From essentialism to functionalism

On new global target customer profiles and consumer behavior

Kleinundplaecking Functionalism

A brand should be able to define its special qualities intrinsically. But in order to make a unique brand promise, it is crucial to know the needs of one’s customers well. Only then is it possible for brand positioning to achieve a veritable promise of relationship. Many brands source their knowledge of customers only from observing specific brand or product target groups.

Comprehensive global target customer profiles are missing in many cases , thus needlessly complicating working on the brand. In most global projects over the past two years, we have noticed an extreme convergence of western and eastern consumer attitudes. The speed with which China’s consumer behavior evolves has long since allowed her to advance from follower to first mover. With the help of research, the creation of global target customer profiles and equivalent insights is therefore not a problem anymore.

The question remains where global consumer behavior will go. What values are and will become relevant?

Duty, hedonism, individualism or multi-optionality. These are the titles of the periods from the 50s to 2010. The phase covering the past six years until today we call the period of essentialism. It is a time in which the redundant is eliminated (cut the bullshit) and human beings long for the natural state of being as they are (the true, authentic being as the core of one’s own identity).

In times of omnipresent scarcity of resources, our actions are increasingly determined by an ecological as well as a personal energy efficiency that is often described as emotional empowerment (“money can’t buy you happiness”). Whether meat, fashion, furniture or cars – essentialism (post-hedonism) is the conscious decision for Few Things but the Right Ones.

Thus, with rising societal reflexivity (Giddens 1995), the permanent essence of a thing becomes more important and grants its buyers sovereign self-assurance. Those who can afford it, will leave out many things and choose the better ones.

But those who think they have captured the zeitgeist with that are treading on old tracks. For, in the next twenty years, the essentialism in quest of meaning will be replaced by the new functionalism. We will be fascinated by vegetative all-in-one technology that offers intuitive and barrier-free solutions.

Without requiring intellectual intermediate steps, the technology will anticipate what we need and immediately perform its services like a part of our body. In future, biorhythm and body functions will not only be transparent, but they will be the framework for informative input and kinetic output. As members of a global nomad society, we will always prefer to stay at home.

Here, we will work and live in confined spaces. If we need to travel, we will take with us a condensed version of our living space. No matter if we work, sleep, shop or converse – it is technology which improves our lives without us having to press a single button.

New entrance to your brand – What needs to be done?

Show how your company masters the transition to a changed consumer behavior. Use technological potential to renew your business model and further develop your identity to a similar extent. Modernize your brand gradually, but stay true to the stance you’ve taken and to your emotional brand promise.

We would gladly show you how to use higher customer expectations to create a new access to your brand. Write us or give us a call, we are looking forward to the dialogue.


Arne Klein
+49 172 991 44 51

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