The Pluralist Generation -Reimagining the AmericanDream.Marketplace Insights is a series of explorations intoconsumer beli...
Who are the Plurals?According to Magid Generational Strategies™, the Pluralist Generation, born between the turn of thecen...
What we Explored.Over the years, most of us have come to understand the idea of the American Dream. But howoften do we ask...
The Evolution of the American Dream.1930’s                                                         1950’s                 ...
The American    Plurals Have a Realistic Vision of the Future.Dream Exists,   From the materialism of the 1980s to the dot...
Plurals Realize That Money Can’t                                              than the generation before them. Few anticip...
For Plurals, Their Freedoms as Americans                                        For previous generations “the land of the ...
Building a Solid Foundation Comes                                         This Generation is Prepared to WorkBefore Settli...
Pinterest Boards: Respondents’ Visualization of The American Dream.                                                       ...
Conclusion.America has always held the promise of The Dream, even before the term was coined, and itcontinues to endure ge...
AppendixProject SpecificsiModerate conducted 50 conversations with 13-15 year olds at an average duration of 30 minutes.Th...
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The Pluralist Generation - Reimagining the American Dream

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In this research we talked to young teenagers, a notoriously hard to reach audience, about an old topic – The American Dream. We were able to connect with them through our online text-based tool and the incorporation of Pinterest. In using a medium they were comfortable with, the teens opened up about what the American Dream meant to them personally as well as it’s relevancy in today’s world

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The Pluralist Generation - Reimagining the American Dream

  1. 1. The Pluralist Generation -Reimagining the AmericanDream.Marketplace Insights is a series of explorations intoconsumer beliefs, thoughts and perceptions about products,services and trends. At iModerate, our online one - on - oneconversations are a highly effective method for unveilingthe most candid, insightful consumer responses–ones thatare truly meaningful to businesses. We share these findingswith the hope that you too will discover something of valuefrom them.
  2. 2. Who are the Plurals?According to Magid Generational Strategies™, the Pluralist Generation, born between the turn of thecentury (1997) and today, is the first generation of the 21st century. Some have said that the “Plurals,”as this generation will be known, are the least likely in recent memory to believe in the American Dream.How Did we Connect with Them?Plurals talk through text. So what better way to engage them and probe deeply into a blue-skysubject than a text-based, one-on-one, online conversation? In this anonymous environment, the 50Plurals we spoke with felt free to open up. We also wanted to creatively capture their mentalpictures around this subject, and again used a mediumsuited for their generation—Pinterest Boards.Along with the conversations, a handfulof the Plurals found images fromaround the internet thatrepresented their versionof the American Dream,and explained why theywere significant. What cameout of this was an excitingglimpse into the creative mindof the Pluralist Generation. 2
  3. 3. What we Explored.Over the years, most of us have come to understand the idea of the American Dream. But howoften do we ask, “Is my definition still relevant?” We wondered how the Plurals, the newestgeneration of Americans, think about it. Do they believe in the Dream? Does it matter to them?And what exactly do they think it is?This generation, the Plurals, will be our country’s next thinkers, leaders and innovators. Knowinghow they see themselves, America, and the world is important in understanding where they areheaded. This generation is also the first to face less opportunity than the generation before it.So we talked to them, in-depth, to understand how this shapes the way they view being an American, the“Dream” it represents, the responsibility it carries, and how they envision their futures.What we Discovered.Our learnings are both simple and profound. These young people are developing their worldviewas the economy swings from soaring heights to deep recession to fledgling recovery. They havewitnessed a culture that celebrated excess and that has now come to embrace austerity. Andas a result, the Plurals believe that they must follow the path that will make them personallyhappy. This is what freedom means to them—the freedom to pursue their individual AmericanDream, not one that society defines for them. While they want to be financially stable, they donot speak of acquiring great wealth. Their definition of success and their guiding principle is towork hard so they can build a life of comfort and, more importantly, contentment. 3
