HumanKind 2012: The Transformation of Aspiration

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Once upon a time, there was a Big Plan. This Big Plan told us that good things would happen if we followed its instructions. All we had to do grow up, go to school, get married, have kids, and climb the corporate ladder. Sadly, the Big Plan died. It was mourned by educated men standing in the unemployment line. Oh well. It was a good run.

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HumanKind 2012: The Transformation of Aspiration

  1. 1. HumanKind 2012januaryTheTransformationof Aspiration
  2. 2. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration A Big Life Of Small Plans Once upon a time, there was a Big Plan. This Big Plan told us that good things would happen if we followed its instructions. All we had to do grow up, go to school, get married, have kids, and climb the corporate ladder. Sadly, the Big Plan died. It was mourned by educated men standing in the unemployment line. Oh well. It was a good run. The end of the Big Plan means that we can’t plan our lives like we used to. There’s no more taking the pain in the short term so we can do fancy things later, like shopping at Whole Foods while wearing white pants. There’s no working hard now to reap rewards in the scheduled future—the bar bands don’t want to play “everybody’s working for the weekend” anymore. Because life isn’t too unpredictable anymore. So we transformed our lives. Our transformations are a reaction—an adaptation—to our environment. And they sound like a bad movie trailer: Imagine a world in which the rich and the poor are suspicious of each other. Where no one is married and no one has a family as we know it. A world where women go to work and men stay home to raise children. Such is America in 2012. We make our own Big Plan to fit our own needs, and damn what anyone else thinks. We enrich our lives from custom-made plans because we know that the good times are not something to look foward to. We recognize opportunities as they pop up and pounce. Now, absent the Big Plan, we don’t want like we used to want. It’s the transformation of aspiration. With our new expectations bolted to the horizon, we make a big life of small plans. 01
  3. 3. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012 Why probably best to file that question under “where to begin.” But the real surprise isn’t that we’re sad but the fact that we were happy a few short years ago. Traditionally, Americans So have been optimistic people—even our poor. Not any more. Not since the recession. Sad, Not since income inequality spawned the “Occupy” movement. No matter how Occupy’s founding intentions buckle under the professional protesters who hijacked its cause, the fall-out is a huge catch phrase. “We are the 99 percent” America? is raking its fingernails across the chalkboard of the mind, and it’s not going to die for a while. That’s why our poor don’t just suspect the system isn’t fair: They’ve confirmed it. They know they are powerless to change the system. All they can do is find out who will treat them as well as anyone else. The people and companies that make everyone feel at home will get somewhere. 02 03
  4. 4. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012 We Live With Who We Love. We make a family in our own image: Forty percent of all kids today are born to an unwed mother. And it’s no big deal. But make no mistake, the idea of the 2.2 kids and the white picket fence isn’t extinct. It’s not even on the endangered species list. What’s changed is that traditional vision of the family no longer serves as a blueprint for us. It’s not an ideal. There is no ideal. 60% It’s open season on defining what our family should look like. of married And yet most of the media has been slow to catch up to the couples reality. We’re force-fed a steady diet of traditional family imageslive together when we could be bi-racial, single parents, gay, unmarried, or first some combination. The companies that hold up a mirror to real family life can find affinity from us. Even if we’re the single gay parent of an adopted kid of a different race. 04 05
  5. 5. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012 40% of kids today are born to unmarried moms 06 07
  6. 6. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012Men Aren’tWhatThey Used Men account for 2/3 of recessionary job lossesT Be. oof all different kinds. while a lot ofamerica’s men worship at the templeof steve mcqueen and peyton manning,lots of guys are too busy chasingtoddlers with a wet wipe and chiselingmacaroni off the couch.Sure, there are plenty of our men butchering thecorporate pig to carry home the bacon parts.But we’re increasingly surrendering that role tothe women in our lives. Women outnumber us inmany professional college degree programs.They are catching up in earning potential. And we’refine with that. If our women are better hunters,let ’em hunt. Most of us are OK spending our daysat play dates and storytimes. The companies thatimplore us to “man up” don’t understand thatmasculinity is what we say it is. The companies arebetter off showing that men are ever-changing beingswith a variety of identities. We’re sensitive like that. 08 09
  7. 7. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012 78% of men don’t care about traditional gender roles 10 11
  8. 8. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012Healthy is what we say it isAmericans eat big, bad, and often. lunch. It’s an affordable luxury—That’s not news. What’s news something that gives us fiveis that almost half of us want minutes of happiness amid thehealthy choices on every menu— new uncertainty and unhappinessbut only 23 percent actually the that surrounds us. We can’t affordhealthy stuff. the big luxuries any more. So we’llAccording to our studies of settle for smaller ones—whetherAmerican culture, people are it’s food or something else.increasingly telling us that The people who bring us pocketcheeseburgers taste better than size luxuries are going to get somesalad. But choosing to eat poorly business from us. Which is whyis a bigger issue, because a there’s a “value menu” plastered tocheeseburger is much more than every drive through in the nation. 12 13
  9. 9. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012 47% want healthy food on menus but only 23% actually order the healthy stuff 14 15
  10. 10. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012 16 17
  11. 11. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012 Every Consumer Is A Shark. We don’t pay retail anymore. DIGITAL COUPONS We used to know a guy who knows a guy who knows OUTPACED a guy. But we don’t need NEWSPAPER COUPONS to endure the polyester shirts 6:1 and and fresh-off-the-truck deals anymore. We have the daily deal in our inbox. There’s a few every day. So we’ll pass on the laser hair removal and wait for the next one. We’re smarter now. We know to be patient and wait for what we want. We know how to sniff out a deal with flash buying, social shopping, and online shopping clubs. So we know how much our business matters. No longer does the cable company doesn’t threaten to cut us off: We threaten to cut them off. The companies that integrate special incentives and deals and loyalty programs to heavy users are going to thrive. And if they don’t, we’ll show no mercy: by ignoring them. 18 19
  12. 12. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012 58% follow brands for deals 20 21
  13. 13. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012 Everyone Twenty million more That giant number adds up to the populations of New York and Los Angeles combined. And 20 million new smartphones means more of us Knows of us are checking the scores while sitting at the table — or worse. But it also going to be means video chatting in the back of a cab, Facebook updates while the smartphone plane is on the runway, watching movies in class, and working on our own There’s An users terms. Lots of us have already got a fancy phone and demand a lot from in 2012. it. So the people who don’t yet have a smartphone expect a lot. Anything App For That. that comes to our phone had better be useful. We want to deal with companies that bring practical stuff to our phones. If something hits our phone, and it doesn’t make life easier or fun, it’s garbage. 22 23
  14. 14. HumanKind 2012 The Transformation of Aspiration january 2012 HumanKind 2012 HumanKind 2012 contact: stephen.hahn-griffiths@leoburnett.com tel 312.220.5959 24 25

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