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Spend Shift: How the Post-Crisis Values Revolution Is Changing the Way We Buy, Sell, and Live Kindle Edition

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Length: 289 pages
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A much–needed optimistic yet realistic look at how the recession might be prompting behaviors that will change our society for the better. America, argue the authors, is undergoing a radical but positive shift in consumer values, away from the buying frenzy of the last few decades. Tracking purchasing and social attitudes in the U.S., Gerzema (The Brand Bubble) and D′Antonio (Hershey) observe that the recession has encouraged a resurgence of old–fashioned values––self–reliance, hard work, thrift, and community service. They present studies of such salutary developments as neighborhood revitalization in Detroit, job training in suburban Dallas, and increasing entrepreneurship in Brooklyn. According to the authors, as people adapt to the crisis by seeking greater balance and more fulfilling daily lives, they′re more likely to shift to supporting local businesses (ensuring tax dollars stay in their own communities), learning traditional DIY skills, and paying attention to the ethical and environmental practices of the companies to whom they give money. (Oct.) ( Publishers Weekly, August 23, 2010)

Through indepth observation, expert interviews and unique market data describes the new value–driven economy and what it means for business.   (Ethical Corporation, September 2010).

Spend Shift offers 10 take–aways spelling out the traits of the new America... It′s a handy list for marketers and business managers The Wall Street Journal

A timely look at how the economic malaise has affected how and what consumers buy The Washington Post

Nothing and Everything What Consumers Expect from The New Normal The Huffington Post

Is this the future of commerce? –– Fast Company

The post–crisis consumer is a much different person. Consumers are making amends for their sins of credit and have become disciples of debit. They re simplifying and spending money that truly empowers and adds value to them while shedding the glitter and the bling. –– Forbes

If you recognize that you might have made a Spend Shift, want to explore what values other than frugality are being embraced by your kindred spirits coast to coast, or want to know how various companies and brands are making a very intentional effort to prioritize values over profits, Spend Shift breaks these national trends down to a very relatable, human scale while still providing a heavy dose of education about this major change in our collective consciousness around consumption.   The Boston Globe

How We Shop A New Revolution ––CNBC

From the Inside Flap

New spending patterns reveal how massive cultural value shifts can be recognized in today′s consumer behavior and are remaking capitalism for the better.

In Spend Shift, John Gerzema, best–selling authorand expert on consumerism, and Pulitzer Prize winning writer Michael D′Antonio travel acrossAmerica to document a renewal of hope andenterprise in the post–recession economy. Guidedby exclusive data from Young & Rubicam′s vastsurveys of public attitudes, the authors find thathipsters in Brooklyn, entrepreneurs in Tampa, and veterans in Northern California are all returning to age–old values such as self–reliance, faith, and thrift

to redefine the "good life." These value shifts can be

seen in consumers as mindless consumption becomes mindful. Through focused spending, consumers are influencing a myriad of companies and hoping to make the world a little better with each purchase.

Packed with insights from global leaders in market psychology and communication, Spend Shift also features interviews with business leaders from over fifty companies who understand the changes now under way. At companies like Zappos, Ford, Etsy, SunRun, and RecycleBank, to name just a few, the authors find executives who are harnessing new technologies and old–fashioned customer–first practices to make their companies more relevant, more resilient, and more profitable. These examples, and many others, show that while the consumer psyche is changing even faster than the economy, companies can adapt and thrive. In the process, they may also feel a lot better about their impact on the communities they serve and on the planet they share with their customers.

Compelling and insightful, Spend Shift is essential reading for anyone interested in how societal values are changing and how businesses can connect with customers who vote with their dollars, every day.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 682 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0470874430
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (2 Sept. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042JSM28
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,210,455 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Light at the End of The Tunnel 18 Oct. 2010
By Gretchen Fonda - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Spend Shift described a hopeful scenario for America as it emerges from the Great Recession. Over the past two years the cavalcade of bad news on the economy and the state of our union economically and socially has been non-stop. In particular, this notion of the New Normal described by some of the savvier investing minds out there has given me the impression that we are a country in decline. What Spend Shift revealed was that the apparent decline was simply a re-shuffling of priorities and a re-engineering of business to align with those priorities. Rather than declining America was simply establishing a foundation for growth for the decades to come.

