Lifestyles of the Cultural Creatives (CCs)
Readers and radio listeners, much more than TV watchers: Cultural Creatives buy more books and magazines, listen to more radio, including classical music and NPR, and watch less television, than any other groups. About half of them are regular book buyers, which is far more than the general public. They are literate and discriminating, and dislike most of what is on TV. They demand good information, and have exceptionally good deception-detectors for ads and for misleading corporate or political claims in the media. They are particularly unhappy with the quality of TV news.Arts and culture: Most CCs are aggressive consumers of the arts and culture. They actively go out and get involved in it. They are much more likely than most Americans to be involved in the arts as amateurs or pros, and are more likely to write books and articles, and to go to meetings and workshops about creative endeavors.
Stories, whole process and systems:
CCs appreciate good stories, and want views of the "whole
process" of whatever they are reading, from cereal boxes
to product descriptions to magazine articles. They like a systems overview:
they want to know where a product came from, how it was made, who made
it, and what will happen to it when they are done with it. They hate
to read mail or articles that come in bullet points and race to the
bottom line (unless they are very time pressed and donŐt care much about
the topic). They also want symbols that go deep, and, more than most
Americans, they actively dislike advertising and children's TV.
Careful Consumers: CCs are the kind of people who buy and use Consumer Reports on most consumer durables goods, like appliances, cars, consumer electronics. For the most part, they are the careful, well-informed shoppers who do not buy on impulse. They are likely to research a purchase first, and are practically the only consumers who regularly read labels.
innovation: They are not the technology innovators
who buy the latest and greatest in computers, and many are just getting
onto the Internet. But they are at the leading edge of many cultural
innovations: CCs tend to be innovators and opinion leaders for some
knowledge-intensive products, however, including magazines, fine foods,
wines and boutique beers.
Home is important, but they buy fewer new houses than most people of their income level, finding that new houses are not usually designed with them in mind. So they buy resale houses and fix them up the way they want. They don't like status-display homes with impressive entrances, columns, gables: theirs are more inward-looking and hidden from the street by fences, trees and shrubbery. They tend to prefer established neighborhoods with a lot of trees and privacy, and want to stay far away from tract houses in treeless suburbs.
Styling in Homes: Their notion of what's included
in this category is all-embracing, including authentic New England salt
box, authentic Georgian, authentic Frank Lloyd Wright, authentic desert
adobe and authentic contemporary Californian. "What's good," as far
as CCs are concerned, is the building that fits into its proper place
on the land. They want access to nature, walking and biking paths, ecological
preservation, historic preservation, and to live in master planned communities
that show a way to re-create community.
decoration for CCs is typically eclectic, with a
lot of original art on the walls and crafts pieces around the house.
Many of them seem to think a house is not properly decorated without
a lot of books. The same house that vanishes from the street should
be personalized so that it shows on the inside who they are. Status
display happens inside the house not outside, though it is not blatant:
it is display of personal good taste and creative sense of style. CCs
would not buy a single decorator style that goes through the whole house.
The leading edge of vacation travel: CCs define the leading edge of vacation travel that is exotic, adventuresome-without-(too much)-danger, educational, experiential, authentic, altruistic and/or spiritual. They like tours of temples in India, tours of the back country where tourists don't go, eco-tourism, photo-safaris, fantasy baseball camps, save-the-baby-seals vacations, help-rebuild-a-Mayan-village-vacations. They don't go for package tours, fancy resorts or cruises.
Experiential consumers: Many CCs are the prototypical
consumers of the experience industry, which offers a more intense/enlightening/enlivening
experience rather than a particular product. Examples include weekend
workshops, spiritual gatherings, personal growth experiences, experiential
vacations, the vacation-as-spiritual-tour, or the vacation-as-self-discovery.
The providers of these services have to be CCs too, or they can't do
it authentically (the kiss of death), and so one sometimes gets the
impression that everyone is taking in everyone else's wash - or workshop.