In a recent MediaPost article, Optimedia CEO, Antony Young delivers a terrific recession survival guide for brands and marketers in the these difficult times.  Of note, is his pitch that there is a new category of consumer he calls “the simplifiers”.  These folks are those who don’t necessarily want to be sold more “stuff” but are eagerly looking to buy “experiences”.
I love the label as it summarizes part of what my business partner (and many other geniuses) have been saying about modern day branding and the necessity of delivering personal value in brand messaging.  I’m betting that underneath Mr. Young’s observations about this new category, is the fact that these folks don’t want to be sold the old way.  It’s no longer buy this because, well, it is good.  Rather, the modern buyer wants something that is personal and that impacts her on a very specific, lifestyle basis.  It’s now all about “buy this because it fits and enhances your personal lifestyle, your personal wants and personal needs”.
The idea that “consumers” are increasingly casting their loyalty votes for brands that deliver this personal value/experience is further evidence of the fact that, as we have said before (along with other geniuses), they are now participants.  Makes sense, no?  They can’t “participate” in an inanimate object but they can when it is associated with an experience they want or need. They can cut back on the occasional thing or random service, but they are less apt to turn away from a product/service that comes with experience or lifestyle “instructions” that resonate on a very personal level, at a specific time of need or want.
So perhaps the gist of the recession survival guide is that brands need to follow the new marketing equation we have written about in prior posts–CONTENT (value, experience, etc.) + DISTRIBUTION (deliver the experience on their terms) = CONVERSATION = LOYAL PARTICIPANTS.

In short, one could argue that ALL consumers are becoming Simplifiers looking for value, experience, and a participatory relationship with brands.  All we have to do is embrace the equation and do the math.

Peter J. Schankowitz

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