The All-Powerful Creative Class

Here is an excerpt of an article I wrote for The Robin Report.

What.

In an article I wrote for The Robin Report https://www.therobinreport.com/the-creative-class-big-business-builders/, I argue that it is the creative class, more than the demographically defined group of millennials and gen Z, who will continue to radically change the global socioeconomic landscape.


I believe it is the creative class who have so definitively determined the rise and fall of retailers and brands over the past 16 years. Millennials and Gen Z’s have been studied and described by many research experts in a myriad of ways and yet a clear roadmap seems to have been lacking for traditional retailers. The risk of aggregating such an enormous sector of the population and assuming they are all the same is a quantitative mistake. Understanding groups through a psychographic lens reveals more meaningful understandings and insights of how their values, attitudes and lifestyles influence their choices as consumers. Overlaying the characteristics and preferences of the creative class on the millennials and Gen Z can provide a better roadmap to marketing and selling to them.


In 2003, Richard Florida www.citylab.com said cities which attract and retain creative residents prosper, while those that do not stagnate.

A Washington Post article, . https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/digger/wp/2017/04/17/as-the-creative-class-divides-america-its-inventor-richard-florida-reconsiders/ stated that Florida's argument, in short, was that in order to save themselves from post-industrial ruin, cities needed to attract the best young talent in computer programming, engineering, finance, media and the arts so their towns could build economies based upon the venture capital and start-up companies the new workforce would produce.


Now, here is that paragraph edited so that it applies to retail with the words retailers and shoppers instead of cities and residents:

Retailers which attract and retain creative class shoppers prosper, while those that do not stagnate.

In short, in order to save themselves from post-industrial ruin, retailers needed to attract the best young shoppers [in computer programming, engineering, finance, media and the arts] so their stores could build businesses based upon [the venture capital and start-up companies] the new workforce [it] would produce.


So What.

The blueprint for growth was laid out right in front of retailer's eyes! How could they miss these shifts that were happening in real estate, urban development, and the workplace and not evolve with it? As we have the luxury to stand in the present and judge the past, based on what we see today in traditional retail winners and losers, it’s tough to find any evidence that these powerful shifts were incorporated as economic drivers into many of the struggling traditional retailers’ strategic plans.


Now What?

Does that mean they should have put a bocce court in the middle of the cosmetics floor?

To be honest, for those who are lagging behind in understanding how the power of the creative class can play into economic success, a tremendous amount of work is needed. It's simple but that doesn't mean it's easy.

The work is daunting but Rome wasn't built in a day.

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