "community", "computerised", or the original “content” generation. This digital skilled group crosses the generations and the world building online communities and quite new ways of buying and consuming products.
For leather change is never far away.
August 2, 2017
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