  4. 4. The Evolution of the American Dream.1930’s 1950’s 1970’sAccording to historian James Truslow The carefree suburban lifestyle was The Dream was still about peace andAdams, the American Dream was the the dream for the 50’s. White picket liberties for all, but it was also about“dream of a land in which life should be fence, apple pie, defined gender roles, exploration. Americans were questioningbetter and richer and fuller for every man, and raising good, wholesome children societal norms, inventing, and testingwith opportunity to for each according to defined the decade. boundaries.his ability or achievement.” 1940’s 1960’s 1980’s and 1990’s The American Dream in this decade Peace and equality were the two things For much of the 80’s and 90’s the dream was framed by WWII. It was all about on most Americans’ minds. The Dream was about personal advancement, wealth, and the hope for peace and having the was less individual oriented, and more power. Fame and fortune was the typical family – husband, wife, 2 kids, and about our freedoms and harmony on a hope as the mansion replaced the comfy a dog. larger scale. home on wish lists everywhere. 4
  5. 5. The American Plurals Have a Realistic Vision of the Future.Dream Exists, From the materialism of the 1980s to the dot-com and housing bubbles of the early 2000s, much of the American Dream has focused on “making it big” andRedefined. amassing wealth. In the Plurals, there is a marked change in tone: for them, the American Dream is to achieve a life of comfort, but not excess. While some still aspire to have a “big house, fancy cars, and lots of cash” or “an in-ground pool,” the far more common vision of a future life is to live happily within their means while working at a job they love. They are realistic about their future, but they haven’t turned their backs on The Dream. They’ve simply re- defined it to mean a life not of riches but of contentment. I’ll have a good car, and a house that doesn’t have to be too big, and hopefully I’ll be married and have a family. Suburban . Female 8th Grade . Age 13 5
  6. 6. Plurals Realize That Money Can’t than the generation before them. Few anticipate matching or exceeding the successes of their parents, a fundamental tenet of the AmericanBuy Them Happiness. Dream. This paradigm shift is at the root of Plurals’ perspective: whileThe desire for wealth is a simple premise, easy to comprehend: if some previous generations came to describe the American Dream as themoney makes us content, then shouldn’t it follow that a lot of money will opportunity to acquire wealth, Plurals describe it as the opportunitymake us ecstatic? As a generation, Plurals say, maybe not. The concept to be happy.that money can’t buy happiness is hardly new, but this generation seemsto be embracing it more than ever before. They point to adults they know To me, success today meanswho are miserable in their high-paying jobs. And they’ve seen families suf- being happy in your life, happyfer the downside of living beyond their means, such as being evicted from family, having a job, just meetinga home too big for their budget. your goals. Suburban . Female 9th Grade . Age 14 If I am happy doing the job that I have, I would consider myself Their definitions of success stem from the desire for personal fulfillment. successful no matter what type At ages as young as 13, they recognize the importance of individuality and of job it is. embrace the complex concept that each person needs to find what makes him or her happy, realizing it will not be the same thing for everyone. Suburban . Male 8th Grade . Age 13 I think the American DreamHow They Live is More Important Than means we can be as different as we want to be.What They Own. Suburban . FemaleBorn and raised during an economy of enduring uncertainty, the Plurals 9th Grade . Age 14are the first American generation likely faced with less opportunity 6
  7. 7. For Plurals, Their Freedoms as Americans For previous generations “the land of the free, home of the brave,” has meant that any citizen, regardless of social standing, can reach for the stars. PluralsGive Them Personal Opportunity. recognize the way the country has changed in the past (and the way it contin-The freedoms that our founding fathers sought – freedom of speech, free- ues to change) to allow for more inclusion and an abundance of opportunities.dom of religion, remain the essential part of the American experience forPlurals. But these young people describe their freedoms as real and per- I think [the Dream] means being able to think aboutsonal, not just as esoteric concepts. Rather than speaking in broad terms, an idea and being able to do it with the help of others.their understanding is focused. These freedoms are an essential part of theirpersonal vision for the future: a life that brings them happiness by meeting Urban . Maletheir uniquely personal needs, goals, and desires. Freedom means that they 9th Grade . Age 14can do what satisfies them as an individual, pursuing the life that makesthem happy. And that promise