Transformation of Aspiration
Leo Burnett Chicago recently released its first annual study of people and behavior, highlighting six key consumer trends it says will have a lasting effect on American brands and marketers in 2012 and beyond.
The study, “HumanKind 2012: The Transformation of Aspiration,” says brands and marketers should embrace the following in order to successfully engage with today’s consumers:
Sense of fairness declines, happiness inequality rises. Americans as a population have traditionally been optimistic and happy. Since the economic downturn, that’s all changed. Feelings of inequality and unfairness are rampant and continue to dwindle.
The average American family is anything but. Finish school, get a job, get married, have a family... that plan still exists, but only for some. Forty percent of kids are born to an unmarried mother; more couples have children out of wedlock. People define their own family situation and shape their lives according to their own needs, not their peer group.
Men evolve as masculinity declines. The universal archetype of masculinity is over. The old rules that define a man’s role in the home and office do not apply in today’s world. Some 77 percent of all men are comfortable with their wives earning more than them, and 72 percent are okay with staying home to take care of the children.
Healthy is in the eye of the beholder. Despite the rising obesity crisis, food remains an affordable luxury -- a way to treat oneself when being forced to cut back in other ways. Forty-seven percent of Americans say they would like restaurants to offer healthier fare, but only 23 percent actually order those items.
Collective bargaining is a weapon of survival. People don’t expect or want to pay full price ever again and collectively demand better deals and offerings.
Abandon the novel, embrace the practical. There will be 20 million new smartphone users in 2012. These users want to leverage social platforms and mobile in their shopping and buying repertoire, but they need mobile and social to add value, not noise.
The face of the American consumer has forever changed, says Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, chief strategy officer of Leo Burnett. As a result, “successful brands need to adjust to this reality and find relevant ways to connect with new audiences and influencers -- or risk losing loyal customers at an alarming rate.”