A good life and a happy family are aspirations for the foreseeable future.

We have been cool-hunting and sharing our findings on the disposition and attitude of the ‘cool folk’ (people aged 14-34.) And we discovered things that would make a marketing professional sit up and perhaps rethink his or her Kotler, Trout and Porter!

Nevertheless, we decided to shift gears for our current probe and get to where all this is rooted — the mental make-up of the cool folk that determines their actions as consumers. We asked them to list what they seek in the near future. We realised it would be difficult to peg it to a pre-decided timespan as that went against the spirit of cool-hunting. However, one of our young back-end team stars (all of 22) came up with the suggestion that we need to capture the timespan that respondents use as a point of reference for ‘foreseeable’ future which, she argued, will help establish a context for marketers. Bingo! For the 233 respondents who were in the filtered list for consideration, that ‘foreseeable future’ was 3-6 years.

The top four responses that came up are ‘good life’, ‘happy family’, ‘wealth and health’, ‘peace & love’. Almost 40 per cent of our respondents aspire to a good life and are working for it. This includes fancy cars, gadgets, good homes, and travel. True to living on either side of the spectrum, the next popular response was ‘happy family’, with one-fourth of the respondents aspiring to it. Amassing ‘wealth’ was a close third, followed by ‘health, peace and love’.

We ran through our findings with sociologist Aarushie who told us to club ‘good life’ and ‘wealth’ as they represent materialistic aspirations in comparison to ‘happy family, health, peace and love’. Now, what does this show? Sixty-two per cent of the respondents have materialistic aspirations. Aarushie challenged us to probe deeper into the remaining 38 per cent as she believes a significant number would identify materialistic aspirations as a means to ‘happy family or peace of mind and even love’.

Overall, the hunt has thrown up something that is in sync with what the marketing fraternity believes: Cool folk are driven by materialism. It seems the song ‘Rockstar’ by the Canadian band Nickelback is an apt anthem: “I’ll need a credit card that’s got no limit, And a big black jet with a bedroom in it”, not to mention “A bathroom I can play baseball in!” Or should that be cricket?

(Giraj Sharma is an independent brand consultant and a compulsive cool-hunter.)

(This article was published on August 16, 2012)
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