The “New” Consumer

In the September 2010 issue of Inc. magazine, there was an article called “Decoding the New Consumer”.  It is an interview with John Gerzema, who is the Chief Insights Officer for Young & Rubicam.  Here’s a few comments from the article which are elaborated on in his new book – Spend Shift: How the Post-Crisis Values Revolution is Changing the Way We Buy, Sell, and Live:

  • Large numbers of people say money is no longer as important to them.
  • 76% say that the number of possessions they own doesn’t affect how happy they are
  • We are moving from mindless to mindful consumption
  • 71% of people say they make it a point to buy from companies who have values similar to their own
  • More and more consumers are moving from consumption to production (raising chickens, home canning, bartering)
  • 64% of people want to do more things and make more things themselves
  • Kindness and generosity are qualities customers increasingly demand from business
  • Many Americans no longer consider TVs, dishwashers, and air conditioners to be necessities
  • Irony isn’t dead…cynicism is dead.
  • Microsoft beats out Apple in reputation, leadership, and being the “best brand”…much of that has to do with the philantrophy of Bill Gates

I think this poses lots of interesting questions for healthcare companies.  What is your brand?  How is it perceived?  What are your values?  How do people experience those?  How do they add value to your company?  How does your call center display these qualities?  How do your communications?  How do you monitor the shifting of these values and expectations over time?

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