MediaPost: Culture Trends – Rent A Mom, Test Drive A Home Before Buying

By Larissa Faw

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Peter Pan syndrome, content hacking and sleeping over in a house before you buy it are just a few trends that Mindshare is predicting will infiltrate American culture in 2016.

The fifth Culture Vulture report examines behavioral trends and insights, media consumption and demographic and sociological shifts to help brands and advertisers better connect with today’s consumers.

One of the more notable trends is the commitment-phobic consumer that suggests advertisers need to remove risks of purchase in order to appease their concerns. As consumers’ approach to risk continues to shift, there’s an increasing demand for solutions to help them stay uncommitted, such as leasing and trying before you buy. and Airbnb, for instance, have partnered to let people stay a few nights in a neighborhood before committing to buy a house. And 67% of consumers say “being trapped in a two-year contract is ‘annoying.’”

“Given the increasingly commitment-free consumer mind-set, brands need to assess the specific product risks their target consumer perceives and find new ways to diminish or eliminate those risks,” Mindshare states in the report.

More than half of consumers (58%) say they “prefer unique versus mass produced goods,” up from 45% in 2013. To drive brand uniqueness and love, advertisers are encouraged to play up hidden messages or “Easter eggs” in their products or messaging.

The discovery, inside knowledge and ability to share hidden features on social appeals to people’s desire for uniqueness.

“Once we’d found this one, we could see it all over the place, and it has some nice implications for brands trying to get noticed,” says Mark Potts, head of insights, Mindshare North America. “Again, the idea of hidden Easter Eggs is not new — think hidden Mickey Mouse silhouettes in the Disney Parks, or the hidden track at the end of Nirvana’s Nevermind.

“But the innovation and pervasiveness that’s been driven in part by new technology is on the up. What was perhaps most surprising for us, is the noticeable jump out of tech and entertainment and into products themselves,” he adds.

It used to be that people defined themselves through products and brands. They signaled they were preppie, for instance, by wearing Ralph Lauren polo shirts. Now, people identify themselves through their tweets, posts and likes.

To that end, people are more likely to say they are best represented via social media (47%) than through their fashion (30%), cars (11%), smartphone (8%), sneakers (3%), or alcohol (3%). Culture is becoming language, and content is the new “stuff.”

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