There’s a huge misnomer and gap marketers are missing when devising strategies to reach the Millennials everyone seems so urgent to reach. These are the children, and perhaps grandchildren in some cases, of the Cultural Creatives.
The idea and profile of the Cultural Creatives (CCs) was first introduced in the early part of the 21st century by sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson. The profile Ray and Anderson came up with matches fairly closely to Millennials in terms of values and lifestyle choices.
Perhaps the problem marketers are having is not so much in identifying general profile characteristics, but in reaching them. This is a certain segment of the population who do not want to be reached. It’s that simple. They are independent thinkers who rely on themselves, not what social media, new apps, or advertising and other forms of interruption marketing are telling them.
Cultural Creatives have always been a niche market and their children hold a similar position. They are already hip, they don’t need hip products. They are already on the cutting edge because they created it. They buy what they need, and they want things that fit into their lifestyle — not a lifestyle of things. Many of them eschew “things” altogether, preferring to live minimally, eat sensibly, aiming for a life of moderation over excess.
At the time Ray and Anderson released their findings in 2000, they estimated there were 50 million Americans who are Cultural Creatives, and approximately 80 to 90 million CCs in Europe. Combine that number loosely to the number of Millennials every advertising and marketing group on the planet thinks they understand, and it’s one huge number.
Here’s a list of characteristics that make up the profile of a CC to compare to Millennials:
- They care deeply about nature
- Are deeply aware of the problems that plague the planet
- Would pay more taxes if assured the money would be spent on cleaning up the environment
- Put a lot of importance on the development and maintenance of relationships
- Value the importance of other people and invest time in bringing out their unique gifts
- Value volunteerism and participate in one or more voluntary activities
- Value psychological and spiritual development deeply
- Are concerned with the presence of religious beliefs in politics
- Want equality for women in all spheres of life
- Are concerned with the well-being of women and children around the world
- Want politics and government to focus on education, infrastructure, community development, and ecological practices
- Are unhappy with a two party political system that is extremely left and right wing; and would prefer a third party offering that isn’t a mushy middle of the road option
- Tend to be optimistic, and distrust the pessimism and fear mongering of media
- Want to be involved in creating a better way of life
- Are deeply concerned with the practices of big business
- Have their financial lives in order and are not concerned with overspending
- Dislike the importance of “making it” and obscenely decadent and luxurious lifestyles
- Like people and places that are exotic; enjoy learning about and visiting other cultures
If you are a small business owner and entrepreneur, it would be wise to focus on, if not study, the list above and find a way to attract a very large portion of the world’s population to your door. It’s about a way to live, not a way to appear to live. While the Kardashins, Hiltons, Clooneys, Clintons, and Obamas attract media attention for their self-important opinions and lavish lifestyles, just remember the people you really want to reach don’t invest themselves in myopic foolishness, and neither should you.