John Gerzema is Chief Insights Officer of Young & Rubicam Group, one the world’s largest communications companies. He applies consumer insights, social trends and analytics into management innovation strategies. Gerzema author of the new book, Spend Shift: How the Post Crisis Values Revolution is Changing the Way We Buy, Sell, and Live, and the Businessweek bestseller The Brand Bubble and a frequent speaker at conferences such as The Economist, TED and Google.
Gerzema points to a revolution in consumer values that will remake the consumer marketplace and revitalize the economy. Drawing from the world’s largest database of consumer attitudes about brands (750,000 people polled every quarter over 17 years), he found that since 2007—even before the crisis—all data pointed to a revolution in the making. Americans were becoming uneasy with debt and excess spending, distrustful of leaders and skeptical of materialist values.
These new Spend Shifters—55% of Americans—are not defeated by the downturn but instead are proudly returning to bedrock American virtues—thrift, faith, creativity, community, hard work and more—in order to build new lives of purpose and connection. They still buy, but they’ve shifted from mindless to mindful consumption. And their every purchase is less about materialism and more about voting for their values with their dollars.
Armed with these findings, Gerzema set off across America to document the Spend Shift and its effects from coast to coast. The result is the first on-the-ground report from the quiet revolution of values that is remaking the American economy and reshaping the global marketplace.
Art Kleiner is the editor of Strategy + Business magazine and a business journalist and the author of several critically lauded books on business history and organizations. He is the author of Who Really Matters: The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege and Success. Between 2001 and 2004 he was the director of research and publications for the Dialogos consulting firm in Cambridge, MA. He has contributed to the Harvard Business Review, The New York Times Magazine, and numerous other publications.
The Drucker Business Forum is produced by The Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University with additional support from the Pearson Foundation.The series is co-presented by KPCC.
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