Plurals and the American Equation
The success equation for American business is changing, again.
For years, the most important consumer input into the success equation was the consumer behavior of Baby Boomers. Explosive population growth in the 1950’s led to nearly unfettered consumerism in the 80s and 90s. The original business models were built on mass production and mass marketing. Boomers were all too happy to oblige with their time and money.
At around the turn of the century, the equation started changing. The up and coming Millennial Generation began calling into question exuberant consumerism in exchange for exuberant experiences. We all know the relative self-importance and confidence Millennials brought to the marketplace, Boomers taught them to do things their own way and, not surprisingly, they did. Mass became harder to come by. Even though Millennials represented a massive consumer target, more than 87 million strong, they have proven to be inclined to disrupt traditional business models than build the new ones that will work and thrive.
As we close out the first score of the 21st century, American business is faced with yet another input into the business success equation. There is a new generation, mostly born in this century, for which business must take note or pay the price. The generational hallmarks of this new consumer group is representative of the America in which they are growing up: diverse, specialized, used to conflict, purposeful, pragmatic, visual and potentially most importantly, decisive.
Meet the Pluralist Generation. Now aged 5-22, the Plurals will soon become the most important generation of the 21st century. As a generation they will build and guide our society and economy into the second half of the century and their impact will be felt well into the 2060s and 70s. There are enough of them (about a quarter of the US population) to call-the-shots and make it happen. Millennials, for all their size and potential power, have proven to evolve markets passively as they make their way through life. Plurals will actively seek change, justice and solutions. The equation is changing again.
Ten Plural Insights That Count
- Plurals will guide America into a non-majority society in all facets of life – family composition, educational attainment, religiosity, communication, shopping and consuming
- Plurals will take action to ensure the place they live holds true to their values, their lifestyles and their priorities
- Plurals believe in the American Dream AND believe it is something they can attain through their own hard work and determination
- Plurals exist in what we know as diversity and what they know as normal. Their social circles are made-up of different races, different gender and lifestyle orientations, different religions and different socio-economic classes
- Plurals are individually competitive and will be individually successful
- Plurals are comfortable in what older generations see as chaos
- Plurals place high value on the difference between right and wrong – listing their personal values as a key element of their identity
- Plurals are less trusting of government, business and religious leaders while placing strong trust in academic experts
- Plurals hold brands accountable for action and reward those that act in the common good as they define it
- Plurals will shift consumerism back to product from experience and in a way that helps their personal identity be defined and seen
PSB is embarking on an aggressive, longitudinal study of society’s four major generations – Plurals, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. This comes at a time when businesses can prepare and strategize for oncoming generational evolution. Our plan lays out a continual interrogation of these generations on a variety of issues – all of which are critical to understanding the mindsets they will be bringing to the marketplace.
The PSB Generations Strategy Program will explore Insights that will CountTM
- Advertising receptivity and brand opportunity
- Social and political issues in advance of 2020 election
- Media Interaction and Consumption
- Retail motivators and shopping journey
- The role of banks and financial services
- Attitudes towards education and professional training
- Role of gender and human orientation in their world view and personal identity
- Differences between experts, influencers and celebrities in communication and advertising
Our active Program Members will have ongoing access to findings and insights (both quantitative and qualitative), opportunities for category and brand-specific custom questions, and a seat at the table to guide future research questions and challenges.
Join us on this important and urgent journey. The PSB Generations Strategy Program.
Jack MacKenzie is Executive Vice President in PSB’s Los Angeles office. For more information on the PSB Generations Strategy Program, please contact Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org.