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  • Writer's pictureMOCA+

A Decade of Influence: Changing the World by Design

By Michela O'Connor Abrams

Almost 20 years ago, in a book titled Cultural Creatives, sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson described a population of an estimated 50 million people who were characterized by these traits:

  • Authenticity: actions must be consistent with words and beliefs

  • Engaged action and whole process learning: seeing the world as interwoven and connected

  • Idealism and activism

  • Globalism and ecology

  • The importance of women

  • Core “Cultural Creatives” also value altruism, self-actualization, and spirituality.

Whether or not you ascribe to the “cultural creative” identity, these characteristics almost identically mirror our own Design Insights Forum.

For ten years, the insights gleaned from this panel-based study – which represents 13 million heads of household who plan to spend over $300 billion on everything in addition to food and shelter – has given us a powerful lens through which to view and understand these influentials.

The Design Insights Forum (DIF) captures the essence of the affluent, design-centric consumer as an imperative: design has always mattered and will continue to be a driver in everything we do. And that matters because they are in fact changing the world through a deeper understanding of design.

In our latest study, we find that confidence and influence are at an all-time high:

  • Luxury is still not a key identifier for them but they seek the finest in everything they purchase

  • Influence over others when it comes to aligning with brands and their products. 77% feel completely empowered to lead others to or away from brands

  • Social Status as a core value continues to decline in import: now at 5% from 11% in 2009

  • Confidence in their own financial well-being – even if they are concerned about the financial well-being of the country: 87% are optimistic about their continued success

As MOCA+ continues to track what is in the hearts and minds of this powerful group of design thinkers, leaders, consumers, we look forward to sharing more insights and getting your questions and your feedback.

If you are looking for ways to futurecast your customer, we can give you the tools through our panel of 8,000 affluent design-centric consumers. From Brand Value Scorecards to Custom Brand Insights and of course a view of our longitudinal tracking of the New Affluent, our unique ability to bring you closer to your customer set is what we love to do every day.

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