What are the main characteristics of Western markets? For us the most important thing is that needs are satisfied. This has considerable consequences.
First, growth will be found in Asia, Russia and Brazil. Second economic growth will rest on sustained consumption only if consumption itself can be stimulated. This means that brands will have to stimulate desire. This has great implications for brand management. Brands should now deliver experiences, and one of the first is to surprise their consumers.
Another key factor of mature markets is the wish to consume better. Globalisation is now a reality for consumers. They are aware that first-world companies have their products made in China or Brazil, that underdeveloped countries will only be able to develop if trade is more equitable, that some companies are more ecology-conscious than others. These considerations have no impact on consumers when their main problem is to fulfil their basic needs.
Maslow reminded us that higher level needs become important when lower level ones are satisfied. This means that modern consumers do not want bigger brands, but better brands. Sustainable development is here to stay. It is no fad. Perhaps many companies now mention sustainable development in their corporate annual reports purely because their competitors do so, or because they feel forced to do it. Meanwhile their competitors have realized that sustainable development and fair trade are sources of competitive edge. Today intelligence is moral intelligence.