A New Consumer

The partners here at Brio are always saying how interesting it is that so many people are still doing things the same way as when they started in the insurance industry over 20 years ago. We’ve all heard the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and that couldn’t be any more evident than in this industry. That being said, is there anything in your daily life that’s still the same as it was 20 years ago? 15 years ago? Even 10 years ago? With the influx of Millennials joining the workforce in recent years and Baby Boomers entering retirement, businesses have had to update their products and offerings to keep up with the latest technologies. Not only that but innovating to cater to a new generation of consumers brings along a whole new set of unique challenges. Where previous generations bought add-ons and gadgets, Millennials demand everything be baked into a neat package of efficiency.
First, let’s take a look at the automotive industry. A car you would have bought 15-20 years ago, if properly cared for, could easily still be on the road today. Your radio might sound a little fuzzy at times, but the safety features are still intact and it passes every inspection. This car can get you from point A to point B and that’s what mattered when you bought it. Is this what matters to car buyers today?

Of course, getting from place to place is what the car is for, but now when you walk into a dealership ready to buy, there are a lot more expectations from a car than just the original function. Today’s consumer expects any car off the lot to perform this basic task, so what really sets a car apart from the rest is key. How easy it is to reach the “heated seats” button, a safety rating or how connected it is to the apps on my phone have a higher priority now.

Which leads me to another example of a changing landscape, the cellphone. We’ve come a long way from the brick, flip phone, and BlackBerry. We’ve gone from calling to texting to video chatting with each other from wherever we are, whenever we want. It’s a seamless experience with constantly expanding capabilities for entertainment and information. You now have access to the answer of any random question you have right at your fingertips. The other day, a song being played on a TV commercial caught my ear, and without thinking twice I’d asked my phone what the song was, had it pulled up, and was able to listen to it again.

At the end of the day, we can break down every product to the core of what it ultimately accomplishes – The car was made to travel; the phone to communicate. There are always going to be companies that try to innovate, bringing entirely new markets into existence; however, the fundamental goals that companies try to attain aren’t changing. Most children today will grow up in a wholly connected environment, not knowing the world of inefficiencies that came before them – If you aren’t able to adjust and meet the needs of the completely new buyer, someone else will. With the vast majority of companies “fixing” their products to meet new expectations, it always surprises me when these very same businesses are often found to be stuck with what can be considered archaic benefit programs.

In conversations we have with employers, they all tend to lead to the same few questions:

How do we better engage our workforce?
How do we effectively communicate?
How can we lower costs?

There are so many tools for answering these questions while keeping in mind the new consumer that expects a seamless process for every other aspect of their life. By implementing a robust technology platform for communicating, educating, and advocating for your employees, you ultimately are moving away from having the flip-phone equivalent of benefits and providing them with the newest smartphone the market has to offer.