If You’ve Got It = Spend It!

6 09 2010

In an edited excerpt of his new book Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After The Crises, Phillpee Legrain writes about the need to embrace new approaches capitalism and consumerism.  His point is that without consumption, there is no production, no income and no jobs.  And in plenty of markets around the world, there are millions and millions of people with unmet needs.  Responsible brands understand that they need to be serving those markets not only with sustainable products but with efforts that aid the public good.  The balance is essential for the retention and recruitment of new audiences of prosperous consumers.

“The aftermath of the crisis opens up huge opportunities to reshape the world economy for the better.  A fairer, richer, greener and more stable global economy is possible.  But to achieve it, we need to rediscover the virtues of open markets, open societies and open minds that go hand in hand with progress:  great opportunities for everyone to chase their dreams and fulfill their potentials.”

Read the article in Ode Magazine.


A responsibility revolution?

21 09 2009

Picture 1A new survey by Time magazine was highlighted in a recent article written by Richard Stengel: “For American Consumers, A Responsibility Revolution.”  Could this new halo many are happy to be wearing represent some of the most compelling signs of “the new normal”?

The research indicated:

  • 82% of people consciously supported local or neighborhood businesses
  • 40% of people said they purchased a product in 2009 because they liked the political or social values of the company that produced it.
  • 60% of Americans have bought organic products since January
  • 78% of those polled said they would be willing to pay $2,000 more for a car that gets 35 m.p.g. than for a similar one that gets only 25 m.p.g

As the article says, “That’s evidence of a changing mind-set, a new kind of social contract among consumers, business and government. We are seeing the rise of the citizen consumer — and the beginnings of a responsibility revolution.”

Once again, the Time survey adds to the rapidly growing amount of data that indicate we have reached the tipping point where values based marketing and sustainable branding are beginning to rise in importance with customers from all walks of life. Companies who recognize this and infuse sustainable branding into their total customer experience will inevitably be among the winners in the age of accountability.

Read the Time magazine article

Don’t call them consumers.

22 06 2009

Originally I wrote this post at duffypov.com when I was still with Duffy & Partners more than a year ago.  But it feels more right than ever before as all of us and society at large have been forced by the recession to consider exactly what it means to consume.  And where it fits in each person’s values set.



“Consumers are statistics.  Customers are people.”  – Stanley Marcus, Neiman & Marcus

Wikipedia defines a consumer as “a person who uses any product or service. Typically when business people and economists talk of consumers they are talking about person as consumer, an aggregated commodity item with little individuality other than that expressed in the buy/not-buy decision.”

Ok, it’s a new day. The term “consumer” must be purged from any organizational lexicon.  Shame on marketers who insist on putting such an arbitrary generalized term on the people they are trying to attract. As if “consumers” live in some petri dish to be probed, prodded and tested.

The term consumer presumes people are put on this earth solely to buy stuff.  How disrespectful to only think of “consumers” in a way that would suggest what they will do for me economically, not what we can do for them.

We are people.  With laughs and tears, dreams and hopes, and a desire to express our individuality in the context of having positive relationships with others and the world around us.

Consumers?  How about people?  The best brands recognize the difference.  In a world increasingly focused on sustainability, brands that respect people as people first will be the ones that are rewarded with—yes purchases—but importantly loyal customers.