Financial and social uncertainty—sparked by inflation, soaring housing prices, the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine—have become a reality for a majority of Americans and are expected to remain for some time, according to new studies by Horizon Media. What does this mean for marketers? They will need to respond quickly if they intend to not only stay relevant but ultimately survive in this change-is-the-new-constant environment.
The reports, Inflation Nation: The Status of The American Dream and How Brands Can Help, and Guidelines for Brands in Uncertain Times: Understanding the Psychology of Uncertainty and Loss, indicate that a new American Dream is emerging in which younger generations are reexamining their priorities and questioning traditional definitions of success. Economically, the average American consumer is now facing what the reports call “wallet lockdown” and are increasingly forced to sacrifice “wants” in order to ensure they can take care of their “needs.”
“Millennials are increasingly coping with the notion that they will be the first generation who will not do better than their parents,” said Maxine Gurevich, SVP, Cultural Intelligence of Horizon Media’s WHY Group. “A revised American Dream has emerged on social media, one that deglamorizes the hustle to get ahead financially in favor of a simpler life.”
The Horizon reports discuss this new mindset among American consumers and offer extensive insights and recommendations on what steps brands can take to address the issue.
“Brands need to take notice to restore people’s faith through stability in pricing, an easy shopping and service experience, empathy for customers’ psychological outlooks, over-communication, and demonstrating their values to make a positive impact on the world – not just sell product,” said Gurevich. “CMOs need to pivot part of their metrics from getting lifetime value from consumers to giving their customers a valuable life.”