Krishnakumar Natarajan, one of the Co-Founders of Mindtree, a global information technology solutions company, is clear on one thing: It is high time businesses cater to a new breed of entitled, spoiled, narcissistic bunch of consumers: the Gen C.

“A key factor impacting enterprises is the rise of Gen C. For too long, we have been thinking only of millennials as being the new customer segment. Today’s connected world throws up several new requirements which companies need to address,” he said.

Terming them curious, demanding and impatient, Natarajan said Gen C are eager to experiment, “which could be an antithesis of the loyalty factor any company would want to build with its consumers.”

Natarajan was speaking at the #Ready18 event in Singapore, aimed at helping retailers and technology solution providers keep pace with the evolving digital consumer.

Connected business model

With consumers more connected than ever, Natarajan exhorted companies on the urgency to provide a seamless experience to Gen C. “New technologies are having a significant impact on people’s behaviour and their relationship with brands. It is important to know what this means for your business. Given their always-on status and multiple devices, companies should connect 24X7 with their customers. Businesses need to move beyond just being customer-centric towards being a connected businesses,” he said.

Asking companies to win at what they do with digital transformation, he said though engaging with consumers, retaining them and making them advocates of the company’s products and services is old fashioned but still true today, “the need to create value in the connected world would purely be driven by connected products, connected employees and smart operation, all of which would create a great contextual experience for your consumers.”

Natarajan said though differences do exist between a customer-centric world and a connected world, with many marketing insights to be gained by studying them individually, at their core they are surprisingly similar.

“Both have grown up focussed on bettering themselves, which led to a desire for personalisation in their buying. They are willing to pay a premium for experiences and are both active on social media, although on different platforms. They expect companies and brands to anticipate their every need,” he said.

Concurring with this, Aneesh Reddy, Co-Founder and CEO, Capillary Technologies, said the consumer is moving faster than ever with technology being a big accelerator. “Empowered consumers tend to take the easiest path. They are living in an easy universe where they expect brands to understand them intimately and personalise every experience and deliver it to them,” he said.

Lifting the lid on the new consumer, Reddy said brands are being rewarded for delivering intuitive and easy experiences to their consumers. “Brands who promise to keep innovating and evolving can hold on to their consumers. With the average consumer interacting with brands on 6-13 different channels, brands will have to be omni channel.”

And as consumers expect a connected and seamless experience, companies would need to stitch together previously siloed customer journeys with data, and build unified, cross channel strategies.

This writer was in Singapore at the invitation of Capillary Technologies.