Being (Buying) American
Foreword
I sat there, in front of my 32 inches Samsung TV, watching ‘The
Practice’ in awe of the suits, scandals and socie...
“Your whole life is
freedom. So many
people have lost
fortunes, but they
went back and kept
going     until  they
finally m...
Contents


      Four questions and an insight

1. Who considers himself/herself as
              being an American?

  2....
1. Who considers himself/herself as being an
American?

Demographic Divide when it comes to patriotism

• Less % of the yo...
2. What does being an American really
mean?
Behavior more important than background

• Last two years have seen a lot of c...
3. What has changed and how?
         Americans look for social responsibility amongst companies

    •  There is a differ...
4. Who is the new ‘American’?

There has been a shift on what Being American means: from
Background to Current, from Herit...
The ‘new’ American is

              The new American is hopeful and optimistic
              about the future of America....
The ‘new’ American wants

                 The new American wants transparency in brands
                 they buy. The ‘M...
Starting today, we
must pick
ourselves up, dust
ourselves off, and
begin again the
work of remaking
America.
- President O...
Appendix
1960s          1970s             1980s              1990s          2000s      Today
              Disillusioned
 Feeling o...
Gaining the American Superpower Status:
1960’s   •The average family owned a home in the suburbs and bought a new car ever...
Dual-Income Families and rise in patriotism
         •An American family grew to dual income families in majority.
       ...
Gallup Survey, 2007
                                              How proud are you to be an
                             ...
2008 GM iBrand Profile Study
                                                                                              ...
2008,2009 Trendwatching.com Reports

                                                           Greed to Generosity




Re...
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Being And Buying American

