Posts by Mark Truss and Ann Mack - New York

AnxietyIndex: Republicans more anxious than Democrats over economy, leadership

ai_103110Republicans are more anxious than Democrats when it comes to the U.S. economy and political leadership, according to our latest AnxietyIndex study.

However, Americans’ overall anxiety has dropped to levels not seen since late 2007: 70 percent report feeling nervous or anxious, down from 76 percent last May and 82 percent in November 2008—the all-time high since we launched the AnxietyIndex in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

The online survey, fielded Oct. 18-25, polled 519 Americans aged 18-plus on their attitudes and behaviors in the run-up to the midterm elections, looking for variations by political affiliation.

The findings are significant for marketers, who have been waiting for the American consumer psyche to shift into closer alignment with GDP figures and are hoping for an upward swing following the midterm elections.

It seems that the sense of urgency to change leadership that the Democrats felt during the presidential election two years ago has been seized upon by the Republicans. Republicans are far more worried about Democrats maintaining control of Congress than Democrats are worried about Republicans taking the majority, and believe various factors will get worse with Democrats in control. For instance, 82 percent of Republicans said their tax burden would get worse if the Democrats maintain control, while 49 percent of Democrats said the same of Republicans assuming the majority.

To download the full study, click here.

NYC quantifies savings from going green

enviroJust as temperatures started to rise after a rain-soaked June, New York City launched a campaign to encourage people to “Be Cool & Smart” by reducing air conditioning-related electricity consumption. This is a part of an aggressive plan to reduce the city’s carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

One ad reads “Clean your air conditioner filters to save money. Dirty air filters make your A/C work harder & use more electricity.” Another tells subway riders to “Turn up your thermostat to save money. Each degree higher can cut your energy bill by 3% or more.”

Rather than emphasize the bigger, long-term “greener, greater New York” vision—which may be a bit abstract for some, especially during the sweltering summer months—the ads focus on the immediate monetary benefit. This is a much easier argument to make, especially at a time when people are trying to save money wherever they can.

As we found in “The Recession and Its Impact on the Environment,” consumers have adopted a number of behaviors over the past year that could be considered environmentally friendly—turning off lights/appliances when not in use, waiting to replace things until absolutely necessary, reusing things, etc. But as might be expected, the recession is a more dominant motivator for these behaviors than the environment.

For green brands benefitting from the recession, get in with the pockets and keep them with the planet. Leverage people’s concern over money to stimulate environmentally friendly behaviors and then work on changing attitudes (e.g., the impression that going green is more expensive) to help ensure people maintain these habits well past the recession. As the recession abates, brands will need to reinforce that these behaviors benefit the environment, not just the pocketbook.

(Click here to download the U.S. report on “The Recession and Its Impact on the Environment.” Please sign up for our subscriber alerts to be notified when the Australia, Canada, Japan and U.K. versions of the presentation are available.)

Straight from the consumer: Fear is driving coping behaviors

This spring, we partnered with ExpoTV, a video-based community, to discover more about how the recession is affecting consumers. We explored strategies people are using to cope with the recession, its direct impact on their lives, and the fear and uncertainty it has instilled. We created a video compilation of what was uploaded to us by real consumers sharing their personal stories. What we heard is that many Americans are coping not with the recession’s direct effects but rather with their fears of what it might bring.

Consumer insights provided by

This finding has been reinforced by our bloggers around the world. As a qualitative complement to our work with ExpoTV and our AnxietyIndex surveys, our bloggers asked people in their respective countries about the recession and its impact on their lives. Visit our Trends and Research page to read our takeaways from what American, Egyptian, Spanish, Singaporean, Thai, Argentinean and Mexican respondents, among others, told us.