Having well and truly had enough of talking about the recession, we followed the media’s lead by demoting the story of our contracting economy to the proverbial middle pages. Instead of naval gazing, we ran our latest Expert Forum event on what people think life will be like after the recession. For those who don’t know about the Expert Forum process, the idea is that we invite a group of consumers and a group of industry experts and use Promise co-creation techniques to engage in an interesting issue. The Forums typically last three to four hours.
Our latest Forum, on the post recession consumer, has yielded very interesting results. We used a meditative technique called Creative Visualisation, that allows people to ‘dream’ about future scenarios. It’s great for innovation and NPD projects as it gives a group the creative license to come up with weird and wonderful ideas about products, brands and services that don’t yet exist. These ideas can often be completely wild, but looking beneath the surface through careful analysis of the exercise, we can uncover genuine consumer needs and realistic platforms for innovation.
So, what were the key themes that came out of our session? We have summarised the findings to six key insights:
The future will involve a big ‘spring clean’!
People demonstrated a strong desire to simplify their lives. They wanted to ‘clean out’ their lives and focus on the basics, rather than strive for things that were difficult to attain. Doing the simple things well has become increasingly important.
Desire to re-evaluate
The group believed that after the recession will be a time where we change our focus; moving from aspiration and constant pressure to succeed to looking inward and thinking about what really matters: friends and family.
Regression: focus on children, comfort and play
The outputs created in the visualisation session demonstrated that the group felt the need to ‘regress’. They wanted to be looked after, to be held and to be comforted.
Changing attitudes towards employment
“My job is something that I will value, but it will no longer define me”
Focus will shift to personal/emotional success, especially as people feel the spate of redundancies and job losses will widen the gap between the have and have not’s and running after a career won’t be worth it anymore.
Guilt and aspiration vs. simplicity, family and ‘new hope’
In the workshop we witnessed the creation of a Utopian ideal. The consumers we spoke to, in the main, favoured creating a picture of the future designed around them.
We are looking for leaders and leadership
In the last 20 years we have observed a shift in attitudes from dependency to autonomy. The evidence of the forum shows that post recession, we will demand more leadership from the structures that we are a part of and the brands that we buy into.
To read on click below…
If you think about it, brands have a massive role to play in this relationship. The values that we will be looking for in the future will be dependability, comfort and empathy. We will seek to surround ourselves with products and services that make us feel looked after and with whom we can enjoy a steady, calm relationship. We won’t want brands to challenge and judge us. We won’t want brands to fuel unrealistic ambition. We think that brands that tap into a regressive need state will get more traction with the post recession consumer.
It was a great session and generally an optimistic one; the 30 or so people we worked with thought the future would indeed be bright, if not overly shiny.
For the full report ‘The post recession consumer’, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This entry was posted on Wednesday, 1 Jul 2009 at 3:46 pm and is filed under New Economy, Psychology.
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