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Being And Buying American

  1. 1. Being (Buying) American
  2. 2. Foreword I sat there, in front of my 32 inches Samsung TV, watching ‘The Practice’ in awe of the suits, scandals and society. I sat there, on my Indian couch and culture, dreaming the big American dream. We all did. While the world watched, America, year over year, signified power, freedom, opportunity and success. We all dreamed in red, white and blue. And in dollars. Today, as I glance around, trying to find the ‘proud of being American button’ engraved on people’s chests, I only find flags of disdain and broken promises. They all nod their heads in bewilderment when asked whether they considered themselves true Americans or not. ‘What do you mean ‘true’ Americans?’ They questioned. So, I took up the quest of understanding Americans. I sent out surveys, raised questions in person, eavesdropped on conversations, interviewed bloggers and studied various charts. I asked them all, what had changed and what hadn’t? American citizens or global habitants? Stayed true to tradition or created their own cultures? I asked them, ‘What does it mean to be an American?’ - Mansi Trivedi Sources: Gallup Survey, Pew Study, Primary Quantitative/Qualitative Research, iBrand/TCE Study, Blogs
  3. 3. “Your whole life is freedom. So many people have lost fortunes, but they went back and kept going until they finally made it. You take what you have and go make something” Hariett Ball, school teacher on “Being an American”
  4. 4. Contents Four questions and an insight 1. Who considers himself/herself as being an American? 2. What does being an American really mean? 3. What has changed and how? 4. Who is the new ‘American’? 5. The new American - Insight
  5. 5. 1. Who considers himself/herself as being an American? Demographic Divide when it comes to patriotism • Less % of the younger age groups consider themselves patriotic and higher % of older age groups consider themselves more patriotic. (Gallup Survey) • For the older generations, being American lies in heritage, traditions and ideals. As such, much tighter correlation between being and buying American with older generations because it defines them through their traditions and values. (Gallup Survey, Pew Research) • Americans are jaded by the current situation and their confidence on America being a super power is deteriorating. Although, there is also a growing trend of people supporting their local communities and helping their communities prosper. • Life-stage: Younger Married/Unmarried age groups are not motivated to buy only American • Domestic/Imports: Import vehicle buyers tend to be more open to a multicultural society are not only valuing American ideals but those of other cultures too (GM Ibrands Study) • iBrands (GM Buyer Behavior Study): Friends and Families and Action Heroes are more traditional and prefer American manufactured products whereas Progressive Enthusiasts consider themselves patriotic but their consideration for American manufactured products is lower. Progressive Enthusiasts also think that being an American is a vital part of their identity but they also tend to be more open to various cultures, environmentalism. Their preference towards American manufactured products indexes lower than other ibrands.
  6. 6. 2. What does being an American really mean? Behavior more important than background • Last two years have seen a lot of cultural shifts. The young have embraced it and what it means to be an American has changed for them. The younger generations themselves define what it means to be an American. Purdue University Survey results found that behavior is more important than one’s background in defining who is an American. • Gallup Youth Survey asked youth (aged 13-17) what it meant to be an American? They said that Being American means accepting others, treating everyone equally, being open to new ideas and thoughts, appreciating your freedom and not taking what your ancestors did for granted. • Americans are calling for new solutions: They want to work hard to restore their secure lifestyle. They are looking at the government to provide them more solutions. They are expecting companies to function responsibly and help rebuild America’s image as a responsible nation. AAR research in April, 2008 found that respondents are likely to recycle, drive a hybrid car, and take other actions to reduce their impact on the environment. • Americans are interested in the truly different and yet authentic. Americans believe in products/brands that truly give them the freedom to choose, anything that reflects their beliefs and reinforces their image as being smart citizens. (Some examples include being associated with brands like Prius, Trader Joe’s, Greenworks, Apple)
  7. 7. 3. What has changed and how? Americans look for social responsibility amongst companies • There is a difference between Being American and Buying American. Being American is not translating into buying American for younger generations. Because as opposed to the Boomers, Generation X and Y don’t buy brands based on ideologies but buy brands based on performance. • For the older generations, being American lies in heritage, traditions and ideals. As such, much tighter correlation between being and buying American with older generations because it defines them through their traditions and values. • But with the new President, there is a movement of people as they earn up to the situation and are determined to revive America. 58% of all Americans think the economy will improve under Obama.(HCD Survey, December 2008) • Nearly all (92%) of people surveyed expect businesses to behave as good corporate citizens by putting more emphasis on being socially and environmentally responsible and less emphasis on short-term profits.
  8. 8. 4. Who is the new ‘American’? There has been a shift on what Being American means: from Background to Current, from Heritage to Potential Old ‘American’ New ‘American’ Being American is Being American means defined based on freedom, pride and personal experiences heritage Buy Brands that are Trust Brands that embody responsible, that will play a that heritage role in our bright future, brands that reflect my ideals. IDENTITY ABILITY
  9. 9. The ‘new’ American is The new American is hopeful and optimistic about the future of America. He/She is patient and realizes that they have taken the Optimistic first step towards revival. They are working harder towards a better tomorrow, towards a better America. He/She is not leaving it up to you or me to change the world. The new American is standing Responsible up, taking up personal responsibility and owning up to the challenge of revamping the current situation. He/She is working towards greener country and encouraging corporate responsibility. He/She will fight for what is right because he/she is armed with global weapons - expression Tenacious through online platforms - blogs,twitter,forums etc. He/She abides by the ethical rules and will call you out if you fail to follow. He/She will fight for a good cause.
