Status hungry go-getters are more style than substance

Most people believe that true character is built upon a foundation of inner strength and the cultivation of virtue and honour as the beacons of self leadership. Only through this can we be useful citizens who make positive contributions to society. Not The Aspirer, though — the seventh and last market group in the Y&R 4Cs segmentation series.

To them, character is only convenient if it projects an image of their progress and lofty status to a network of peers and potential employers. Aristotle states that there isn’t any human capacity known as over-ambition because ambition itself is entirely on the opposite side of indifference. Obviously he didn’t know any Aspirers, who are mostly fully paid up members in the club of over-ambition.

Unlike the bygone era where education inculcated intellectual and moral values in the individual, today the universities are unleashing these status hungry, self-promoting go-getters into the workforce and when they get there they say “If I don’t blow my own trumpet, who will?” The media doesn’t help either when they portray top entrepreneurs as overnight celebrities, a notion highly attractive to Aspirers.

When engaging this category you’d better offer jobs with a speedy rise to the top, otherwise the revolving door of high staff turnover will make you dizzy. However, the brands that support individual image building in society including lifestyle, luxury and the personal grooming products are thriving in their wake, as they seek to blend with the in-crowd.

They can’t afford the coveted premium brands and so they default to contraband and dirty franchises, replacing top-shelf products with their fake counterparts, crossing fingers and hoping that nobody tells the difference. After all life is about having the right swoosh, stripes or plaid patterns prominently displayed as you make an entrance at that job interview or arrive at the party when people look up and take notice.

The second hand car dealers have sold enough shiny Subaru’s with big, fat and noisy exhaust pipes sticking out like rocket boosters about to blast off from Houston, and the banks have dispensed loans to help Aspirers look like the supporting cast of the movie Fast and Furious. Furniture shops post signs in their stores with the warning, ‘No Fundis (carpenters) Allowed’ because Aspirers have acquired the habit of making rounds with their neighbourhood carpenters to ‘borrow’ designs in order to reproduce them cheaply.

The popular radio announcer Maina Kageni spoke directly to The Aspirer when he promoted Famous Grouse whisky years ago, positioning it as a premium, must-have beverage for any occasion. Aspirers were sold hook, line and sinker and bought the whisky blend at such an incredible rate that the market share shot through the roof. Meanwhile, Succeeders were sipping their aged single malt whiskies and shaking their heads.

By now you’ve observed that the packaging is more important to The Aspirer than the actual product performance and that they will gravitate towards brands that are in high demand. If your advertising is aimed at this group, the creative approach must be one that fits in with the image that they are trying to create and the lifestyle that they want to be associated with. They are particularly susceptible to high profile brand ambassadors that are popular but maintain a sense of independence.


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