Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: Fearless Freddies: Bungee-Jumping in the New Economy

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published March 30, 2009

In these uncertain times, most people are seeking protection and safety from the prospect of even more economic turbulence. But another group is going bungee-jumping into the middle of the financial crisis — bravely increasing their investments even as the markets and the financial system collapse and gloomy predictions abound.

These “Fearless Freddies” are the ones who had the stomach to invest in Citigroup when its share price dipped below a dollar. They are the ones buying oil (and oil stocks) as it hits new lows. They are down in Florida looking for condos and checking out the foreclosures. They are either the smartest people in this changed economy — or the dumbest.

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Wall Street Journal: Mark Penn Discusses Political Challenges Facing World Leaders

WSJ’s Kelsey Hubbard speaks with CEO of Burson-Marsteller about the challenges that world leaders will be facing and how deep these issues actually are and his reaction to the Prime Minister’s ideas.

The Boston Globe: For More Young Blacks, Its Cool to be Smart (Microtrends)

The Boston Globe

The New Cool Kids: Part of a rising counterculture, smart, black teenagers are flexing their intelligence instead of hiding it

“…Perhaps riding on the rise of prominent post-civil rights black leaders including Obama, more and more black kids are stepping up the smart quotient with a new level of pride.

Those who track youth culture are taking notice of this segment of the millennial generation – the name for today’s youths who are raised to be confident and to believe they are special, and told they have the power to change their world. These observers characterize millennials as far more engaged than their Generation X predecessors.

Author E. Kinney Zalesne calls them “black super-achievers,” teens rising under the radar and shattering stereotypes.

When it comes to indicators of good citizenship – voting, volunteering, and religious participation – many black teens are succeeding, with little notice, said Zalesne, who co-authored “Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes.”

“The notion of achievement is [more ] deeply embedded in the African-American culture than most people give it credit for,” Zalesne said in a recent phone interview….

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iMedia Connection: Reach Consumers Who Friend Before They Spend (Microtrends)

iMedia Connection

Reach Consumers Who Friend Before They Spend
Ever scoured the web for information about a brand of shampoo you’ve been considering using? Did customer reviews on Overstock or Amazon play a role in any of the purchases you made this past holiday season? Have you “Googled” a date’s name before, or after, going out with them? You may be a New Info Shopper if… (read doing your best Jeff Foxworthy) you answered yes to any of these questions. And, according to a recent online Wall Street Journal article, advertisers and marketers looking to improve their bottom line may want to start paying closer attention to the way you and your fellow NISs operate.

Finding, then seeing, is believing
E. Kinney Zalesne, who co-authored the WSJ.com article, along with the book Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes with Mark J. Penn, contends that this new breed of consumer primarily trusts information it finds on its own — not necessarily what you provide in your outreach. The Microtrends shopper’s survey conducted for the January 8 article found that 92 percent of those surveyed believed information they got on their own over information they got from a salesperson or clerk. And 78 percent of the respondents felt television ads don’t contain enough information to make a purchase decision.

“That’s really a profound shift in attitudes towards shopping,” says Zalesne, who attributes at least some of this shift to a decrease in the power of branding. “I think part of what we’re seeing in the New Info Shopper is that people are not as willing to rely on brand. And they’re not as willing to assume that a fancy name, or a popular name, will be the right product for them.”

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Mark Penn Participates in BusinessWeek’s 2009 Media Summit

Mark Penn participated in the summit’s panel entitled “Global Media and Advertising: The Transition – TV, Broadband, Mobile and Social Media,” alongside other communications industry leaders. Participants addressed the transformation of advertising in the face of digital media, with a view towards a more holistic understanding of what the next generation of the industry will look like.

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: Value is the New Green

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published March 13, 2009

Until recently, being green was the best way for companies to demonstrate a sense of social responsibility, and for consumers to feel good about their purchases. Healthy food, hybrid cars, energy efficiency — these were the attributes that burnished brands.

But now green is taking a back seat to a new core value — value. Green hasn’t gone away, but companies are having to consider their “value” equation to try to serve the millions of consumers who either can’t afford premium experiences, or just don’t want them anymore.

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MSNBC: Mark Penn Explains Recession Microtrends on Morning Joe

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Strategist Mark Penn discusses how unprepared the US is for the newly unemployed masses

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: Laid-Off Lawyers and Other Professionals

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published March 2, 2009

With all the concern about America’s manufacturing sector losing jobs, it is easy to miss that the newest phenomenon is the wholesale loss of professional jobs, the very jobs that fueled America’s economic resurgence and political realignment over the last decade.

America has been losing manufacturing jobs for decades. The rest of the world has, too, including China, mostly because automation has made manufacturing more efficient. In the meantime, we have had huge growth in America’s professional class: engineers, software writers, lawyers, doctors — even licensed massage therapists.

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