Keynote speaker Erica Orange: Adapt to changing life trajectories

MIAMI, Fla. — The pace and nature of change is happening so quickly and so broadly that it will require thinking in entirely new ways about the physical, digital, and virtual worlds. This was one of the challenges futurist and keynote speaker Erica Orange It was placed before attendees of Furniture Today’s recent Leadership Conference.

Orange serves as vice president and chief operating officer. Future HunterHe used his expertise to identify economic, demographic, technological and sociological shifts at major companies such as Coca-Cola, Amazon, Meta and Clorox. His views have appeared in Forbes, Time, Bloomberg and The Economist, among others.

Speaking before the conference’s furniture industry audience, he challenged many of the assumptions on which both retailers and manufacturers base their marketing efforts. Most importantly, Orange pointed out that traditional life cycles and their associated behaviors have undergone a major transformation.

For example, the traditional linear view of people’s life trajectories (growing up, getting an education, getting a job, getting a home, raising children, etc.) is much less linear today. The emergence of multigenerational households, whether through children moving in with their parents or parents moving in with their children, is fundamentally changing traditional living conditions, home designs, and usage patterns.

As a result, traditional single-solution approaches to marketing will become less effective and the need for what Orange calls “dynamically customizable” strategies will become more prevalent.

He also stated that consumers’ relationship with technology, especially Generation Z consumers, requires a more innovative approach to interaction. Orange coined the term “Cybrids” to describe Generation Z, reflecting their “symbiotic relationship with technology.”

Their use of technology in all aspects of daily life is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and virtual worlds and influencing the way this generation interacts with each other and the world around them.

“We have no idea how this will play out,” Orange said. “We must rethink our strategies to engage this generation.”

Unlike the generations before them, Generation Z is more cautious about social media; 47% say they do not trust social media platforms. However, 85% are brand advocates, stating that trusting a brand is critical to their purchasing decisions.

This generation, which highly values ​​trust and is decisive in decision-making, is looking to non-traditional places for information. The role of social media “influencers” is much more influential for Gen Z consumers than their predecessors, with a much higher percentage viewing content creation as a desirable entrepreneurial path to success.

Orange estimated the market size of its emerging “Creator Economy” at $105 billion; This figure is expected to grow in the coming years.

For those who want to keep up with the rapid pace of change and the generations that will shape it, Orange advised participants to hire a Generation Z mentor and to stay current and curious as the pace of change continues to accelerate.

Also “what can you forget?” he gave counterintuitive advice. He noted that clinging tightly to past practices and belief patterns can be an obstacle to keeping up with a world characterized by increasingly rapid change.

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