Vigilante, a leading advertising agency, has released its annual top five list of social and commercial drivers. The Vigilante Urban Think Tank creates this popular list by careful contextual analysis of the media and urban trends. This information is validated and dimensionalized using Vigilante’s proprietary Street Spies research tool. The information is applied to major themes and then reduced to the major implications for marketers and advertisers. Vigilante began publically releasing the Next 5, first developed as a new client acquisition tool, in 2006.
“The major tension we see is in the radically opposing ways businesses and those in leadership positions will choose to deal with the Recession,” said Vigilante President and respected strategist Larry D. Woodard. “In almost equal parts there will be those who will choose to roll the die and bet their company’s future by hanging on and not making radical changing with those companies willing to change everything in order to adjust and stay relevant as consumer focus, capital and tastes rapidly change.
In many companies profit projections have given way to survival strategies. As the lending well has begun to go dry and sales have continued to go down, companies are faced with difficult decisions. Should they get small and try to weather the storm or make some other uncalculated business move? In 2009, you will see a number of companies try to invent or innovate themselves out of the crisis. This holiday season Kodak went to the infomercial format to give consumers a longer better look at their products. From moving away from traditional advertising and selling strategies to changing the product mix to rebuilding the entire product lines, this year many companies will have to take big risks.
Borrowing from a phrase often used during the election, many companies will need to turn the page in 2009. The Matell company got lucky when it was determined that a former Matell designer came up with the Bratz doll concepts while working at Matell. But the fact remains, Barbie was stuck in another era and the Bratz doll embraced a new, multicultural generation and put Matell on the ropes. Many companies have been looking at the broader, more diverse, less inclined to assimilate America and recognize the need for more than just one size fits all product development and marketing strategies. Look for some companies to fully embrace and to break out of the walking pack into a full gallop in 2009.
There is no argument that in addition to a national education crisis in the U.S., the number of hours we work has taken a toll on family life and therefore the development of our children. If we look at nearly every measure of educational development from reading to science to math, the United States lags behind many other countries. Look for a growing recognition of this fact and a new focus on the assets we have in our “Kid Capital”. 2009 will bring increased attention to the importance of youth sports, opportunities for parents and children to interact in social or educational arenas and more mainstream media focus on the development of our children, youth and young adults.
For the last two generations the formula has been reasonably clear: the harder you work, the more you make. This striving created the largest middle class in history and accounted for a tremendous accumulation of “things”. The recession has rendered this equation invalid. In 2009, look for many to scale back work time in favor of the serious, tension relieving hobby or given the amount of time spent pursuing it “The Jobby”. Many will take the leap from hobbyist to advanced amateur in pursuit of recreation and a level of mastery in activities ranging from Tennis and Golf to Bridge and video games. Manufacturers and retailers need to take note and add instruction and community-building to their marketing arsenals.
Last year, there was a lot of attention given to the ideas of sustainability and renewable energy while at the same time tremendous stress was added to our lives with the economic downturn. We see a convergence in 2009 of these issues and the emergence of the Purpose Portfolio. The Purpose Portfolio is the combination of ideals, religious beliefs, social consciousness, philanthropy and focus on family that will guide many of the decisions made by individuals and families concerning job, place of residence, spending and allotment of time. Institutions and organizations who take a holistic view of where they fit into this schema will have the greatest success attracting participation in their efforts.