CAPE TOWN: South Africa is a society and marketplace in a dynamic state of flux, avers Cape Town-based Consumer Insight Agency. It defines South Africans as a "complex bunch who refuse to lie down and be neatly boxed into stereotypical consumer groupings".
Avers CIA director Wendy Cochrane: "A fresh lens needs to be used to understand our vibrant, multifaceted and fluid social and cultural milieu".
And CIA claims to have come up with exactly that - the NOW Project, a collection of twelve qualitative studies that homes-in on a selected set of characters who, claims Cochrane, respectively represent a classic South African 'archetype':
- Loxion Dreamer
Young with ambitious dreams, frustrated by the everyday township ('loxion') reality.
- Township Mama
The rock of the family and backbone of the mass-market economy.
- Model C Go-Getter
'Cheese-boys and girls', starting out with a good education; ambitious but responsible.
Out of school, life has opened up, no responsibilities, living for now.
- New Age Yuppie
Young professionals, young families; responsible, self-actualising, optimistic; information-agers (predominantly white but increasingly mixed race, tertiary education).
- New Money
Driven to succeed. Social climbers, living the urban material dream.
- Polished Diamond
Access to new money and lots of it. Symbols of wealth increasingly understated; home and family important.
Secure families and empty-nesters, invested well and financially secure; consolidating, life is full and rich.
Enduring middle class, average Joe, old school values. Often frustrated with the new South Africa, feeling increasingly vulnerable but gaaning aan "boer maak 'n plan"
- Blue Collar Dad
Hard working and 'responsible' dad, employed, works for a boss. Life isn't easy, friends are therapy.
- Disillusioned Have-Not
'Shacklands'. Seeking 'better' urban life but trapped in poverty.
Once believed in the dream, now losing hope. Living off social grants and piecework.
Experienced and wise; traditional values increasingly challenged and frustrated by change in younger generation. Never retiring - ongoing struggle to support extended family and community.
But, stresses the study, nothing is engraved in stone: "As quickly as we define and segment our consumers, they seem to shift; leading us to conclude that boxing consumers indefinitely is a dangerously flawed exercise."
For further information on the NOW Project click here
Data sourced from Biz.com (South Africa); additional content by WARC staff