Marketing Guru Bonin Bough Embraces Consumer Promiscuity

Bonin Bough has helped America’s largest consumer packaged goods corporations—PepsiCo, Kraft, Mondelez—modernize how they speak to customers. At beauty products company Sundial (recently acquired by Unilever), he’s focused on connecting to a new wave of digitally native consumers.

“I’m nervous for traditional businesses. Many were so arrogant that they didn’t learn how to capture data about consumers. Companies like Brandless and Dollar Shave Club—retailers of this generation—know everything about their customers. Consumers are happy to have their data known to brands, as long as it is responsibly used and creates value. But will that traditional ecosystem actually see the value in change?

“I was talking to a cosmetics executive who said, ‘Our consumers used to be loyal. Now they are promiscuous. How do we get them to be loyal again?’ It’s not going to happen. What you should be doing is thinking about how to create a model for promiscuous consumers.

“[Companies that] are winning are all about discovery. They are Disney World for promiscuous consumers. Why wouldn’t retailers that sell only one brand [also] feature emerging brands? Why aren’t they showcasing brands built by influencers? Retailers are missing the mark about where the customer is.”

This story was adapted from the Fast Company Innovation Festival.


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