Thursday, July 19, 2012

Viewpoint # 30: The Money Issue - Exploring the Ways We Will Live

“Is the consumer being fundamentally changed by the financial crisis?” This is one of the many social and cultural areas explored in the current issue of Viewpoint.

 How the consumer views themselves and their public and private persona through social media, employment status and cultural conscience will affect buying behavior.

“ The widening gulf between rich and poor and increasing uncertainty about job security are leading to greater general empathy with the plight of the impoverished and unemployed.”

Manufacturers, inventors, innovators and marketers will develop and present products, services and lifestyle choices based on the new “Hourglass” economy where the middle class is shrinking and low economic classes are getting bigger. This means the wealthy will be able to purchase luxury goods and even medical advances to access experiences such as travel to outer space, pills that make you smarter and scientific advances that help retain youth.

“Bargain hunting used to be niche; now it’s going mainstream, with consumers keen to find discounts and even top-end retailers comfortable with offering them.”

Rich or poor, we are all impacted by social media and a multitude of computer and smartphone screens that are everywhere and affect how we shop, think, interact and how we socialize and behave. People will be looking to rekindle personal relationships rather than acquaintance/friendships on social media. Consumers will be looking for ways to shut out the “noise” from being connected to technology 24/7 or the literal noise we hear from the environment both technological and industrial.

“ Brands that reflect this empathetic social mood by using their resources to do good are reaping benefits in the form of increased consumer approval.” As a result many new business start-ups are creating a synergy between their financial success and simultaneously doing good and giving something back to society as they grow rather than the old model of succeeding first and giving back later.

Furthermore, to succeed, companies will need to have a handle on what events and social influences impact the psychology of the consumer. “The ability to establish what consumers genuinely need and want offers companies a major advantage and socionomics’ date-centric methodology could offer a way to achieve this effectively.”

“Competing brands increasingly resemble each other in their products, design and image, at the cost of the originality and distinction that consumers crave.” Brands will have to determine how to distinguish themselves from competitors. A copycat mentality as a means to capture market share will no longer suffice for brands to succeed. Consumers will be captured by those brands that stay in front of the trends and offer innovative products or services and are the first in their market to do so.

VIEWPOINT is a cultural trend magazine with a global perspective.

Prior Issue: # 29 The Celebrity Issue

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