  10. 10. The ‘new’ American wants The new American wants transparency in brands they buy. The ‘Made in China’ or ‘Made in America’ tag does not influence purchase but a Transparency brand story does. The new American has access to limitless information and concealing something will only lead to rejection. He/She embraces technology. Not all of them understand it but they all appreciate it. Stay ahead of the curve, be the first and create user- Innovation friendly manuals. Be approachable, not intimidating. The new American wants companies to not take them for granted but constantly display their capabilities. The new American wants to rely on companies that admit their wrongs and rectify the wrongs. He/She wants socially responsible brands that Accountability will help them become good global citizens. The new American is ready to forgive the past if the efforts are made to make the future better.
  11. 11. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. - President Obama
  12. 12. Appendix
  13. 13. 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s Today Disillusioned Feeling of Revival of ‘Living God Bless Faith in the Road to with the pride, of the American America American Dream Revival American freedom, of Dream’ Government belonging
  14. 14. Gaining the American Superpower Status: 1960’s •The average family owned a home in the suburbs and bought a new car every few years •Able to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle that was not available to the average citizen before World War II. Focus on individuality and finding inner peace •Increasing divorce rates, female-headed house-holds, focus on individuality and finding inner 1970’s peace over material satisfaction •Economic stagnation and recession •Auto industry found itself largely unable to sell its gas-guzzling large cars, which were its most profitable. Consumers, faced with rapidly increasing car and fuel prices, were demanding smaller, more economical cars that got improved gas mileage. The Me! Generation of status seekers •The 1980s became the Me! generation of status seekers 1980’s •Hostile takeovers, leveraged buyouts, and mega-mergers spawned a new breed of billionaires •Double-digit inflation •Blend of conservative family values alongside a period of increased telecommunications. •Auto industry had lost its first-place standing to Japan. One out of every four cars sold in 1980 were imports. By the second quarter of 1981, the Big Three were showing profits again. In 1985, Americans owned one car for every 1.7 people in the country. The Electronic Age •Changed the way we communicate, spend our money and do business. •An open, diversified society, a functioning democracy, a healthy economy, and the means 1990’s and will to face and overcome its problems •Auto Industry developments of the late 1990s focused on global expansion into new markets. Through most of the 1990s, auto makers sold a little over 15 million cars and light trucks a year in the U.S. market. That changed in the late 1990s: With gasoline prices low and many U.S. consumers feeling flush from the tech-stock boom, auto sales surged.
  15. 15. Dual-Income Families and rise in patriotism •An American family grew to dual income families in majority. •International trade grew and so did concern over energy supplies •Explosion in telecommunications •Concerns with international terrorism and war 2000’s •The debate over global warming. •The U.S. market for cars and light trucks continued to be strong till 2005. But sales fell afterwards. Hurricane Katrina caused gas prices to climb above the $3 mark, and sales of big vehicles plunged. Although light trucks still accounted for over half of the U.S. passenger vehicle market in 2005, sales declined. Conversely, passenger car sales grew. Rise of the Creative-Class and Environmentalists •The American family is smaller than before. People are marrying much later in their lives and Today a lot of couples are adopting the empty nesters lifestyle. •The advent of digital decade, this decade has seen the emergence of the Creative Class, the D-I-Yers and those who are documenting their entire lives online through tools like Wordpress, Liveournal, Facebook, Flickr, Blogger, Twitter and so on. •A new trend of ‘Eco-Iconism’ has also grown. People are making an effort to buy green and lead a eco-friendly lifestyle. •The auto industry is seeing a dramatic change. Rising gas prices has sent a panic amongst truck buyers. The demand has shifted towards small cars and favorable perception has shifted towards the imports. Toyota has overtaken GM as number 1 automaker of the country while domestics continue to struggle.
  16. 16. Gallup Survey, 2007 How proud are you to be an American? - The 9/11 events reinstated the feeling of patriotism amongst people but as the country started suffering economic problems and the war issue, the number of people proud of being an American declined. - The survey shows that the higher educated, younger, lower income group of Americans from urban areas tend to be less patriotic.
  17. 17. 2008 GM iBrand Profile Study On Buying American • Lifestage: Younger Married/Unmarried age groups are not motivated to buy only American – Never Married Individuals, Dual Income No Kids, Young Educated Female, Young Affluent Males, Influentials, Educated Wealthy lifestage groups are more open to a multi-cultural America and are not motivated to buy American as compared with other lifestages. They think that America is the only superpower nation in the world but don’t necessarily prefer American manufactured products. – Empty Nesters, Mature Couples, Mature Families, Widow/ers are more traditional in their attitudes. They think that it is necessary to receive a religious upbringing, being an American is a part of their personal identity and they value American ideals. • Domestic/Imports: Import vehicle buyers tend to be more open to a multicultural society are not only valuing American ideals but those of other cultures too – Domestic owners tend to be more religious, they feel that Being American is a vital part of their identity, there’s no better place to live than in America, no country even comes close, they also prefer to buy American manufactured products and value American ideals. They think that environmentalists are extremists and not reasonable people. – Import owners are more open to cultural influences from other countries and would enjoy living abroad. Given a choice, less than half of them will buy American. It is about being a sponge. Taking in the best that America has to offer but blending it with other Non-American products/cultures have to offer. • iBrands: Friends and Families and Action Heroes are more traditional and prefer American manufactured products whereas Progressive Enthusiasts consider themselves patriotic but their consideration for American manufactured products is lower – Friends and Families and Action Heroes are the highest indexed ibrands that prefer American manufactured products. They tend to be more traditional and think that being an American is a vital part of their personalities. Friends and Families are more pessimistic towards America’s future as compared with Action Heroes and Progressive Enthusiasts. – Progressive Enthusiasts also think that being an American is a vital part of their identity but they also tend to be more open to various cultures, environmentalism. Their preference towards American manufactured products indexes lower than other ibrands.
  18. 18. 2008,2009 Trendwatching.com Reports Greed to Generosity Recent ‘Trendwatching’ report highlights the consumer shift in proudly accepting brands that submitted to being socially responsible.
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