Thanks for tuning in.
This is week one in our 7 week journey to unveil our lower tier truths to you.
If you missed my introduction to the Starcom MediaVest Yangtze Study last week, click here to get caught up on what this study is about.
Each week, two truths with examples and implications will be revealed. At the end of the 7 weeks, you will have enough real, tangible truths (and ideas on what to do with them) to apply to your own brand’s thinking.
Today, we will kick things off with a macro perspective on the lower tier consumer’s frame of mind. Of course, we know that not all consumers are built equal. But from the ones we spoke to and from those surveyed, we saw similarities in their outlook on life.
Our first lower tier truth is that:
HAPPINESS IS A STATE OF MIND, NOT A DESTINATION
Lisa Richert, Strategy Director, North Asia explains that happiness truly is a state of mind. Living simply and taking advantage of the small happiness found in everyday life.
“It’s about perspective – from the people we talked to, happiness was not defined by what they had.
This young mother picture here, Ms Liang, is 25 years old. Despite living in run-down conditions, she is perhaps one of the happiest people we’ve ever met. She is married but only sees her husband once a month. She finds happiness in her baby and in looking forward to being reunited with her husband, vs. dwelling on him not being there.
Many of the people in the lower tiers express much satisfaction in their life, exuding a quiet contentment. They find pleasure in simple things. Having money is important but hardly a barometer of happiness.”
I really like the simplicity in this way of thinking. Far too often, I’ve fallen prey to my frenetic top tier mentality – busy trying to get more, achieve more, work harder, running, running as fast as we can…
Lower tier consumers just don’t focus on what they are lacking. Just being where they are now and enjoying the moment makes them happy. I guess one may say that they are like this because they just don’t know what they’re missing. I’m sure this is a big part of the reason – but, frankly, what’s wrong with that? I think it would be a blessing for some of us to be granted that simple happiness.
Lisa also explains how brands can take advantage of this simple truth:
“Our way-in as brands can be through Currency. Providing ways to capture these everyday celebrations. This can be events in the center squares, visuals or messages that hero the simple pleasures of spending time together. One mother spoke of a brand that she purchased, because it was giving away a photo album, something she could use for pictures of her daughter.”
Basically, let’s enable their enjoyment of simple pleasures. They’re not out to gain more, but we surely can give them more by way of community events – especially ones which create joy for those near and dear to their hearts – their children, and by small give-aways like photo frames to help them enhance their homes and provide happiness when they see it.
Our second lower tier truth is:
DREAMING IN THE REAL WORLD
Says Jeffrey Tan, National Research & Insights Director:
“This view of happiness feeds into their ability to dream. That does not change when you live in a lower tier town – they dream just like anyone else.
However the dreams people here spoke of were often more practical: in-line with what they could actually accomplish, or what would lead them to their idea of success in life. Success is a family that is well provided for, the ability to not have to worry.
For example, many talked about wanting their own business. In Tier 1 cities, people who talk of being entrepreneurs are typically very driven, passionate. Here, the desire for your own business comes from a sense of survival, functionality. “Working for others is less pay…I want to have a house for my parents. I need to make more money for that.”
As Brands we can provide Content that ultimately can become our Currency. Practical tips and learning programs – face to face or virtual – to allow people to learn from the knowledge of the Brand, in business or in life. Leverage the media platforms they rely on and trust most for information and dialogue, i.e. TV program where business giants mentor/help lower tier residents start small businesses.”
The bottom line is that lower tier consumers are not so different from top tier consumers in that they don’t dream – the difference is in the way they dream. A young man we spoke to in tier 5 talks about being an entrepreneur. However, this was not in the Mark Zukerberg sense of entrepreneurism; of creation, creativity and innovation. This young man merely wanted to get away from working for others. By owning his own shop, he figures he can make a bit more money.
Companies that can help lower tier consumers with achieving these practical dreams will do a lot for them. Community center courses teaching money management, new computer skills, or practical ideas to start businesses may bring consumers to your brand… but even more than that, it’s just a nice thing for us to do to help lower tier youth reach their (practical) dreams.
Questions? Send them to me, and tune in next week as we discuss two more lower tier truths and how they affect your brands.