AGENCIES & THE RECESSION: HOW TO TURN CHAOS INTO OPPORTUNITY? MICHAEL KAPFER-GIULIANI, COO LOWE GGK VIENNA. CRISIS 危 機 DANGER OPPORTUNITY. Crystal Ball Not Required. 1. There is now considerable evidence to confirm that spending through a recession is smart.
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In a world of limitless choice ‘less is more’ has emerged as the new mantra of leading edge consumers.
Now that the mainstream has finally woken up to the environmental impact of excessive consumerism there is a new spirit emerging which calls for greater restraint and reevaluation of what we actually need, value, own and consume.
“I think consumer habits are changing all around. I can imagine that excess will soon be totally politically incorrect - embarrassing, not glamorous.”Writer, New York, May 2008.
The existence of so many unnecessary consumer goods trigger questions about what we actually need and want.
The term traditionally used to describe negative corporate growth, has been re-appropriated to express a positive lifestyle choice centered around the desire to simplify and reprioritise.
From the rise of work/life balance and ‘quality of life’
To the rise of the ‘downwardly mobile’ generation
“After being disheartened by the lack of morals held by corporations, and the tedious hours our parents have worked with no time for themselves, more people in their 20s and 30s are deciding that working more than 40 hours a week is not what they want.” Life Coach, Sydney 2008
“The rise of the downwardly mobile generation is something happening in Japan, whereby young people are less obsessed with the ‘hot job’ preferring to live a happier, more fulfilling life on less money.” Contemporary writer, Tokyo 2007
No longer seen as ‘down-market’ or associated with being poor, simple, good quality, no frills products and services are emerging as the badge brands of the ‘savvy’ consumer.
Now that the concept of ‘trading down’ has been embraced by the mainstream, consumers are learning to be even more canny with their purchases. Avoiding the ‘rip-off’.
It’s all about getting quality at the best price, not quantity for next to nothing.
Implications for Brands - No More Bullshit
The modern, intelligent consumer is increasingly aware of the brand marketing process - and beginning to question its value and motives.
In an era where basic products are transformed into experiences or emotions, there are opportunities for those who have the courage to provide simple, good quality and efficient products that people want.
In an increasingly hard edged, superficial and individually focused world consumers are seeking a deeper, softer, more meaningful attitude and approach to life.
Analysis of global leading edge culture over the last year has identified a number of separate trends. Together they reveal a significant cultural shift, with implications for how consumers behave and what they want in the future. This trend is further accelerated by the economic crisis.
Greed is Not Good - At a time when statistics indicate that the mainstream now has a greater reliance on the individual vs. the group, leading edge consumers (particularly in the West) are challenging the impact of individually focused culture.
“Money Can’t Buy You Love is an old song, but it is a new tune for consumer society, ‘retail therapy’ offers only a brief if addictive high.” http://www.henleycentre.com
Even the neo-conservatism movement is declining:
“Neo-conservatism ‘is now in a shambles’ and its failure has demonstrated ‘the danger of good intentions carried to extremes’.” Francis Fukuyama, quoted in The Scotsman, February 2006
What is emerging globally can be seen as a new form of ‘empowered consumerism’. One that offers alternatives to the mainstream capitalist economies and appeasing ethical concerns.
The 00’s have become more about what we do than what we own.
No more ‘profit at any cost’
Rise of brand philanthropy
Bartering and swapping
“Zopa was borne out of the feeling that society was changing, craving independence from corporations and rejecting the "me me me" ethos spawned in the Eighties.” Vogue, July 2007
After ‘urban’ living dominating mainstream aspirations, recent evidence indicates that reconnecting with nature and the countryside is emerging as the choice for today’s leading edge consumers.
“I recently bought a piece of land which I share with a couple of friends. It is my little getaway, when life in the city becomes too busy. It is the place where we chill out, where I get new strength.” Writer Hamburg, June 2008
Summerhouses - Copenhagen