I agree with Andy Hines that "changing values are reshaping the consumer landscape" and that process has been underway since the first marketplaces were established in ancient Greek city-states (the Agora) and later in Italy (the Forvm Romanvm). Obviously, there are many influences on consumers' values, notably those that are social and economic. That is, what is in style and affordable. What Hines shares in this volume is based on proceedings and revelations at a "New Dimensions of Consumer Life" Futures Consortium meeting held on November 10, 2009, at the Willard Hotel in Washington (DC). The focus of the research and analysis is limited to an approximate timeframe that extends from "the seeds of the rethink [i.e. significant, disruptive changes] planted in the social fringes of the late 1960s and 1970s and are finally bearing fruit with the main stream today." Hines estimates that by 2020, "the changes will be in full force." According to Hines, "At the core of the rethink are shifts [I view as paradigm shifts] toward postmodern values, and behind these are integral values reinforced by the Great Recession" now underway. He suggests that five key themes form the core of various significant, disruptive changes, "making a case for the consumer shift (note the acronym `ACASE')." They are Authenticity, Connection, Anti-consumerism, Self-expression, and Enoughness. Hines rigorously explores each of them. People will continue to consume goods and services, he acknowledges, but will not only prefer but in fact demand a new relationship with those who provide them. For me, some of the most interesting (and most valuable) material in the book focuses on what Hines characterizes as "The New Dimensions of Consumer Life" conceptual model. The details are best revealed within the narrative, in context, but I will point out that the model is based on a mindset that accommodates the five aforementioned, separate but interdependent themes, and, can guide and inform leaders in almost any organization (whatever its size or nature may be) when formulating and then implementing a game plan that is most appropriate to the given company's (a) core business, (b) strategic goals and resources, and (c) its competitive marketplaces. Hines provides a wealth of information, insights, and advice that have immediate and practical with regard to challenges, opportunities, and issues such as these: o Why the consumer landscape is changing o What's going on [deep] inside consumers o What's being said to consummers o How changing values are the single biggest influence on consumers o How catalysts of change are shaping and being shaped by con summers o What the changing consumer landscape will [soon] look like o How to identify emerging need states (i.e. "consumer sweet spots" o How to "bring the future to life" (i.e. "future personas") o Customizing the personas: the Persona Construction o Customizing the personas: the Persona Construction Kit Andy Hines would be the first to point out that it would be a fool's errand for any reader to attempt adopt and apply everything provided in this book. Hence the importance of working with a comprehensive, cohesive, and cost-effective framework such as the one Andy Hines proposes, "The New Dimensions of Consumer Life" conceptual model. He achieves his stated purposes: to explain how changing values are reshaping the consumer landscape, and, suggesting how best to respond effectively to changes that are occurring or will soon occur in a global business world in which change really is the only constant. --Robert Morris
The most important change happening in the minds of consumers today is a shift towards post-modern values systems. ConsumerShift is a comprehensive cartography of the emerging consumer psyche. Hines notes five key themes at the core of these changes - Authenticity, Connection, Anti-Consumerism, Self-Expression, and Enoughness. Consumers in the emerging new culture increasingly view their purchases to be a form of self-expression and a reflection of their personal values. Perhaps the most impressive element of the book is the range of intellectual frameworks that Hines incorporates to develop a meta-model of client psychology. ConsumerShift touches on over two dozen different theoretical models in understanding consumer values and psychology. This breadth can be a bit overwhelming at times, but also confirms that the author has done his homework. Hines' clearest contribution is in formation of the New Dimensions Values Inventory. This relies heavily on Ron Inglehart's World Values Survey and Don Beck's work in Spiral Dynamics, which shows how levels of social development can influence value systems. The result is perhaps the clearest view that I've seen yet on why tomorrow's consumers may be different than yesterday's consumers, as our cultural center of gravity moves from the modern to post-modern era. These findings are distilled into seven themes or meta-needs which are used to illustrate basic personality types of the emerging consumer: * Keeping it Real: Preference for the Straight Story * Pushing the Envelope: Challenging Performance Boundaries * Every Moment Matters: Taking Back Control of One's Time * The Pursuit of Happiness: Taking Responsibility for One's Well being * Community First: Preference for Things Local * We Are the World: Feeling Responsibility for the Well-Being of the Planet * Glass Houses: Everyone is Watching A unique and novel element of this book is its use of QR codes - square boxes of pixelated data that can be scanned by a cell phone to open web-based videos of selected topics. Readers can comment on the videos and participate in a dialogue online. It is nice to see how some writers are pushing the boundaries of the traditional print media. --James H. Lee --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.