Beloit College recently released their Mindset List for the class of 2018. This year’s list contains 55 items that provide a look at the cultural touchstones that have shaped the lives of this fall’s entering class. Most of this year’s freshmen were born in 1996, just for fun; take a look at the world through their eyes:
- During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.
- When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.
- “Press pound” on the phone is now translated as “hit hashtag.”
- The water cooler is no longer the workplace social center; it’s the place to fill your water bottle.
- Women have always been dribbling, and occasionally dunking, in the WNBA.
- There has always been a national database of sex offenders.
- Bill Gates has always been the richest man in the U.S.
- “Good feedback” means getting 30 likes on your last Facebook post in a single afternoon.
- They have no memory of George Stephanopoulos as a senior White House advisor.
- Yet another blessing of digital technology: They have never had to hide their dirty magazines under the bed.
In general, the Mindset List is a statement of experiences and events that shape the views of this year’s freshmen. And since most people believe their views are accurate it must also represent their understanding of the truth. Their perception is their reality.
Marketing is involved in the process of dealing with perceptions. What makes the process even more challenging is that consumers frequently make purchasing decisions based on second-hand perceptions (friends, family and other social connections). In short, they make purchasing decisions based on another person’s perception of reality. If your organization views the world through a product-centric position you may be inclined to dismiss the perception challenge. Market research facts and figures convince you that the real truth is on your side and that the best product – your product, will win. Do you believe that all you need is to have the truth on your side? If so, you may need to modify your perceptions and embrace the phrase “through the eyes of the customer.”