Trends that inspire Renault Group
Renault Group has always placed much importance on deciphering and accompanying change in society. In a time when the world is quickly and radically changing, it is as important as ever to keep abreast of underlying trends in order to continue innovating and engineering products and services of the future. This exhilarating mission befalls the Company’s Customer Intelligence Department. Eric, Trend Manager, gives us his analysis of major societal changes that are affecting the automotive industry and altering mobility in general.
It is no mere coincidence that Renault has been behind iconic vehicles that have marked the history of automotives. Be it the Renault 5, Twingo, Espace, Scenic, or the more recent ZOE, the brand has proven its ability to disrupt the industry while fulfilling the needs and expectations of consumers. The same can be said for Dacia with the successive launches of Logan then Sandero as it released new cars at second-hand prices. Such success would not have been possible without the Customer Intelligence Department.
Our society is in a time of profound crisis. Our role is to understand what consumers will need in coming years in order to engineer the mobility of the future with individual and collective responses from all our brands: Renault, Dacia, Lada, Alpine, and Mobilize.
Eric, Trend Manager at the Customer Intelligence Department, Renault Group
UNDERSTANDING CHANGES IN SOCIETY
The mission of the Customer Intelligence Department is to first observe and understand the ways in which society is changing and to then incorporate consumer needs into the products and services that Renault Group brands currently offer and are yet to offer around the world.
Alain KLAPISZ, VP Customer and Market Intelligence, Renault Group
Renault Twingo, a ‘product of society’ in line with consumer expectations
Renault ZOE, the embodiment of societal aspirations for cleaner and more responsible mobility
Dacia Logan, a societal revolution: a new vehicle at a second-hand price
Eric states, “Findings from the sociological studies we conducted are clear: the world is in profound, rapid, and permanent change.” Digitalisation of our lives that expands potential interactions but is at the root of a form of cognitive apocalypse; environmental threats and ecological concerns; fragmentation of society; vulnerability and uncertainty; growing urbanisation; competitive mindsets, individualisation, hyper-consumption, etc.
When subject to such pressure, people lose their bearings, and are left to deal with a crisis of identity, a loss of meaning, and a sense of urgency.
In order for a person to recover their bearings – still disturbed by the COVID crisis – they need to regain control of their own existence, once again find meaning in what they do and how they consume, and reconnect with others on an emotional and personal level. They need to rediscover the power of trust.
“With these changes, aspirations, hopes, and fears, there are new needs, desires, and consumer expectations that are emerging or becoming more present,” explains Eric.
IDENTIFY NEW CONSUMER TRENDS
“We have identified five major global trends that shape consumer behaviour. These trends challenge and inform the way we design and deliver vehicles, services, and mobility solutions.”
In order to build trust with a brand, consumers increasingly value the human-touch and genuine discourse in their relationships with brands. In 2020, 48% of people reported buying their products and services exclusively from trusted brands – an 11 points increase over six years. Eric remarks, “This implies high expectations for companies to show transparency, commitment, and to live up to their promises.” People now want companies to embrace human values of empathy and ethics. In return, 59% of consumers are willing to spend more; 78% of purchasers believe that companies can strike a balance between profitability and supporting just causes.
The quest for positive consumer habits reflects a tendency toward sustainable well-being. It requires cultivating personal well-being and finding pleasure in consumption that has a minimum impact on the environment – i.e. guilt-free. One in every two people says they are actively looking for products and services that bring together pleasure and sustainability. To much the same extent, 46% of people worldwide feel guilty when their actions may harm the environment. As a result, 60% of European customers expect companies actively seek to protect the planet. “Companies therefore have every interest in developing a more sustainable mode of consumption with more responsible and eco-friendly products, much like the Renault ZOE. This goes hand in hand with creating designs that are both eco-friendly and resource-friendly and fostering circular-economy practices. Renault Group has been actively involved in such issues for many years.”
The search for meaning and wanting to help shape a better future reflect another global consumer trend, that of active empowerment. As such, 42% of individuals feel the need to be actively involved with their local community. Eric summarises the phenomenon saying, “The ‘consumer’ and ‘citizen’ are no longer two separate notions." Companies must therefore leverage the power they have to create fairer societies by further growing all the social dimensions of their organisation and adapting their business to better feed into such aspirations. This means championing social progress, tackling discrimination, and developing relationships or partnerships that will bring about change for a better future. “Once again, this is nothing new for Renault Group. Social progress lies at the heart of our DNA.”
As societies become more fragmented and increasingly individualised, it creates a universal need for identity that is valued. This pressure translates into a desire for consumer that align with the values of individuals and the communities they belong to. Hence, 42% of consumers say they only buy products and services that are consistent with their beliefs and personal ideals. At the same time as people seek better lives, the quest for self-betterment and greater respect for individual and group identities also informs consumer habits. For 47% of Europeans and North Americans, “being true to oneself” has become synonymous with personal success. “For businesses, the challenge is clear: it is necessary to identify groups and individuals that have similar values and provide them with relevant offers that reflect that similarity. In other words, we need to design products and services that each and every customer can embrace, tailor to their needs, and identify with.”
Simplicity and efficiency
People no longer want to complicate their lives or waste time. ‘Strive to make life easier’: this has become a key goal for 53% of people around the world. For businesses, ‘doing things simply’ means fostering intuition and adaptability. It means giving power back to individuals, to consumers. It means giving back time. It means reducing stress. ‘Do things simply!’ it is the guiding ethos behind creating a successful experience of products and services, even during the purchasing relationship. Digital solutions that adhere to such an ethos, provided it does not over burden an individual, are essential when it comes to making life easier. “Doing things simply and promoting simplicity can potentially generate a powerful competitive edge and distinctive advantage for a company. Within the Group, the growing success of Dacia, which champions the simplicity of its products, continues to prove this.”
INVENT MOBILITY OF THE FUTURE
In a world that is quickly and radically changing, paying heed to weak signals and emerging consumer trends is crucial for the automotive industry. For Renault Group, this has always been evident. More than ever, it is focused on deciphering and incorporating societal trends.
As Eric says, "This means constantly questioning the contribution of each of the company’s businesses, around the world, to be more in synch with the underlying changes at play. It means continually correcting and improving the way we work as individuals and as a collective whole to develop a business that is more efficient and sustainable by offering solutions that are in line with the aspirations of our customers for each of our brands.”
To this extent, the Customer Intelligence Department is running workshops throughout the company that will benefit each brand. The aim is to build on the five identified trends to come up with innovative proposals and very concrete actions that meet customer expectations and continue to invent future mobility solutions.
There are major challenges and numerous uncertainties, but Renault Group continues its to uphold its ambition: become a ‘tech’ company and diversify its range of mobility, energy, and data services. An ambition supported by strong, unique brand identities that focus on customers and their expectations.
Renault Group is committed to the future of mobility and services, in particular through its new brand Mobilize
Figures come from: GfK-ROPER Consumer Life Barometer 2021 & IPSOS Trend Barometer 2020