According to sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson, there is an emerging market segment known as the “cultural creatives” who make up approximately 50 million adult Americans (slightly over one quarter of the adult population). In their 2000 book entitled The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World the authors sought to research, quantify, and categorize this emerging set of individuals and their respective values in order to better understand the group that, if mobilized, could eventually wield enormous social, moral, and political influence. From the synopsis of the book on Amazon.com:
‘Cultural Creative’ is a term coined by Ray and Anderson to describe people whose values embrace a curiosity and concern for the world, its ecosystem, and its peoples; an awareness of and activism for peace and social justice; and an openness to self-actualization through spirituality, psychotherapy, and holistic practices. Cultural Creatives do not just take the money and run; they don’t want to defund the National Endowment for the Arts; and they do want women to get a fairer shake–not only in the United States, but around the globe.
Since Ray and Anderson assert that “values are the best single predictor of real behavior,” it’s important for marketers to understand this demographic segment and their underlying values, which of course guide purchasing behavior. Below is a list of values associated with the profile of a Cultural Creative (courtesy of the World Forum web site):
- embrace technology and economic development but only within a deep affirmation of the environment and community;
- tend to view the world from the perspective of holistic systems;
- pay attention to world events and global trends;
- can be characterized as both inner-directed and socially concerned;
- have spiritual and psychological depth as well as the maturity needed for a new culture;
- are also intensely entrepreneurial and creative: founders and leaders of most of the green and socially responsible businesses; involved in many of the most socially active NGOs and non-profit organizations; etc.
Members of the Cultural Creative subculture are also known as the LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) market segment. Worldwatch Institute reported that the LOHAS market segment in the year 2006 was estimated at $300 billion, approximately 30% of the U.S. consumer market, and … wouldn’t you know it, there’s even a web site dedicated to the LOHAS movement that provides business-focused resources on the growing LOHAS market and serves as the central hub for education, updated news, and B2B gatherings of those cultivating the LOHAS movement.
For what it’s worth, below is a short video I came across that begins with an interview from Paul H. Ray, which provides more detail about the inspiration behind the research for the book: