It doesn’t matter if you fall down, it’s whether you get back up – just ask Michael Jordan, or a Striver.

  1. We’re all wearing purple now. Why we’re focusing more on how we feel than how we look in a post-pandemic world.
  2. It doesn’t matter if you fall down, it’s whether you get back up – just ask Michael Jordan, or a Striver.
  3. Adapter, Thriver or Survivor – three different shifts in ambitions and values as a result of Covid-19
  4. How brands can help consumers navigate their changing ambitions and values

Has the Coronavirus pandemic changed what’s important to you? Are you feeling fired up about achieving your ambitions and living a meaningful life or are you focussing more on getting by day to day? Most people may be somewhere in between, with 41% of the UK saying they feel more inspired to pursue their ambitions now than they did before the Coronavirus pandemic, but this doubles to a whopping 82% among a segment of society we’ve called Strivers.

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Who are Strivers?

Proprietary research by Old Salt and Little Wing examining the impact of the pandemic on our values and ambitions has found that 1 in 10 UK adults (11%) is a Striver. Strivers have experienced greater shifts in their values and ambitions as a result of the pandemic than any other segment in society. For them, a wide range of values and ambitions have become more important and hardly any have become less important. Strivers have realised the value of living a meaningful and healthy life and have their eyes on the prize!

This all sounds very positive, and you could be forgiven for thinking, perhaps with a hint of envy, ‘who are these people feeling so pumped up and positive post-pandemic!?’. But Strivers are not superhuman. They’re twice as likely as the average UK adult to have felt anxious about not being able to plan for the future since the pandemic started (81% of Strivers agree vs 43% of all adults). Strivers also have higher levels of self-reported anxiety than the rest of the UK, with 58% of Strivers reporting high anxiety vs 38% of all adults, and were more likely than the average person to have experienced a reduction in their income, be placed on furlough, have medical treatments delayed or have postponed a major life event as a result of the pandemic.

A small but attractive audience for brands

It’s been a tough ride for Strivers. But as Michael Jordan said, it doesn’t matter if you fall down, it’s whether you get back up, and Strivers are now standing tall, focussing on building a life that makes them happy, includes more time with loved ones and feels meaningful. This focus on creating an authentic life also translates into their relationship with brands, whom Strivers strongly feel have a responsibility for building and encouraging inclusive societies (86% of Strivers agree with this statement, with 45% of Strivers strongly agreeing vs 52% of all adults agreeing and 16% of all adults strongly agreeing).

And brands need to get it right for Strivers. Although a relatively small audience, Strivers skew to the higher social grades – 2 in 3 are ABC1 – making them an attractive target audience, and they are heavy media consumers making them easy to reach via advertising. But they’re also more discerning, with 4 in 5 agreeing they’re more careful about how they spend their money since the Coronavirus pandemic, compared to 3 in 5 of all adults.

What do Strivers want from brands?

Strivers have high expectations from brands, in particular they want brands to provide products and services people genuinely need (87% vs 66% of all adults); to recognise and celebrate individuality and diversity in the products and services they produce (82% vs 55% of all adults); and to be ethically and environmentally conscious (82% vs 48% of all adults). Alongside this, Strivers would welcome the opportunity to help shape the products and services that brands create (79% vs 49% of all adults) and are keen to see their values reflected in the brands they consume (78% vs 44% of all adults).

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Social causes and the local community are important to Strivers, so brands that offer genuine support to society should be well received. Virtual or physical community or cultural spaces represent a great opportunity to reach Strivers – they’re heavy social media users across a wide range of platforms but particularly over-index for use of LinkedIn and Nextdoor, both of which they’re twice as likely to use vs the average adult. They’ve visited a wide range of out-of-home destinations in the last four weeks and are more likely than all adults to be out and about, especially visiting the cinema, working out at a gym or fitness class, going to a museum or exhibition, or in a place of worship.

Strivers are a fascinating segment of society with huge potential for brands to build lasting relationships with as they recover from the pandemic. If you’d like to know more about Strivers, who they are demographically or what their other traits are, and how they interact with your brand, please get in touch!

Findings are based on proprietary research by Old Salt and Little Wing involving expert interviews with consumer and business psychologist Dimitrios Tsivrikos, wellbeing and life coach Leanne Evans, and cultural and consumer trends expert Ruth Marshall-Johnson, and an online survey with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 UK adults aged 16+, segmented on their ambitions and values.

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