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The Impact of the “Aspirationals”

At Digital Union, we’ve written at length about the Millennial generation and what their preferences and desires mean for the future of business. Yet from a marketing perspective, perhaps generations are not only defined by birthdays, but instead by common human experiences that shape the way we understand the world.

aspirationalsBuilding on four years of global insight from more than 22,000 respondents across 22 international markets, BBMG and partners at GlobeScan have revealed the Aspirational generation. Indeed, this Aspirational generation isn’t defined by age, but rather the desire for their actions to meet needs, have a positive impact on others, and connect them with an ideal or community that is bigger than themselves.

The comprehensive report notes that this group is defined by shared values and expectations that is to predicted to have even greater impact on the future of the world than the Millennials. The Aspirationals make up the majority of global consumers and are defined by “a love of style, social status and sustainability values.” The report predicts that the Aspirationals will “shift cultural norms and rewrite the rules of marketing.” More than any other segment, Aspirationals are defined by their love of shopping and the desire for their consumer experience to help improve society and their trust in global brands to authentically help improve the world.

BBMG found five key aspirations that are shared by Aspirationals when it comes to brand experiences:

  1. Abundance without waste: Aspirationals are redefining the idea of abundance, seeking more experiences in ways that use fewer resources and produce less waste. Aspirationals don’t necessarily want more material possessions – but rather more meaningful experiences.
  2. Truly As You Are: Good branding is no longer about perfection, but honesty. Aspirationals appreciate transparency more than anything else, which has led to the success of companies like Everlane and Chipotle publishing their supply chain information and software companies letting users test their products in beta.
  3. Get Closer: Enterprises are sourcing locally and working with small businesses making the human story as important as ever. With payment platforms like Venmo and Paypal, the power of people and possibility is being unleashed.
  4. All of It: Aspirationals want it all, they prefer having the freedom of fluid options to fixed answers, whether it’s brands that are shifting gender boundaries in their product offerings or the boundaries between work and the gym, from Zappos’ approach to employees to WeWork’s approach to the office.
  5. Do Some Good: Finally, and most relevant to our mission at Digital Union, Aspirationals believe that they have agency in making a change and will thus support companies that have more to offer than just a better product.

Companies that do well with Aspirationals give them the opportunity to live an attainable lifestyle and be a meaningful part of society. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Yelp allow users to boost overall brand power of companies while giving individuals agency in the interaction as well. Brands are no longer enough; Aspirationals seek a deeper purpose or lifestyle that they can be a part of. For brands planning a social or environmental impact strategy, this is very important to consider as 53% of Aspirationals say “they would purchase more products that are socially and environmentally responsible if it connected them to a community of peers who share their values and priorities, compared to 42% of the general population.”

The opportunity here is to create a customer base that finds community, meaning, agency and impact in your brand, rather than using a one-off strategy as a means to gain support. To explore how you can best start to build your own brand community reach out to Digital Union.

Maggie & Hector

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