WARNING – There’s No Such Thing as a Casual Consumer!

It’s true… The day of the casual consumer has come and gone. The 21st century consumer is anything but casual. In other words today’s consumer is much more sophisticated than in the past. The word discriminating comes mind. Allow me to explain…

I just finished reading the book – Saving the World at Work by Tim Sanders. This is a must read for anyone who wants to succeed in business. Mr. Sanders makes the point that today, consumers care much more about who they spend their hard earned dollars with than they did in the past. They are much more discerning. They want to know that a company is not focused on just making money. They are more interested in how they treat their employees, how they treat their vendors and whether or not they are giving back to their community. It’s called Social Responsibility and it’s not optional, in the mind of the modern consumer.

Some of this has to do with demographics. As Boomers age they are looking for purpose. Their grandkids’ future is top of mind and they want to make sure they are doing their part to ensure their children’s children grow up in a safe, clean environment.

Boomers grew up in the 60’s and spent most of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s making large amounts of cash and spending, in some cases more than they earned. While the economy had its ups and downs the Boomers mantra was “everything is cyclical” and they were always optimistic a downturn meant a return to prosperity was right around the corner which was typically the case. While Boomers remain optimistic the events of the 2000’s have caused many to be more guarded and ultimately more particular when deciding what companies they do business with.

Let’s not forget Gen Why – the twenty somethings. I hear a lot of skepticism about this generation particularly from their bosses who are often part of Gen X. Actually I happen to think Gen Why has it figured out. They are the epitome of the caring consumer. Through 24 hour a day media and “word of mouse” they have learned about companies that have violated American values in pursuit of the almighty dollar. They have watched a variety of corporate leaders in congressional hearings squirming in their seats as they try to justify their indiscretions. These events leave lasting negative impressions and cause Gen Why to think twice when they make their purchases.

I am inspired by the companies, most of which are relatively new, that get it. Starbucks is one of the more established of this lot. They made a socially responsible statement early on by refusing to do business with coffee bean growers who were paying workers less than a “living wage”. Even though consumers had to pay a premium for Starbucks coffee they were willing to do it because they knew the company was dedicated to doing the right thing. There are other reasons for Starbucks success however don’t underestimate the umbrella effect that “doing the right thing” has had on their brand and their business.

Others that come to mind include Zappo’s, SAS, Tom’s Shoes and Facebook.

I learned yesterday, viewing an episode of Oprah on my DVR, that Mark Zuckerberg Founder and CEO of Facebook has made a commitment to donate $100 million in support of a project to revitalize the school system in Newark N.J.

Interestingly enough Oprah had to convince Mr. Zuckerberg to appear on the show. If he had his druthers he would have done it anonymously. This young talented CEO is leading what may be the fastest growing company in the history of the free world and he is setting the example for “doing the right thing”. This is not a publicity stunt or a way to fatten Facebook’s bottom line. It’s an awesome act of generosity and kindness that is being done for all the right reasons. Is it a smart business move? I think brilliant describes it more appropriately. It’s brilliant because I truly believe the motive has nothing to do with corporate profit and everything to do with improving education for America’s youth.

I guess social responsibility is easier for the new guys because it’s been part of their business model since day one. It’s considerably more challenging for the more established corporations. First the older stodgier organizations have to admit they have a problem then they have to figure out how they are going affect change. Those who choose to maintain the status quo may not be around in 5 years to talk about.

Is your organization committed to doing the right thing when it comes to social responsibility? If not what are you doing to encourage change? I’ve had to ask myself that same question. Remember changing the world is like eating an elephant – we have to do it one bite at a time!

Views: 35

Tags: Facebook, Oprah, Responsibility, SAS, Sanders, Saving, Shoes, Social, The, Tim, More…Tom's, Work, World, Zappos, Zuckerberg, at


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Restaurants may feel the pinch of pricier coffee later this year

Prices for arabica coffee futures hit a 26-month high amid a drought in Brazil, which produces a third of the world's coffee  -More

McDonald's rules out all-day breakfast in push to simplify

McDonald's breakfast menu accounts for 25% of the chain's U.S.  -More

Easy ways to use 5 uncommon spring greens

As light, crisp greens arrive at farmers markets and grocery stores, chefs are finding creative ways to add them to spring me -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

National Restaurant Association Offers Training DVDs on Harassment Prevention, Social Media Use, and Customer Service

The National Restaurant Association has released three new DVDs that offer best practices in dealing with harassment and discrimination, customer service training, and the first of its kind video guide on the use of social media.

Yum! Brands Reports First-Quarter EPS Growth of 24% Excluding Special Items

China Division System Sales Increased 17% with Operating Profit Growth of 80%; Yum! Reaffirms Full-Year Guidance of at Lea

Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes Certified As Nation's Largest 'Green' Restaurant Chain

National Group Salutes Country's Only Large Restaurant Group to be 'Certified Green Restaurants®'

National Restaurant Association and EatStreet Release Online Ordering Guide

The National Restaurant Association and EatStreet have released a free educational guide focusing on online ordering and emerging restaurant technology trends.

Boyd's Coffee Launches Single-Cup Coffees For Retail And Foodservice

The coffees come in a variety of roast levels and include organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ options: French No. 6®, Red Wagon® Organic Coffee, Good Morning™, Hi-Rev® (delivers more caffeine), and Lost Lake™ Decaf Organic Coffee.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Hamish Jolly: A shark-deterrent wetsuit (and it's not what you think) - Hamish Jolly (2013)

Hamish Jolly, an ocean swimmer in Australia, wanted a wetsuit that would deter a curious shark from mistaking him for a potential source of nourishment. (Which, statistically, is rare, but certainly a fate worth avoiding.) Working with a team of scientists, he and his friends came up with a fresh approach — not a shark cage, not a suit of chain-mail, but a sleek suit that taps our growing understanding of shark vision.

TED: Michel Laberge: How synchronized hammer strikes could generate nuclear fusion - Michel Laberge (2014)

Our energy future depends on nuclear fusion, says Michel Laberge. The plasma physicist runs a small company with a big idea for a new type of nuclear reactor that could produce clean, cheap energy. His secret recipe? High speeds, scorching temperatures and crushing pressure. In this hopeful talk, he explains how nuclear fusion might be just around the corner.

TED: Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win - Sarah Lewis (2014)

At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece. She asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service