Hedonism sells - how to communicate best in an indulgent society

A country’s relationship with indulgence or frugality goes deeper than a taste for designer handbags or a preference for saving towards a rainy day –it’s an entire value system. Studies show countries that value frugality, such as Japan, are categorised as low-indulgence countries. They tend to be more rigid, existing in tight-knit communities, with a societal belief that gratification should be suppressed; the autonomy of the individual isn’t a priority.

Here in the UK, we’re a high-indulgence society. That doesn’t mean we lie around on velvet couches eating cream cakes and watching “Catfish: the TV show” all day (though one can dream). High-indulgence countries tend to be wealthier, more optimistic, and place greater value and emphasis on the individual. This simultaneously means we’re easier to market to (because we love to buy stuff, especially stuff that will make our own little lives happier), but also difficult to hit the right tone (because we’re a tough crowd, cynical about advertising, and a bit too cool for our boots). How, then, can we use this insight to market to a high-indulgence society?

Social

High-indulgence countries put value on social relationships and interactions, and are likely to trust recommendations from friends and family. To use this to your advantage, offer incentives to people who recommend you; this will both help bring higher sales to your business and cement a positive relationship with your existing clients.

Applying this to your campaigns

Provide offers and incentives for referrals – if a client refers another client maybe they can get a discount on a contract renewal, a cash sum, or a voucher for a meal or spa trip. If you work in retail, perhaps consider offers such as providing money-off  vouchers to customers who email an offer to 10 people. There are small and manageable ways to do this that can pay massive dividends in customers’ eyes.

Freedom of speech

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As people in high-indulgence societies value their autonomy greatly, it’s wise to keep a conversation running on social media and listen to what people are saying. If people are having problems you should make an effort to fix these as quickly as possible. Take ideas on board and ensure your audience feel like they’re not yelling at a brick wall – or worse: being censored.

Applying this to your campaigns

Post blogs that engender debate and get people talking. Make sure you keep a very close eye on your social communities and keep one ear to the ground to see what people are saying about you – and address it as soon as you can.

Shiny happy people

Optimism is a big feature of high-indulgence societies, so it’s not surprising that marketing that emphasises happy (and attractive) customers does best. This also ties into another important factor for marketing to high-indulgence societies – customers like to see realistic role models. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a part of the day-to-day fabric of our lives in a high-indulgence society, and presenting a product in a way that not only seems as if it will make you happy, but also make you a cool person with an enviable life, is a sure-fire success bet. Wonder why?

Applying this to your campaigns

Keep your copy and images as upbeat as possible, aiming to create a positive atmosphere. However, steer clear of clichés if using role models in your campaigns, as audiences will respond negatively to this.

Humour

Us indulgent folk love a good giggle and don’t take ourselves too seriously. Just look at the majority of viral campaigns – they’re based on jokes. Using humour makes you seem accessible, makes your marketing shareable, gets people warming to you... the list goes on. Just make sure you’re actually funny first.

Applying this to your campaigns

Be funny on social media (even if it’s just occasionally) and people will warm to you. Don’t be afraid to use humour in your campaigns either – even the most straight-laced and professional of companies can benefit.

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