I did not purchase Spend Shift to be inspired, but rather to understand resonant marketing themes that I might tap into as I start my own business. However, I came away inspired by the entrepreneurs who were taking the risks and connecting with customers and building sustainable businesses by understanding that customers were connecting their product choices to their values. It is stunning to read about these success stories during one of the worst economic periods in economic history. It was also fun to discover businesses like Brooklyn Brin (based in the city that I call home) that I had never heard about and now feel compelled to patronize.

I came to Spend Shift thinking I would learn a thing or two about marketing in the recession and I left Spend Shift having learned that America can go on and in fact can thrive during a time of massive deleveraging. Spend Shift had the requisite marketing lessons, but it was the narrative style and inspiring examples that lead me to rate this a 5.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
No more spendthrift? 19 Aug. 2012
By George F. Simons - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Here is a fresh paean to US American ingenuity and our can-do attitude. Gerzema and D'Antonio have written what appears to be a booster book for the US psyche and an examination of conscience for the US businessperson. The subtitle suggests in typical US hyperbole (language that promotes what it describes--the authors are, after all, business boys) that there is a values revolution in progress, a "revolution," not a "shift," not a "tendency," but the whole nine yards.

This claim is much based on the research undertaken with the BrandAsset® Valuator, which claims to show that "Over half the US population is now...seeking better instead of more, virtue instead of hype, and experiences over promises." This research tool is a proprietary tool of Young and Rubicam where Gerzema holds the title of Chief Insights Officer. In the end, it is a book about marketing.

Spend Shift appears apolitical in a sense that it tells stories of how US Americans in various cities around the country are taking charge of their lives in a variety of ways, in the face of the financial crisis. On the other hand, we could say that it is deeply political in the sense that it describes or perhaps promotes the "do-it-yourself," "bootstraps" approach to the revitalization of US life and community structures, while at the same time makes the assumption that there will be a sea change in consumer attitudes that will force organizations and coerce government to behave differently and more responsibly to their consumers and their citizens. This will usher in a whole new era of how money works and how the American Dream and US society will be shaped in years to come. Throughout the book there are parables told of both startups and established corporations who have adopted the new values or, having held such values even before the crisis, are now even more benefitting from them as consumer attitudes shift in their direction.

Is it a utopia leaning slightly to the right of the political spectrum, trying to create a new middle that embraces many leftist energies? Well, we shall see. Let's leave that question up in the air and look at what the book actually does and often does interestingly and well; it recounts how individuals and groups leverage optimism and hard work to improve the quality of their life and the lives of those about them. The stories are both inspiring and serve as models of what is possible on the micro level and how it may go on to both touch and create larger contexts. Written during what the authors call, "The Great Recession", Spend Shift is, given its timing, a present and forward-looking book. There is surprisingly little nostalgia here. Understandably it lacks the editorial retrospection of Studs Terkel's "Hard Times": An Oral History of the Great Depression (1970), and, of course, its marketing subtext makes it quite different from the populist journalism that Studs was famous for, though still a good read.

The types of stories told, are in the main urban, set in Kansas City, Detroit, Dallas, Boston, Tampa, Brooklyn, Las Vegas, Dearborn, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. By and large, whatever the level of hardship its protagonists' experience, one senses that they are as largely middle-class in terms of background, education and attitude, whatever the level of resources they access. The key messages are renewed entrepreneurship, building trust via customer service or serving others, and rebuilding fractured community. Critical behaviors are listening and responding and constant conversation in an era where the Internet, social networking that are the "fusion cooking" of a diverse USA that makes this possible in rich new ways. At the same time there is a sense of familiarity with what is being proclaimed-- the new values revolution is quite in line with what we have long identified as perennial US aspirations derived from national core values. It is an American book with Yankee perspectives.