fills them with hope. This resonates, particularly with Plurals who have a personal or familial con- nection to a lack of opportunities. For some Pluralist children of recent immi- grants, America holds much greater promise than the more restrictive coun- Live the way you want, tries their parents came from. Interestingly, it is from these voices that we do what you want, think how hear remnants of the old American Dream: to have the material wealth their you want. families have never experienced. Suburban . Female 7th Grade . Age 13 I have a friend whose family moved from Mexico to my hometown and theyPlurals Feel Strongly About America’s came because her parents wanted a better education for her […] I think that’s what theOpportunities and Inclusivity. American dream is - a better way of living. Suburban . FemaleThese young people believe strongly in the abundance of opportunities 9th Grade . Age 14in America; this idea has been maintained from previous generations. 7
  8. 8. Building a Solid Foundation Comes This Generation is Prepared to WorkBefore Settling Down. Hard to Reap Rewards.Plurals’ dreams for the future are largely consistent: to have a Appreciative of their freedoms, Plurals also understand that nothinggrounded family life and fulfilling work. And though most Plurals comes for free. Although they are not pioneers taming the wilderness,say that having a family will contribute to their happiness as adults, nor monetarily greedy, the idea that a desirable life comes only tothey agree that creating a financial safety net must come first. those willing to work hard remains an indelible part of the AmericanBoth boys and girls say it’s important to have a career in place Dream for them. Thinking beyond themselves, they go as far as say-and a solid financial foundation before settling down and having ing it is each citizen’s civic duty to work hard; that each individual’schildren. Many say their parents have impressed these ideals on contribution builds society.them; others from broken families say they don’t want to rush intoanything, having seen what can go wrong. Collectively, they wantto be sure to have a family on their terms, much later in life than Free to accomplish anythingtheir parents or grandparents. possible if I am willing to work hard. I will have a family but I don’t think it will be for quite a Suburban . Female while because I want to finish 8th Grade . Age 13 college and have an education before I start a family. I was taught to be able to support a family if I’ve got one. Urban . Male 6th Grade . Age 13 8
  9. 9. Pinterest Boards: Respondents’ Visualization of The American Dream. I think American Dream means that my family and friends To me, success today means would be able to be safe when The American Dream is being healthy and being happy in your life, happy they want to have hobbies. creative in many ways. family, having a job, just meeting your goals. Female . Suburban Female . Suburban I think it’s cool to see our first black President. Age 14 . Caucasian Age 15 . Caucasian It shows people can do anything they put Female . Suburban Age 14 . Caucasian their mind to no matter their race. Female . Suburban Age 15 . Caucasian I think Americans have equal Freedom to pursue your own interests Freedom. treatment and justice for all. College graduation. and lifestyle. Female . Suburban Female . Suburban Male . Urban Male . Urban Age 14 . Caucasian Age 15 . Caucasian Age 13 . Caucasian Age 14 . Caucasian 10
  10. 10. Conclusion.America has always held the promise of The Dream, even before the term was coined, and itcontinues to endure generation to generation. The world around us shapes its constitution, butoverarching themes, hope and ideas remain, if only slightly modified, over time.The Plurals are full of hope, but are realistic about their future. They haven’t turned their backson The Dream, but simply redefined it, learning from the mistakes of generations before them.Happiness is paramount, and separate from financial success. They desire opportunity, not forthe high-paying job or the perfect house in suburbia, but for the chance to be individuals anddo what makes them happy. Untethered from mainly materialistic goals, the Plurals are variedin their ambitions and patient in their pursuit of them. They have learned that the things whichlast do not come easy, and aren’t afraid to put in the necessary work and prioritize accordinglyto make their dreams come true. 9
  11. 11. AppendixProject SpecificsiModerate conducted 50 conversations with 13-15 year olds at an average duration of 30 minutes.ThoughtPath™Our qualitative research is based on a cognitive approach called ThoughtPath. Drawing on three select cognitive theories, ThoughtPath enables our skilledmoderators to get into each consumer’s head and discover what’s most important to them, what’s not, and why. In this study, it allowed us to understandhow a new generation views The American Dream.720 S. Colorado Blvd.Suite 500NDenver, CO 80246imoderate.comLet’s talk.303.333.7880 11

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