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We are a culture of individualists. America has always championed the individual in a way many other countries don’t, consecrating expression of self through both economic and civil avenues.

When we think of an American, a picture of a rugged frontiersman comes to mind, clad in a Davy Crockett hat and wielding an ax. But unfortunately the frontier closed in 1890 and carrying axes in public places is becoming increasingly frowned upon. So how do we express our individuality in the 21st century?

Through the products we buy, or for some, through the products we don’t buy. Before we proceed, let’s give a name for our new, rugged individualist.

The Hipster a typical customer

                  hipster, new consumer

Their clothes are loose in places where they shouldn’t be, and tight where they really shouldn’t be. But they are here to stay. Hipsters are a fact of life in almost all major urban areas, and allegedly there have been recent sightings in rural areas. Jokes aside, the hipster represents the extreme of the emerging new consumer: unwilling to be categorized and susceptible to products which break from the mainstream.

Given a little thought, this trend makes perfect sense. The millennial generation has grown up in an era of increasing homogenization. Everything looks the same, but still advertising insists that the clothes you wear, the music you listen to, and the products you buy are central to your identity.

This can cause some confusion, and predictably, a large amount of the millennial generation has turned away from this whitewashed commercial landscape and sought distinction through alternative products.

The influence of the disenfranchised new consumer is felt all around us, with too many sepia-tone photographs being posted on Instagram, vinyl sales going up, and apparently fluctuations in the razor market. This new consumer represents a large portion of a potential customer base, and will only grow in size.

So how do you take advantage of this new contrarian trend? We’ll illustrate a couple ways to do so.

  • Personalize your product. Allow customization, and appeal to the individuality of the consumer.

  • Know your customer, as always. There is a growing, constantly evolving culture of people who reject culture in all of its modern forms. In this culture are recurring themes, learn them, and market your product appropriately.

  • Don’t be afraid to be bold and different. You want to show your customers that you’re a break from the mundane. Tips for doing so can be found in our previous blog posts, here (insert Shared Value blog post) and here (insert how to demonstrate blog post here).

  • Browse forums and websites where this culture flourishes. Good places to start are websites like Pitchfork and Down By the Hipster. Educate yourself on your customer base.

Central to your advertising is a great design, and if you need one, don’t hesitate to call us for help!

Looking at the new consumer, an individual who prides himself on being indefinable, might seem like  a potential disaster for anyone looking to market a product, but if you keep a cool head and research, all will be well. As the hipsters would say, Keep calm and carry on.

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