There seems to be a sense that these refreshed attitudes are the essential building blocks to a bottom up restoration of the middle class that has been in decline no for close to half a century. We are left with the question of whether this "revolution" can overturn entrenched domestic and corporate attitudes in some definitive way, to the point where effective renewal will occur in both business and government at a time in history when we seem to have so definitively outsourced so much labor and imported so many products and services from abroad, and when much of the country is mired in poverty.

The last Chapter lists 10 takeaways, making it easy to summarize what the authors are trying to say:

1. We are moving from a credit to a debit society.
2. There are no longer consumers, only customers.
3. Industries are revealed as collections of individuals.
4. Generational divides are disappearing.
5. Human regulation is remaking the marketplace.
6. Generosity is now a business model.
7. Society is shifting from consumption to production.
8. We must think small to solve big.
9. America is an emerging market for values led innovation.
10. Everything will be all right.

Is this real or potentially real? Is this the contemporarily refreshed American Dream, a way of looking at hopes and possibilities that motivate us to start on a journey as immigrants to the future? One also wonders to what degree the Great Recession is itself receding worldwide and, especially with the USA currently swimming in election campaign hype where we are polarized into separate and seemingly incompatible versions of the American Dream. Are we really "post crisis?" Is what we read here "too good to be true?" Would this shift in values hold in better in the more economically balanced society that it aspires to create, or is it simply an unconscious strategic response, an adjustment to the environment shaped by the recent crisis? Would it be far-sighted enough to fix itself as a new culture that insists on corporate due diligence, financial honesty and governmental decision-making? Can it not only address planetary survival, but also lead us to thrive in new more humane ways? Is this book, in fact, also an entrepreneurial step designed to take us in the direction of the values shift it intends to identify? One turns over the last page of Spend Shift with many such musings, and with the disturbing personal question of one's role in what it describes as taking place.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Spend Shift 19 Oct. 2010
By Bobka Family - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Spend Shift should be required reading for every business person. Everyone has been wondering how the economic crisis has changed us, and this book and its research spell it out. If you're waiting for the consumer to "come back" quit holding your breath. Gerzema and D'Antonio help us understand what's different and how we need to reposition our business to appeal to the new sense of value.Spend Shift: How the Post-Crisis Values Revolution Is Changing the Way We Buy, Sell, and Live
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Fresh Perspective 18 Oct. 2010
By Jessica Green - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Spend Shift is John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonio's antidote to recessionary gloom. In contrast to the tired narrative of American decline, this book offers a countervailing vision of innovation and opportunity. Through the real-world examples of entrepreneurs confronting the downturn, we can understand the emerging values important to consumers. This book is an essential primer to the new economic reality.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A well written, well researched, eye-opening book 4 Dec. 2010
By Susanna Hutcheson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In the worst year of the Great Depression Fortune Magazine was started by brave, risk-taking men who believed in themselves and their product and their country. Fast forward to The Great Recession and we see a new sort of risk-taker and rule breaker. We see the average person using the tools at his or her disposal --- very often a laptop --- and building a good life for himself and others and depending on no one, especially the government that has failed us yet again.

The authors interviewed people in many U.S. cities who are doing something unique to create new lives and who care less about money and the things money buys. Moreover, they tend to be people who form bonds with others and these people help one another to get through this crisis and to grow their businesses and lives.

In times like these, people tend to think as socialists. By that I don't mean the Karl Marx sort that is a tool of a self-empowering government. But socialist as in collective. They are less capitalist and generally, history shows this will affect two generations before true capitalism returns and before the tightness with money ends and creates a generation like the Baby Boomers.

I read this book because, as a marketer and advertising specialist, I have a keen interest in how people relate to money and the things they buy. While I was somewhat disappointed in the small amount of space that particular topic took up, I learned a lot. The Great Recession has changed how people relate to money. It has affected what they feel is important to buy and not buy. What they thought was a "necessity" only a short time ago is now considered only a "luxury." This is a shift. And that's what this book is all about.

Highly recommended.

-- Susanna K. Hutcheson
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