Have you felt the end of the recession yet?
It’s officially been over for quite a bit but, you and I both know, the global economic crisis is far from over.
The economy is in a period of great reset. The old ways will fall away and new ways of commerce will prevail. This isn’t a far flung prophecy; it’s an observation of changes taking place already.
At the heart of this change are prosumers: you, dear readers.
Prosumers are not cogs in the wheel of commerce, automatons that answer to the circuitry of “jingles and jokes.” Prosumers are people whose acumen for consumption puts them in control of their own buying habits. They take part in the production process with their feedback, demands, and choices.
As we know, friends, some prosumers have even jumped into the production process in the literal sense.
More & more consumers are learning that business depends on them – not the other way around. More & more consumers are learning that they can force business to treat them like people with values and not impulse buying machines.
So, if “prosumer” sounds like you, I’m not surprised. And you really are changing the world, here’s how:
1. We’re choosing better over more.
It’s not just about choosing higher quality or better ingredients, although that’s certainly part of it. Choosing better over more means that we’re demanding that products & services better meet our needs. Never has marketing to the masses been less effective.
The one thing that’s been holding [consumers] back is their ability to discriminate. By restricting their demand they can actually align their values with their spending and drive capitalism to not just be about more, but about better.
— John Gerzema
We’re not looking for products that display excess. Frugal chic is on trend – and in the best way possible. Go ahead, splurge on a handmade hoodie or an iPhone, you haven’t been buying that candy & crap on either side of the registers and suddenly have more dough in your pocket.
2. We’re creating our own jobs.
Instead of waiting for the economic crisis to abate, we’re choosing to go it alone. The jobless and underemployed are looking to freelancing, self-employment, and specialty services to create their own security. In turn, they are learning the ins & outs of the way money flows, how the production process works, and how services affect people’s lives on a daily basis.
As more people make this a viable option, prosumer culture gains new, powerful advocates who are producing products & services just for them.
3. If we don’t find what we like, we’re willing to try to do-it-ourselves.
DIY culture and prosumer culture are not dissimilar. Instead of waiting for multi-national corporations to jump on cutting edge trends or on our own personal tastes, we’re willing to give it a go ourselves.
In the past, “the choice that required the least thought, the least effort was more often than not considered the right one.” But the game is changing and, often, the choice that requires thought, effort, and creativity is prized over all others.
Don’t see a wreath for your door that you like? Make one yourself. Don’t like the food choices at in your area? Make take out at home. Don’t like the online social networks that currently exist? Create your own.
Prosumers aren’t satisfied with things that don’t meet their needs. The solution is to innovate. We’ll do it ourselves until big business jumps on board – if they ever do…
4. We’re demanding that our purchases support our values.
Your t-shirt support AIDS research, your coffee supports the rain forests, your cereal supports clean water in Africa.
It’s heard not to buy a product that supports something you believe in. You can choose to spend a little more to get the best fit. Or you can choose to stay brand loyal to voice your support for the cause.
Sure, it’s great marketing. But we’re the ones who demanded it.
Values driven spending is not the fastest way to solve world problems but its better than doing nothing.
5. We care about community.
Yes, prosumers care about spending money in the communities they live in, making the choices that affect their neighbors positively.
But prosumers also consume in community. Whether through social networking online or traditional word of mouth, we’re using community to help us make buying decisions. We find deals, unusual menus, unique gifts, friendly staff, and and great service by being more open than ever with the way we spend our money.
In the end, being a prosumer, a mindful spender, means understanding that you always have a choice. Even when it seems that we’re forced one way or other because of time or money, we have a choice and there were choices that got us to that point.
Our choices, our spending habits, and our voices are weapons in the battle to reverse the economic crisis and rebuild the global economy in a way that we’re proud of and not merely a part of.
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