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Seeking Status or Self-Actualization? Global Millennial Values

March 2014

By Claire Brooks, President, ModelPeople

This month, ModelPeople's GlobalCultureBloggers explore the difference between western and emerging markets in respect to the brand values that Millennial consumers prioritize. In the US, the LOHAS movement (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) estimates that one in four US adults are attracted to brands which focus on health, the environment, social justice and personal development. Young consumers seek self-actualization through sustainable living; however, we see emerging market consumers in India, China and Mexico for example, more focused on expressing status through individuality.

Gourmet Micro-Experiences
In the US, the LOHAS desire for quality has long surpassed ‘organic’ in favor of a small-batch craft experience.  In LA, freshly cold-pressed juice delivered to the ‘hood’ is the promise at The Juice in Atwater Village and coffee houses, like Go Get Em Tiger, offer small-batch education, adding ritual to the morning coffee stop. For the LOHAS-inspired Berliner, just any apple won’t do. From GMO-free yellow apples, to purple carrots, to red potatoes, traditional and rare varietals are in demand. In Beijing, where craft beers are exploding, Slow Boat Brewery is partnering with a Mexican restaurant for a culturally diverse taste experience.

Girl Power
In emerging urban markets, women see their traditional roles change, embracing status through individual empowerment. Sixty-year-old Bournvita, India’s most trusted brand, shows a mother encouraging her daughter to excel at male sports. In Bangalore, a controversial TV advertisement features a woman starting her second marriage, blending tradition and new family relationships. In Mexico, major bank BANORTE creates an initiative to target the New Mexican woman.

Style Status
In Beijing, young Chinese want to be stand out for their individual style rather than for wearing imported logos. Fashion brand NE Tiger pays homage to traditional Chinese roots with gorgeous interpretations of the traditional qipaos (long dresses). Luxury automotive brand Hong Qi is re-launching to promise not only status, but also design and safety. Contrast this with San Francisco, where the LOHAS aspiration is reflected in casual, yet classy active-wear.  Our Shanghai blogger, having just relocated to SF, was startled to see women shopping in practical ballet flats instead of high heels!

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