But Will It Make Me Happy? Part 1

This week, my son is in L.A. scouting future employment before he finishes his senior year in college. My daughter begins college next week. My house will be empty, except for our belongings.

The purge is underway. I emptied an entire closet last night. With it, comes new consciousness about defines value. According to the recent NY Times article, “But Will it Make You Happy?” unencumberment is the new Mercedes Benz. Debt ridden and anxious, Americans no longer feel good that a trip to the mall will lift their spirits. In fact, it may do the opposite. Culturally, we are unhitching our wagons from the shiny star of conspicuous consumption.

Some marketers argue that this phenomenon is not widespread. Consider that the article was the “most emailed” this week.

As my last book predicted, a new generation of consumers has emerged—people willing to carve out lives based on community, sharing, and creative making-do. Stripped down and debt-free, the Renaissance Generation is mastering what Guy Kawasaki once told me was going to be the killer app of the next decade: low overhead.

Where does this leave American businesses like retail, hospitality and manufacturing? What now? Consider these three things in your marketing:
1. Values like “belonging” are replacing one-ups-man ship. People will want to gather, make memories, and celebrate rites of passage now more than ever.
2. Transfer knowledge. Give people new ideas and ways to use things. Provide useful information they can share with their tribe.
3. Join forces. Take collective action. Become part of the local solution. Brands that are not engaged in helping communities improve rejuvenate and re-define community living will not remain relevant.

I’m curious. When you look in your closet, garage, storage locker.…which items still make you happy?