New Report: Creating demand is key in the new slower growth era

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., May 26, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Businesses and brands can no longer rely on expanding markets or following trends to grow revenues, which has previously been the case, according to Defying Gravity: Sources of Growth in a Slower Growth Global Economy, a new report by The Futures Company.

The study, which explains in detail the forces in play driving the new global economic reality of sustained slow growth, stresses the need for business leaders, who are accustomed to running companies in high growth markets with high spending consumers, to radically rethink their strategies.

"Since 2011, the global economy has sputtered, with a growth rate below 2.5%," said J. Walker Smith, Executive Chairman of The Futures Company and co-author of the report. "Economists debate whether this is structural or cyclical, and much of their focus is on weak productivity growth. But falling population growth worldwide, particularly among the working age population of 25 to 64-year-olds, locks in slower growth. The bottom line is that slower growth is the new global economic reality for which business leaders must prepare."

For brands, slower growth means a disruption of demand, according to the report. There will still be more consumers with more money, just not as many with as much as before. This puts a cap on what brands can expect from market growth alone. Just staying even with the market will mean weaker brand growth.

"To continue to grow strongly, brands will have to exceed the trend line," said Smith. "Brands must create demand, not simply count on it growing strongly. This is the imperative of success – create demand, not follow it. Managing successfully in a marketplace of slower growth means creating market-space opportunities that are below the scanning horizon of competitors. These are opportunities to create demand. For this, companies and brands need to broaden their conceptual horizons."

Having explained the reasons behind the prevailing economic environment of slow growth and the challenges it presents, the report then identifies six steps that brands and businesses can take to drive growth under these stifling conditions, such as identifying emerging profit pools and reinventing the value chain.

The report is available to download free as a pdf at:

About J. Walker Smith and The Futures Company

J. Walker Smith is Executive Chairman of The Futures Company, the leading global futures consultancy, part of the Kantar Group of WPP. He has been described by Fortune as "one of America's leading analysts on consumer trends," and he is the co-author of four highly regarded books, a columnist, a blogger, an avid daily tweeter, and a former public radio commentator.

Smith is a 2012 inductee into the N.C. Advertising Hall of Fame, and in 2014, he won the WPP Atticus Award for Strategy and in 2013 for Consumer Insights. He also holds a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

CONTACT: Jenni Baker T: 0208 9965061 E: jenni@klpr.bizSource: Yankelovich (The Futures Company, Henley Centre)