When we look at today’s society one of our biggest challenge is to navigate complexity. Only 20% of brands have a notable positive impact on consumers and they would not care if 70% of today’s brands ceased to exist.
We are constantly bombarded with contradictory messages. One day it is: ‘Small is Beautiful’ – the next ‘Big is Better’. At times we tend to confuse ‘the good life’ with the ‘goods life’. And YES, it is a complicated challenge to strike a happy balance. But one thing is certain; you can’t solve a problem with the same mindset that created it. For far too long we have banked on left-brain thinking only and I believe it is time to balance Left and Right to shape a positive future vision. Making the study of External and Internal factors more complete, I utilise not only 2 Dimensions but 4 Dimensions – I call this Multidimensional Thinking.
This is also the methodology I use to create my Trend Atlas. I look at The Scientific, Social, Emotional and Spiritual dimensions of today’s society and people. This tool enables me to decode the cultural content in society and to identify the key drivers of change. From my Trend Atlas it is clear that our century long ‘love affair’ with economic growth hasn’t delivered more happiness – so we are now looking elsewhere for meaningful consumption. We are asking ourselves: “How can I get more out of life?”
According to the Meaningful Brand Index survey of 50,000 consumers globally, only 20% of brands are perceived to have a notable positive impact on our sense of well-being and quality of life and what is more, people would not care if 70% of today’s brands ceased to exist. In the UK only 5% of brands are seen to make a difference and most people would not care if 91% of brands didn’t exist.
Rethinking Business Models
I believe this clearly indicates that it is time to rethink our business models in order to match people’s real expectations. If we start by exploring some of the Key Society Drivers impacting tomorrow’s consumption (the list above) and link these trends to values, this provides us with a profound insight into different consumer mindsets. Now, while we tend to talk about trends individually, it is important to note that they are all inter-connected.
This diagram – Value Driven Experiences – clearly indicates that all the trends are relevant. People are not ‘clean-cut’ typologies, but rather, tend to switch between typologies depending on mood, needs or situation. The High Achievers and Happy Bohemes’ key motivational value drivers are Mobility and Dialogue. The Cultural Explorers and Karma Hunters’ motivational value drivers are Engagement and Community.
The 4 P Bottom Line
The diagram also highlights the challenges and opportunities for brands. It clearly illustrates that ‘Meaningful Brand Experiences’ – must be measured by a 4 P bottom line: People, Planet, Pleasure and then Profit. Recently the Meaningful Brand Index survey ranked IKEA 1 and Google 2 as brands perceived to contribute most meaning and well-being for individuals, communities and the environment. Now let’s explore the mindsets shaping tomorrow’s brands and society.
Consumer Mindsets Shaping The Future
High Achievers are ambitious individuals with a rational progressive mindset. This caring Global Citizen is informed about the world around them and sees Smart Technology as a life management tool and a mobility enabler. According to The Luxury Institute White Paper 2012, building a ‘Caring Company Culture’ will enhance your own life experience – transforming you from just another business executive into a happy and thriving human with a far greater purpose than the pursuit of money. Ironically, sales and profits will follow.
Happy Bohemes look for The Good Life and engaging narratives. Growth of Cloud Culture means dialogue with family, social networks and brands – enabling meaningful collaborative consumption to get the most inspiring and best deals. Collaborative Consumption is based on ‘reputation, community and shared access’, as opposed to ‘credit, advertising and individual ownership’. According to Rachel Bptsman in an interview with Wired magazine: ‘It is about connecting and sharing’. This socio-economic ‘big idea’ will change how we consume. It means we don’t need to own goods, we just need to own access to goods.
Cultural Explorers are pro-active and informed citizens looking for participation and Social Capital. They expect brands to take an ethical lead and to build a community to facilitate A Better World. Edelman’s Good Purpose Study from 2010 found that 71% of people believe that brands could do more to support good causes by collaborating with them and 63% want brands to make it easier for them to make a positive difference. 87% of consumers worldwide believe that business needs to equate at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business interests.
Karma Hunters want Intelligent Health and Happiness seamlessly incorporated into every facet of their lifestyle. They look for engagement and meaning – value-based brand experiences driven by Total Transparency. Happinomics is big news and we now consider GDW (Gross Domestic Wellbeing) alongside GDP, so brands must become happiness facilitators. The best companies in terms of work environment, innovation, accountability and profits are those with a higher proportion of women on the board.
A Holistic Brand Architecture
There is no doubt in my mind that Meaningful Consumption is all about Multidimensional Thinking. The Trend Atlas enables us to identify the key drivers of change and consumer values influencing and shaping tomorrow’s brand architecture. A measure of a 21st-century brand’s true worth and potential is how it engages with the world. A 4P bottom line is not just a communications strategy, but the new holistic norm – where the outcome is empathy, wellbeing and sustainability.
The Economist’s The Big Rethink (UK)
The future is shaped by our choices and actions – meaning that we are all active change makers