Inner city elites and suburban aspirationals: It’s not all beer and skittles

Recently, Old Taskmaster read a column in The Australian by Nick Cater echoing his recent book, The Lucky Country.


Of course, even those who haven’t read it would have found the topic familiar: The cultural divide between inner city elites and suburban “aspirationals”. It’s been a foundation stone of conservative politics in Australia since at least the days of Robert Menzies’ forgotten people.


According to this view, in a nutshell, the inner suburbs of our major cities are filled with latte-sipping elitists with fashionable progressive views on social issues. They’re people who are paid to think. An example Cater uses is Annandale, where lawyers outnumber tradespeople two to one.


This is in stark contrast to the more socially conservative aspirationals who live in the suburbs, small towns and the bush. The example Cater uses is Campbelltown, with its 69 journalists and 339 plumbers.


Now, whether or not Tony Abbott really is the voice of ‘aspirational’ blue collar Australia is a topic for another day – and another website. The far more interesting question is what this all means for your business.


Well, a few years ago Foster’s – purveyors of Cascade and VB to the suburbs of Australia – decided to try their hand at marketing a pseudo-craft beer to trendy inner city beer drinkers in Melbourne.


Unfortunately for Fosters, word quickly spread amongst the beer connoisseur crowd that Foster’s was responsible for this new brew. Despite millions of dollars of marketing and a carefully crafted strategy, its Nelson’s Beer brand sank without a trace.


A similar attempt by Foster’s rivals, Lion, ended in tears when they attempted to use the tagline “a craft beer you can actually drink”, managing to completely alienate their target audience in the process.


In a similar vein, it’s difficult to imagine anyone doing a roaring trade selling vicuñacinos in Frankston.


The moral of the story is simple. A business idea, marketing plan and concept which works well in the inner city might not translate to the outer suburbs, and vice-versa. This is particularly true if you’re looking into getting into the hospitality or food and beverage market.


Well, Old Taskmaster says this: It is absolutely essential to look through your target markets and demographics very early on in the planning process before starting your business. This should include whether your product is initially aimed at an inner city audience or a suburban one.


It can be the difference between having a thriving product your potential consumers can actually drink and one that leaves them feeling repulsed or offended.


Get it done – today!


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