To the Editors of American Demographics:
Perhaps you're aware of the commonly
held notion that national trends begin in New York and Los Angeles
and eventually drift to the middle of the country. This gets me to
wondering: Where do trends typically begin? I'm aware of several
books that discuss â€œwhoâ€? starts a trend, but I have
never seen anything on â€œwhereâ€? they begin. My guess is
that they typically start in urban areas, given the strong creative
populations found there, but have never seen anything that
Vice President, National Advertising
Village Voice Media, Inc.
New York City
The best breeding grounds for ideas and innovation tend to be urban areas. Our country's top creative centers include major East Coast cities, such as Washington, D.C., Boston and the Research Triangle area in North Carolina, as well as leading high-tech centers, such as the San Francisco Bay area and Seattle, according to Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class (Basic Books, 2002). These are places that draw more than their fair share of the 38 million â€œcreative typesâ€? in the U.S. This group includes not only people in the arts and entertainment, but also scientists, engineers and professionals whose jobs in business, finance, law and health care require outstanding problem solving skills. However, the genesis of â€œthe next big thingâ€? is not large cities only. Some less obvious places, such as Madison, Wis., and Huntsville, Ala., also boast significant concentrations of creative types. In fact, new ideas are often hatched in areas that are home to major research universities or institutions.
According to Simmons Market Research Bureau, you're more likely to find these influential consumers in the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York state, but excludes the New York metro area. Simmons, which is marketing a research tool that attempts to identify trendsetter types, found that people in these regions are 14 percent more likely than average to stand out as trendsetters.
Using Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference, (Little Brown & Co., 2000) as a starting point, Simmons director of statistical sciences, Max Kilger, devised a survey of 27 statements aimed at classifying the psychological traits shared by four different kinds of trendsetters Examples include: â€œI like to share my knowledge with othersâ€? and â€œI like to try new things no one else has.â€? Using the survey, he identified members of this small group of influential people who can take an idea or behavior and spread it, giving life to trends. Data Simmons collected shows not only who these powerful disseminators of information are, but also how best to reach them and with what type of message.
Trendsetting consumers excel at sharing attitudes and opinions.
They are generally engaged in life. That is, they tend to be more
active socially, civically and politically than average. They value
relationships, taking time to nurture them. They are also voracious
consumers of information. While influence is their currency, says
Kilger, Tipping Point people, who â€œtipâ€? fringe
attitudes over into the mainstream, are not necessarily famous.
Still, according to Kilger, lobbyists, politicians and powerbrokers
who operate inside the Beltway help boost the Mid-Atlantic's
Tipping Point Index to 114. The Greater Los Angeles area and the
Southwest, which encompasses Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas
and Louisiana, also index slightly higher than average for
influential types (109).
To the Editors of American Demographics:
I am looking for any research you
might have on consumers of bottled water.
The Lambesis Agency
Bottled water has been flowing more freely than ever in the U.S.
Americans quaffed 21.2 gallons per capita in 2002, up 116 percent
from 9.8 gallons in 1992, based on the most recent estimates of the
Beverage Marketing Corporation, a research and consulting firm that
covers the beverage industry. In 2002, we guzzled 5.9 billion
gallons in total and spent some $7.7 billion on bottled
Who is most likely to purchase bottled water? Both Mediamark and Simmons Market Research Bureau surveyed consumers on this question. But because Mediamark looked at bottled water and seltzer users, we chose to focus on Simmons' data, which looks at who drinks noncarbonated bottled spring water.
Bottled water drinkers tend to skew young or higher-income, two groups that don't often overlap. While whites are less likely than average to drink bottled water, Asians are far more likely to do so. Asian's relatively high incomes might be related to this tendency. Bill Imada, president and CEO of IW Group, a Los Angeles-based marketing communications company specializing in the Asian Pacific American markets, speculates that a number of factors could be at work. â€œBottled water projects an image that many Asian Americans understand and appreciate: [it's] high quality, fashionable, health-conscious.â€? He also notes that such water tastes fresher and seems healthier. Muslims are another group that is far more likely to drink bottled water. An emphasis on healthy living may play a role. â€œThere is a particular awareness among Muslims that they should consume wholesome and healthy things,â€? says Imam Omar Abu-Namous of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York.â€? It is one of the commandments of our religion that our food should always be sanitary and salubrious.â€?
Bottled water drinkers set high standards. They see themselves as perfectionists and are regarded by friends as fonts of knowledge on matters relating to health and nutrition. Perhaps that's because they tend to take a healthful approach to living. These water lovers are more likely than the average American to exercise at least once a week. They also tend to be environmentally conscientious: according to Simmons, they're less likely than average to buy cosmetics that were tested on animals.
People who agree that it is important to keep young looking are also more likely to guzzle bottled agua. They're probably the ones who insist on keeping themselves hydrated with the eight glasses of water a day that water marketers contend we need to imbibe to counter wrinkles.
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Fax: (212) 204-1823. Attention: Chris Reynolds
Address: 249 West 17th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10011
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