Consumer Optimism

>> Sunday, May 10, 2009

On Friday I went to the DYG East Coast Conference. DYG is our consumer trending partner and they help us understand what's going on in consumers' minds as they go about their daily lives.  

Madeleine and her team presented an amazing picture of how consumers are feeling these days, particularly in light of the new administration in Washington, the economic meltdown, terrorism, war, joblessness, and all the other horrible things that has been making us feel, well, pretty bad these days.

When looking at trending data, obviously we focus on the shifts in attitudes, emotions, and behaviors.  A consumer issue that moves a few trending points becomes an area that we as marketers intensely analyze. A three or four point move is significant.

What's amazing is that many of the issues that DYG follows have moved double digits just in the last six to nine months.  We are talking ten, twelve, and fourteen point shifts in certain consumer areas.

A growing distrust of institutions, including the government, banks, and big business.  An intensifying need to feel more safe and secure.  And even more heartfelt desire to simplify choices and to live an easier life.  Big shifts in the trending data.

I expected to hear a lot of gloom and doom,  like most everyone in the audience I'm sure.  But I was somewhat shocked to instead also hear about a growing sense of optimism.  Yes, optimism. Not blind hope and certainly not a sense that the government is going to swoop in and rescue us all.  But good 'ole fashioned American optimism.  

The kind of optimism that comes from a lot of hard work and a sense of responsibility and self-reliance.  There's a growing sense that we will indeed get through this, but only if we all band together and fix it ourselves.  It's our responsibility to fix it, and darn it we will!

Much of this is due to Barack and Michelle Obama.  Not because people feel like they are master minds who will magically make our problems go away. But because they are in it with us, and they are working very hard to help us figure it out.

Political views aside, the Obamas are essentially responsible for a growing sense of optimism and a growing sense that together we will make it through.  But only with a lot of hard work.

Very motivating and encouraging as a fellow consumer myself as well as a marketer of brands that intersect with consumers in their lives.  

We'll be using much of what we learned from our DYG partners to shape our marketing plans in the coming months.  Certainly more to come!

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


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