The Business of Aspiration
How Social, Cultural, and Environmental Capital Changes Brands
The Business of Aspiration is about how consumers' shifting status symbols affect business and brand strategy. These changing status symbols, like taste, aesthetic innovation, curation or environmentalism create the modern aspirational economy.
In the traditional economy, consumers signaled their status through collecting commodities, Instagram followers, airline miles, and busy back-to-back schedules. By contrast, in the aspirational economy, consumers increasingly convey status through collecting knowledge, taste, micro-communities, and influence. This new capital changes the way businesses and entire markets operate, and yet the modern aspirational economy is still an under-explored area in business and culture. The Business of Aspiration changes that.
In this book, marketers will find examples, analyses and tools on how brands can successfully grow in the modern aspirational economy. The Business of Aspiration answers questions like, "what is good for my brand long-term?", "how is this business decision going to impact our culture?" or "what are the main objectives of our growth?" Marketers will learn to shift their brand narrative and competitive strategy, to create and distribute new brand symbols, and to ensure that their brand’s products and services create both monetary and social value.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Modern Aspiration Economy
1. To Hack Growth, Brands Have to Hack Culture First
2. Three Models of Social Influence
3. Why Taste Communities are the Future of Marketing
4. Mimicry as Taste: Why Cultural Sameness is a Matter of Social Design
5. The 4Cs: Brand Strategy Meets Aspiration Economy
Conclusion: Coronavirus Killed the Modern Aspiration Economy. What Comes Next?
Ana Andjelic is a strategy executive, author of The Business of Aspiration, and named as one of Forbes' World's Most Influential CMOs. She focuses on brand-driven management and growth of modern businesses and works with companies to develop new business models, value architectures and revenue streams.
"What is most inspiring and impressive about Ana’s writing is her ability to uncover such diverse and unique insights from across a wide range of terrain – be it creative, cultural, culinary, digital or fashion. She then succinctly translates these multi-layered insights into fresh perspectives and concrete strategic frameworks that can be applied globally by brands." - Rori DuBoff, Managing Director, Innovation and Strategy, Accenture Interactive
"What Ana captures in this book is a sea change of human behavior that is shifting the market. If the last age of brand thinking was about monetizing old symbols of status, the coming age will make moral value highly profitable, and it's all here in these pages. The Business of Aspiration is simultaneously a look into the future of business as well as the heart of today's consumer: the kind of intel any strategist or brand owner is always searching for." - Jasmine Bina, Founder and CEO of Concept Bureau, and Creator and Host of the Unseen Unknown Podcast
"If there's anyone who knows what makes the consumer tick, it is Ana Andjelic. This book is a distillation of her wisdom on how brands must move the needle to match the shifting values of aspiration, desire and transparency." - Mickey ALAM KHAN, Editor-in-Chief, Luxury Daily
"Ana Andjelic has written a must-read primer for marketers, brand owners, entrepreneurs and everyone else interested in business transformation…read this book - and learn from one of the smartest brains in marketing today." - Tony King, Founder and CEO of King & Partners
"Real stories about real products that create meaningful relationships with consumers still matter. And the consumers' needs are constantly evolving. They always have. but so many brands forget this. Or they think that faking it works too. It doesn’t. This book dives deep into the subject and offers unique insights." - Simon Collins, Founder and CEO of WeDesign, Founder of Fashion Culture Design, and former Dean of School of Fashion at the Parsons School of Design
"Ana Andjelic is able to see through the noise of trends and focus on the bigger story which are the elemental things that connect people, which is what branding is about." - Sam Valenti IV, Founder and CEO of Ghostly International
"There is no one better equipped to help brands navigate the ever-shifting aspirational economy than Ana. With her signature wit and candor, Ana combines years of experience, keen intuition and an unfailing ability to see two steps ahead of the curve to provide the type of insights that can transform a business and a mindset alike." - Steve Dool, Head of Brand Partnerships, Depop
"Brands across categories, take note. This book comes at the perfect time, when consumers have heightened awareness of brands’ values and tone deaf moves, and are making the conscious choice to wear brands they’re proud to support. This book acts as the ultimate guide to resetting priorities to be in step with the behavior of modern consumers, who have moved on from flaunting wealth and status to showing they have a conscience. They know that, based on their fashion choices, they could be seen as clueless and shallow or, as Ana says, woke. It’s a difference of wearing a Dolce & Gabbana logo or tagging an outfit of the day with #Gannigirls. Now is the time brands should be cleaning up their processes, checking in on their values and strengthening their community. Depending on the brand, this will serve as a checkpoint for priorities or a necessary wake-up call."- Jill Manoff, Editor-in-Chief, Glossy