The 21st Century Human

Shockingly, we’re different. It’s hard to imagine humans changing as rapidly as we’re seeing, but it’s real. Yes, smartphones have liberated and empowered us. Yes, social networking has liberated and empowered us. But, that’s the enabler. The root is a shift in us, in our reordering of values, motivators and even needs.

Having spent 20+ years listening, analyzing, considering the needs, values, desires, motivators of humans through my time in branding, insight work and communications, I’ve seen a palpable shift that has also been informed and shaped by the brilliant Social Scientists that surround me in our units like in-sync, Verilogue, Saatchi Wellness, Razorfish Health, Discovery and Maxcess.

Let me share a theme that tipped me off.

Starting about a decade ago, we started to hear a turn of phrase often: “Is it worth it to me?” We heard it from people who were suffering catastrophic illnesses and deciding whether or not to take their medications that could improve their condition, perhaps prolong life. We heard it from moms and dads when they were deciding whether to disrupt their lifestyle by managing their conditions—most conditions that they perceived to have a significantly negative impact on their quality of life. Moms telling us they would rather drive their kid’s carpool than take their medication that came with a risk of side effects that may undermine their driving safety.

Worth isn’t as easy as price/risk tradeoff. It’s bigger than that. It’s about the harmony with their life values, with the want they want to live their lives.

The point? You need to understand the new human and importantly, rethink your branding approach to the 21st Century Human. More on that next time.

  • Janet Winkler

    Janet Winkler is Group President of Publicis Healthcare Communications Group. Janet leads a team of inspired professionals who are motivated to drive growth for clients. More than ever that means disrupting the conventional and providing ideas and solutions that leverage technology, insights, data & analytics, and consulting services, and do so in an integrated way.


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