Retailing in the Week Ahead, Week 14, 2019

Post-modern economies face four structural challenges:

  1. Declining native-born populations
  2. Lower average annual consumption amongst the ageing population
  3. Increasing urbanisation – particularly among immigrant and economic migrant populations
  4. Weight/obesity crises

Academics, economists, market researchers and brands have been talking about these four challenges for a long time. However, as we roll into the ‘2020s’ these challenges will intensify and, in some countries, we will measure the challenges they represent in decades rather than years. To complicate the story, economies that up until now had been considered ‘emerging or developing’ will reach maturity and will experience the same symptoms of declining growth as their longer-established cousins.

All four of these structural challenges have a direct impact on how households view consumer goods and their shopping needs as it relates to these products. Combine this with a younger generation that rejects stereotypes, prefers experiences over accumulation, works to play rather than plays at work, and you get a challenging landscape for consumer goods. Put simply, finding growth has never been harder in the consumer goods industry.

Kantar, in symphony with WPP and a wide variety of industry sponsors, has launched “IRG” – the Institute for Real Growth - to help brands think about overcoming these challenges using both left and right brain thinking.

There are two ways to experience IRG. The first is to engage with us, Kantar, directly. We can take you through a series of presentations; you can attend some of our events, even watch our experts talk about IRG in videos and webinars. Please stay tuned to this channel and register to hear more about IRG when you get the chance.

The second way to experience IRG is through taking your organisation through a self-assessment. This is where you take the lead and Kantar plays a role guiding you through the journey. Just so you know, we practice what we preach.

Kantar has been giving ourselves IRG self-assessments recently. I was able to experience what it feels like first-hand as colleague after colleague rated our business across question after question on ‘growth mentality’ in the business. I must say that it made me quite emotional. I was not alone. I must also say that I can’t wait to do it again, perhaps a year from now, with a secret hope that by then we score better in some areas and we hold on to our strengths in some other areas.

After giving ourselves the self-assessment, we got some help from the outside to talk about managing change. I particularly liked this segment of the work we did because the facilitator took the time to talk about changes that can be taken to improve oneself and, in that context, help improve the entire organisation.

I took away three things from that session about ‘growth’:

  • Our first ‘picture’ of what success looks like is probably a ‘safe bet’ and not a stretch. We should challenge ourselves to stretch your definition of what’s possible.
  • When we get approached to join a new initiative in our organisations or teams, our first reaction is probably defensive, where we watch what others do first and then react to what others are doing. We should challenge ourselves to be positive and take the first steps rather than wait for others.
  • When we begin doing something new, it will certainly feel uncomfortable, and we will give up after a few weeks and go back to our old ways and old habits. We should force ourselves and those around us to stick with it and make permanent change despite the discomfort.

If you think IRG sounds interesting and you want to learn more – send us a note and we can get you involved at your own pace and in the best setting for what you find comfortable.

You can learn more about the Institute for Real Growth here.

If you did not have a chance yet, please also have a look at some of our big featured items from Week 13:

Good luck in the week ahead.


Ray Gaul – and @KantarConsulting or @RayGaul on Twitter plus LinkedIn.

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