Aspiration Ain’t What it Used to Be

As the clock ticks down on the year 2009, I find myself wondering about what I want to spend my time researching in 2010. Topping the list is “aspiration.”

Everywhere I turn, I can’t help but notice the change in the way people express their aspirations. The other night, a group of college kids gathered in my kitchen. Over spaghetti and meatballs I listened as they talked what they envision for their lives. Not once did they mention buying or owning something. Instead, they talked about making videos, music, writing, building and fixing things– and there were several mentions about “re-inventing” the way things work.

For decades, entire industries have relied on consumer aspirations to drive growth–automobiles, boats, real estate, luxury goods, fashion apparel. Face it, any product that is life-enhancing relies on aspiration to make the world go ’round.

In the year ahead, I plan to follow the theme of aspiration. Observe how it morphs. And then follow the brands that follow the user.

Happy new year.

Thanks for the photo Dana John Hall.