How to align brand values to today’s consumer expectations was at the center of topics covered at the recent 2022 CEO Summit hosted in New York City by the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Retail Leaders Circle. The conference’s theme, “Values + Purpose: Leading the Neo-Renaissance,” offered a fascinating look into how some of the nation’s top brand and retail leaders - such as Pfizer’s Sally Sussman and Revlon’s Debra Perelman among others - are innovating today in order to remain relevant tomorrow.
Here are my top takeaways:
Gen Z’s influence continues to impact everyone ; Sustainability is sticky
Throughout the CEO Conference, every speaker touched upon issues that are being driven by Gen Z, from community building to saving the planet. First Insight’s recent survey in partnership with Wharton reveals that Gen Z is using its collective voice to influence all generations, and that is especially true when it comes to sustainability. Retailers, brands, and manufacturers need to pay close attention because by 2031, Gen Z’s income will surpass that of millennials. Gen Z values sustainability over brand name, will pay more for sustainable products, and is convincing their Gen X parents to do the same. As retailer and brand CEOs grapple with making sure that their brand continues to resonate with younger consumers, they need to actively listen to these consumers to understand how to improve their efforts on sustainability. Leveraging the data collected from these conversations is one way that companies can evolve to achieve more purpose-driven initiatives, remain inclusive, and meet both employee and consumer expectations.
Safety and Health More Important Than Ever
The pandemic brought to light so many ways we’d been doing business that simply won’t work in the future in the same way—from toxic work environments to overcrowded offices. However, the biggest a-ha moment for many was that employers need to demonstrate their commitment to health and safety to their employees and customers.