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Thursday, September 24, 2009

The birth of the “Cautionary Generation”

This blog posting by Jay Suhr makes a great deal of sense in which he tries to answer the question that fascinates me: “is the recession a defining moment for our consumer-driven society.” If it is, what impact will it have?

The conclusion he reaches is that the Boomer, Me, X and Millennial generations may have morphed into a new “Cautionary Generation” that saves that is committed to using less that now associates the amassing of stuff with the loss of financial cushions, secure retirement or the ability to pay their mortgage.

Even though there is much talk of green shouts, he believes that many people are still bracing for another unexpected dip.

He thinks that those who feel they survived are likely to go into an aggressive form of preventative maintenance, with no back sliding on bad spending habits. He thinks that people have learned that they can do without and live happily. They’ve rediscovered coupons, soup and board games. They’ve learned the discipline of thinking twice, three or four times before making purchases. They’ve learned to research and shop and bargain.

I agree with much he says and what is for sure, few brands have got their head around what implications these changes have on the way they interact with consumers.

A very interesting posting and one that it is well worth reading.

I like the term “Cautionary Generation” but feel there are probably more descriptive and memorable ways of describing today’s consumers. My favourite is the “Tightrope Generation”.

This is not an age based generation but includes anybody who is working. If you are in work, then life aint too bad. The instant you slip off of the employment rope then your world can implode. Difficulty getting reemployed (especially if you are 40+), probably with a reduced salary and a period of no income when the bills, especially credit card payments, keep coming.

Keep balancing and you are fine – slip and you are history.

Any other ideas for a generational name? Dick Stroud

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