The Psychology of Consumer Sentiment

June 28, 2008

DISCUSSION TOPIC:  P&G CEO Advises Candidates to Stay Positive

TOPIC SUMMARY:

Procter & Gamble’s chairman and chief executive A.G. Lafley wants the future President of the United States, whomever that may turn out to be, to remember that there is a psychological component to economic performance and that it’s important now that Senators John McCain and Barack Obama are running for the nation’s top office that they remember to stay positive about the underlying strength of the American economy.

“You know we are in a business where psychology matters – even in the staples business – and in the economy psychology matters,” Mr. Lafley told the Financial Times. “It could go negative on the economy, that could be a problem … We will talk ourselves into a worse recession.”

Discussion questions:  How critical is the psychological component to consumer spending? Is a strong retailing environment a by-product of consumer optimism and, conversely, are periods of weak sales created by shopper pessimism?

My post:  This is such an important topic.  The crisis of faith in the American economy today is a combination of real issues, perceived issues, and the basic mistrust of our current president and his government’s ability to tell the truth and/or do anything meaningful to make a positive difference.

The new president (I believe it will be Obama) will have an incredible opportunity to demonstrate trustworthiness and speak with clarity and power of his vision of an improved American economy and place in the world.  I am quite optimistic that after 8 years of a disaster presidency, that our new president (again, likely Obama) will lead us to both perceived and actual improvements in our economy and our faith in our individual and collective futures and the place America will have in the world economy.

It is perfectly OK for Lafley to publicly ask our next president to work the psychology of consumer sentiment and build a vision for a better future.  Kennedy did it, Reagan did it – watch Obama do it next!

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

————————————————-
Go to the full discussion at RetailWire.com:
http://www.retailwire.com/Discussions/Sngl_Discussion.cfm/13058    

————————————————-

Thank you for visiting my blog!  Please subscribe using the RSS button and comment on my postings.  Comments are the life-blood of any blog and I appreciate yours!


Baldwin park – Stereotyped?

June 5, 2008

DISCUSSION TOPIC: Latino Leaders Say ‘No’ to Amigo Stores

TOPIC SUMMARY:

Retail developers in the Los Angeles area are learning a valuable lesson from people like Manual Lozano, mayor of Baldwin Park. The lesson is that while it’s important to target your offering to your audience, it is even more important to actually know what they want before you pitch a new project.

Recently, Mr. Lozano and other officials from Baldwin Park listened to developers make a pitch on a new project in the community. Having studied the demographics of the area, the developers proposed a shopping center with a “Latino feel,” according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The mayor, a second-generation Mexican American, was not happy being presented with a project based on what he believes is a typecast of Baldwin Park and its citizens.

“We want what Middle America has as well,” he told the LA Times. “We like to go to nice places like Claim Jumpers, Chili’s and Applebee’s… We don’t want the fly-by-night business, the ‘amigo store,’ which they use to attract Latinos like myself.”

Some in Baldwin Park believe that the Council, made up entirely of Mexican-Americans, is ashamed of its roots.

“I was born in Mexico and raised in this country. I agree we need some change. But what they want to bring here is totally unrealistic. Applebee is good, but a Kabuki? And also a Trader Joe’s? Come on, I don’t even go to Trader Joe’s,” said Rosalva Alvarez, the owner of a beauty shop located in the area being considered for development.

Anthony Bejarano, a graduate of Georgetown University law school, is among Mr. Lozano’s allies on the Council. A fourth-generation Mexican American who speaks “very little Spanish,” he told the LA Times, “I love to go to traditional Mexican restaurants. I shop at Vallarta [supermarket], but I can’t get everything I need. At the end of the day, it’s all Mexican restaurants here. When we want Italian, when we want sushi, where do we go? If I want a pair of Kenneth Coles, I have to go to Arcadia.”

Discussion questions:  What lessons are there for developers, retailers and consumer brand marketers in the Baldwin Park experience? How quickly is acculturation taking place within Latino communities and how do marketers successfully navigate the differences in evidence in Baldwin Park?

My post:  I find it amazing that developers and retailers continue to misread the wants and desires of ethnic communities.  Just a little bit of local research and customer panel groups can provide the basics of a neighborhood’s retail desires.  Add a bit of demographic analysis and you can start formulating options.  Ultimately, retailers and developers that avoid this research in the name of cost savings pay a larger price in the end when the business fails.  The carpenter’s rule holds true:  measure twice, cut once…

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

————————————————-
Go to the full discussion at RetailWire.com:
http://www.retailwire.com/Discussions/Sngl_Discussion.cfm/13008    

————————————————-

Thank you for visiting my blog!  Please subscribe using the RSS button and comment on my postings.  Comments are the life-blood of any blog and I appreciate yours!