A version of this article originally appeared on freemanxp.com
An "e-literate" is considered to be anyone who is adept at using information technology, such as a computer or smartphone. E-literates are an important audience to understand — they transcend traditional demographics and are ‘always on.’ And while the use of the latest technologies is innate to them, they are much more than that.
These consumers are both the maker and creator of their surroundings, and are constantly seeking out meaning in the world around them. Brand experiences appeal to their wants and needs, as these live, face-to-face interactions are open to interpretation and allow the group to make meaning of them in their own, personalised way.
Understanding The E-Literate Consumer
Many e-literates are "born-mobile," but true e-literates are ageless. This group comes together based on their shared values, and it’s these values that influence how they perceive different brands and the experiences these brands create.
E-literates have an appetite for information — and an insatiable need to know everything. It’s not that they have a short attention span, they just want to be able to take things in quickly, so they can master this new information and share it with those around them.
The group isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo, and they don’t like labels or being labelled. They look for the meaning in everything, and feel that labels can stifle their ability to uncover that extra layer of meaning or purpose in the world.
Crafting The Right Experience
As a social bunch, e-literates prefer brands that don’t make an event about them, but the shared experience they are facilitating. For this group, a brand should be there to enhance rather than get in the way of whatever is happening in the live environment.
I always say brands should avoid broadcasting — and this is pertinent — to the group, as these consumers only identify with brands that practice connectcasting (another one of our trends) — that is, companies that are more targeted in their efforts and engage in two-way conversations with consumers. Events that contain more direct, relevant messages can be better curated and personalised in line with the group’s own experiences and understanding of the world.
It’s also important to embody the experience with some kind of relevant artefact — whether it be digital, physical, or ideally both; it should act as a cultural reminder to what the experience was all about. E-literates love to share with others, and the concept of the artefact allows them to fulfil this desire.
Where Will You Find Them?
E-literates love to have fun, and they thrive in social situations. They consume and spend with purpose and intent, and subsequently choose their experiences carefully, so they complement their lifestyle. You’ll often find them at the more intriguing and thought-provoking events that go against the grain or disrupt the status quo.
They would rather head to Burning Man or SXSW in the U.S. than a generic music festival, stop off at BoxPark for an all-out foodie experience in London instead of sitting down at a conventional restaurant, and they wouldn’t think twice about jumping on a plane and travelling further afar to events like the Full Moon Party in Thailand. They are truly global and borderless.
They hang out together but are always looking to meet new and interesting people, including influencers, speakers and leaders in their field, which enable e-literates to widen their social circle and gain greater insight into the world around them.
E-literates are constantly on the look-out for the next big thing before it is a ‘big thing’ — they are eager to challenge conventional ways of thinking and respect brands that do the same. Brand experiences that are crafted in line with these wants and needs will resonate with the group, transforming them into advocates. And it’s this fact makes them central to our FXP TrendLab, a tool we use to track the latest trends defining our industry.
Dan Underwood, Brand Manager Sponsorships and Partnerships at Vodafone UK talks us through how the telecoms brand connects with the e-literate consumer.
“At Vodafone we also recognise that e-literates don’t necessarily fit within the one age bracket, however from a sponsorship perspective, our focus is around a younger e-literate demographic — those who have never known a world without the Internet or smartphones. Vodafone plays in the live event space to connect with and drive brand consideration, particularly among a youth audience.
"The group craves live experiences; however, they don’t like it when brands simply push their name in these environments. E-literates expect brands to give something back — they aren’t satisfied with traditional marketing; they need added value — it’s the only way to win them over.
"They respect brands that enhance rather than get in the way of their experience. What’s unique about Vodafone is we play a very relevant role in the live environment — attendees love to share their event experiences online, and a fast, reliable network is absolutely critical to this.
"E-literates are trendsetters, so the biggest thing for us is anticipating where they are headed next. Brands and their agencies need to know these consumers inside out, and continuously innovate in order to not only attract, but maintain their attention.
"Vodafone is well aware of the growing need for brands to funnel their marketing spend towards brand experience, and the company is eager to continue to play a relevant role in the space. We never want to be just another corporate sponsor, but instead we always strive to add to the experience and engage the audience on their terms.”