Who are the real tastemakers of the future?

imagesSomeone sent me the article in Fast Company with the title “female shoppers no longer trust ads or celebrity endorsements”.  The data is out there that women control 85% of the purchases made online and that includes clothing, tickets, computers, food and more.  Kind of makes you wonder why anyone would invest in an ecommerce start-up that doesn’t have a woman at the helm.  Women control the economy of the internet.

What we are learning and again not surprising is that the millennials are not swayed by advertising or celebrity endorsements.  They follow social media and their decisions are based on recommendations from friends or people that they follow.  Social responsible products are also high up there on the list.  We will see more companies give a piece of their revenues to social good.  We will also see companies create opportunities within their walls for their employees to give back such as a day building homes for under-served communities or a project for a non-profit etc.

This generation group up with ad placement in everything.  They also grew up in the heyday of celebrities that were hailed from chefs to musicians to actors as a tastemaker to trust when it came to purchases.  I am happy to see that it is waning.

When our kids were young, early teens and tweens, we’d go to a movie many Friday and Saturday nights as a family and out to dinner.  I remember walking out of one film almost a decade ago and Jessica said to me “did you see all those product placements in the film?  Lots of coke.”  She then asked me “how much do you think they all paid for that?”.  I was floored that she was so acutely aware of the products being pushed at her at that age.

That placement, those fake tastemakers, start to make brands feel unauthentic.  The long tail of that is a generation of new products are being made and old products are losing market share as each day passes.  As an investor, it certainly makes you think even more about the future.