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Understanding MindSets to be relevant

groups of people crossing pedestrian crossing

The marketing industry is largely dominated by progressively minded individuals.

In a nutshell

  1. The marketing industry is dominated by progressively-minded people, but almost two thirds of the New Zealand population see themselves as having traditional values. 
  2. Our MindSets tracking enables us to move beyond demographics to identify groups of people that share the same outlook on the world and have similar motivations.
  3. Using MindSets, we can tailor our communications so they will resonate with the values of our target audience, whether it be around the environment, marriage, family, mate-ship, or material possessions. 

They are praised as brave for running increasingly edgy and challenging campaigns.

But it’s worth remembering that here in New Zealand, almost two thirds of the population see themselves as having traditional values, while only a third view themselves as progressive. This can’t be simply explained by an aging population either because almost half of those under 35 consider themselves traditional. As Chloe Swarbrick says, “Young people aren’t a homogenous group, that’s why the Young Nats exist, they don’t all vote Green”.

In our study of New Zealand’s favourite TV ads, we see strong traditional themes coming through too – marriage, looking after family, looking after your mates. These themes are measurably more important to younger traditionals than to younger progressives.

Our MindSets tracking enables us to move beyond demographics to identify groups of people (“MindSets”) that share the same outlook on the world and have similar motivations. We can tell a lot about the young traditional portion of New Zealand society and how they differ from those with more progressive views.

The differences between the groups are consistent across older age bands too. In effect, younger traditionals tend to have more in common with older traditionals than they do with progressives of the same age.

One thing that does resonate across the board, regardless of mindset, is the importance of preserving the environment (although to varying degrees). Environmentally orientated brands can have a broad appeal in the New Zealand market. Meridian’s latest ‘Wind.Water.Sun’ ad has proven very popular – the humour in the ad is the biggest driver of appeal, but the message that Kiwis go to great lengths to protect the environment is also broadly relevant.

While the progressives are more focused than traditionals on making the world a better place, that doesn’t necessarily mean a focus on the environment in their day to day lives. Progressive’s highest priority is making life easy and they are more focused on saving money than on reducing the amount of waste they produce.

Our young people are coming of age within a complicated globalised world. Sure there’s lots of opportunity, but that means lots of decision making, and that can become quite a burden.

So no wonder making life easy is the young progressive’s priority. Brands that make the world a better place by reducing friction and choice-anxiety will win with this group – that means helping progressives get ahead by reducing their burden, not asking more of them.

Young traditionals on the other hand seem to be reacting to a complex world by lowering their material expectations. Why strive to get more and more when you can keep it simple and accept your financial situation for what it is. Brands that provide the antidote to an overly monetised world will win here – that means simple and reliable can be of more value than complex and flashy.

“That kind of lux just ain’t for us, we crave a different kind of buzz” – Lorde

headshot of Carl Sarney, Head of Strategy at TRA
Carl Sarney
Head of Strategy at TRA
Carl has 20 years of insight industry experience. He is specialised in brand and comms strategy with a proven history of effective work for his clients, including several gold awards for advertising effectiveness. His research work has taken him to just about every town in New Zealand to speak with people from all walks of life. He's also conducted qualitative research in eight more countries while based in London for two years and spent seven years as an ad agency planner before joining TRA in 2018.

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