Thursday, October 14, 2010
Meaning is the new $$$
The paradox of abundance is that it drives people to find exclusive ways of doing and consuming even the most mundane things. As living standards (in middle class communities in developing and developed worlds) rise, the lines between the ‘haves’ and have nots’ blur, thereby sending people in a scurry to find new ways to stay one cut above the rest and one step ahead of the crowd.
This inherent human desire has given rise to several industries and has also created the need for a breed of people called ‘Marketers’ J or how else would you explain an ever expanding industry built around a cuppa of coffee or a bottle of wine? The daily routine of waking up to a cup of caffeine has been reinvented and packaged as a ‘snazzy way to socialize’ and the coffee itself as a ‘hot drink with an attitude’. The variety of coffee and caffeinated concoctions served under an array of mind boggling names and in equally overwhelming range of plush cafes, is a case in point.
By the time the gourmet caffeine overload and its bitter aftertaste wear off, we would be scouring the Planet for the next new thing! For decades marketers have put an ‘ooomph’ factor into the most banal things with much success. But now, the affordability that once liberated the consumer is not enough for the consumer!! All the abundance and prosperity seems have in fact made the average consumer’s mind gravitate towards something higher – higher in the gamut of human needs. Would that mean something more exclusive than gourmet coffee and vintage wine?
No. The highest rung in the ladder of human needs is the pursuit of meaning and purpose. The consumer’s quest for a larger meaning in life is the latest sweet spot for marketers. Irrespective of the product or the media, evoking and engaging this need in the minds of prosperous communities anywhere in the world seems to be THE way to go - the way to a long term relationship with people in the age of abundance.