Cutting edge features attract the young in nature

A fool and his float are soon split. No, I’m not referring to the neighbourhood M-PESA agent who never has any float, but instead I’m illustrating an attitude that defines the youngest breed in the segmentation series, the Y&R 4Cs. They are called The Explorer and they will go to all lengths to discover new frontiers, seek new experiences and tear away from the proverbial box.

The Prophets in the Good Book will tell you that there is a little Explorer in each one of us and that we should leave our childish ways gracefully; yet some of us go kicking and screaming. Yes, if members of The Explorer market segment are not young, they are young at heart and therefore indulge in childish things gleefully.

Out of the 7 segments, Explorer, Aspirer, The Mainstream, Succeeder, Reformer, Struggling Poor and Resigned Poor, no one strictly embodies one trait but rather a set, usually made up of 2 of the types. You may be a Succeeder with an Aspirer slant, Struggling Poor with an Aspirer’s perspective, a Mainstreamer with an Explorer mentality, or a series of other varying combinations.

What marketers are concerned about are the primary characteristics of the group that they intend to activate because it guides the overall method and strategy. As Explorers are always on the look out for emerging trends, if not actually creating them, it is therefore critical to engender a sense of newness and inventiveness.

Unilever appealed to The Explorer in mothers when they continuously reinvented their leading washing detergent — New Omo, Brand New Omo, Brand New Omo with Powerfoam, on and on they went. However it seems that in the developed world mothers within Generation X had an undercurrent of the Explorer running within their Mainstreamer veins. This is because they emerged out of the Baby Boomer Generation that hailed purified Mainstreamer values to overcome the negative effects of WWII (World War 2) that prevailed at the time.

In Africa the mothers were of a different calibre. They clearly espoused the gentrified Mainstreamer mentality and turned away from the clever, edgy advertising welcoming the down to earth ‘we are in this together’ type of commercials that the P&G flagship washing powder brand, Ariel, was splashing on the airwaves. Even though Ariel came late to the party, the results were astonishing.

It pays to intimately know who you are addressing because Explorers reject the staid and boring and instead they embrace the latest and fan-dangled styles. When Rupert Murdoch spoke about the Digital Natives who will never know a world without ubiquitous broadband internet access, he meant this group that is helplessly attached to Snap, Gram and WhatsApp.

They don’t just want to consume news, they want to be an integral part of its creation; they want you to take notice and hear their unique and profound voice. To capture their devotion, brands must not only offer cutting edge tech and appeal, but also supply the means of self expression where their association with the product is deemed to shift it into a higher gear.

Indeed, traditional products and services have had a hard time relating to Explorers and inadvertently opened up gaps where new types of decentralised, informal and loosely structured brands and companies have made monumental headway.


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