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Mark Miller

Mark Miller



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Trendsetters: Team One’s Mark Miller Redefines Global Affluents as a Tribe with New Values

Mark Miller, Chief Strategy Officer at Team One, an ad agency that’s part of the global Saatchi & Saatchi network with proprietary research in premium categories and affluent consumers, would be the first to admit that people can be clearly segmented by the things that make them different. However, he firmly believes that today’s affluent and influential class has grown increasingly connected by the things they share in common.

In fact, he calls them the Global Affluent Tribe, a term that emerged after several years of study, based largely on research launched in 2010, and since maintained, in mature, evolving and emerging economies, including the United States, Western Europe, Japan, Brazil, China, India, Russia and the Middle East.

The research identified that there is a growing Global Affluent Tribe who are more united by what they love than by where they live, and are connected by five core unifying values: mobility, success, status, belonging and consumption.

According to Miller, these five priorities have long been among the concerns of the wealthy. Today, however, the Global Affluent Tribe is reinterpreting how they are expressed, particularly after experiencing the recent Great Recession. Such transformation makes a difference to brands that choose to embrace these changing values. Luxury brand that understand this shift have the potential to achieve new global relevance in our modern, connected world.

According to the research,

  • Mobility once prioritized portability; today it is the freedom to explore the world.
  • Success was once about what was passed down; today it is about the things you create yourself.
  • Status once meant collecting rare objects; today it is experiencing and sharing rare stories.
  • Belonging or networking was once exclusive and alienating; today there is more value in inclusion.
  • Consumption was once opulent and ostentatious; today it is more purposeful and meaningful.

Mark Miller acknowledges, “There continues to be a natural inclination by many regional marketers to lean into what makes the world more divided than united. At one level, the justification for this bias seems warranted as, around the world, people speak different languages, practice different religions, have different politics and so on.

At another level, however, there tends to be more of an emotional barrier than a reasonable one for not pursuing truly global strategies since the world is a far more connected place than ever before. A brand’s ability to speak uniquely to consumers in isolated geographic markets has nearly vanished because of the technology that has helped to bring us all closer together. This is especially true for premium global brands seeking to achieve relevance with global affluent customers, The Global Affluent Tribe, who are more connected by what they love than by where they live.”

Yet despite these sweeping similarities, the study also shows how there are quite tangible differences in regard to notions of wealth. According to Miller, “Following the recession, we saw affluent Americans demonstrating more resourcefulness in spending in areas of high personal value, while saving in other areas. In contrast, in the Middle East, there was more conspicuous consumption; personal value mattered, but public recognition mattered as much or more.”

Here’s a snapshot of the five core unifying values that unite today’s growing Global Affluent Tribe:

Mobility—Travel & Self-Discovery
Today, the Global Affluent Tribe continues to be increasingly connected, not separated, by their expanding global footprint. They lead mobile-anchored lives and do not define themselves by their ZIP or postal code. They seek brands that arm them for their lifelong journeys rather than simply acknowledging them.

Success—The many routes to success
To the Global Affluent Tribe, success means carving your own path and creating new roads to luxury. Where you come from no longer defines where you are going. They seek brands that champion their own alternative routes and exhibit their own rich and unexpected stories.

Status— Knowledge as Currency
For the Global Affluent Tribe, expertise and connoisseurship are today’s currency of status. They take pride in uncovering the world’s best-kept secrets and sharing them. Rare knowledge has become today’s most precious stone. The experiences they have collected are more valuable than the things they own. While they continue to appreciate brands that sell expensive things, today they increasingly seek out brands that offer opportunities to learn.

Belonging—Inclusiveness as Specialness
Special privilege and elite access were once staples of affluence; the Global Affluent Tribe now equally values inclusive access and connection among like-minded members. While The Global Affluent Tribe continues to value brands which offer elite experiences, they increasingly appreciate brands that find ways to offer larger, cultural value which can be enjoyed at all levels of wealth.

Consumption—Meaningful & Purposeful

Discerning shoppers, the Global Affluent Tribe recognizes their wealth has influence. They don’t just think about the short-term effects of their choices but consider the care and quality that goes into a product. While the Global Affluent Tribe once placed increased value on opulence and ostentation, now they value goods that are increasingly purposeful and meaningful. While in the past this has meant preferring more socially conscious goods, today it also means valuing brands that offer personalized and specialized products.