Values and Lifestyles (VALS) can be described as the way individuals view other people about their needs, beliefs, wants, attitudes, and demographics. The VALS were developed to try to change the mindset of individuals into thinking about the individuals who attempts to comprehend the existing trends of the current times such as economically, sociologically, humanity, politically, and in the marketplace. The VALS approach is currently used in many different areas of commerce and is also creating interest in other circles including politics, education, sociology medicine, and law (Valentine et al, 599).
Values and Lifestyles typology can be illustrated as a fundamental instrument for the VALS program. The typology is categorized into four groups that include; outer-directed, need-driven, inner-directed, and the combined inner and outer directed. The VALS and the traditional beliefs are connected in ways such as during the hard times; individuals do not tolerate any show-off, and expensive lifestyles and the consciousness of the society regarding such matters expands (Ghosh, 25).
The need-driven VALS typology tool covers the individuals that are limited in financial resources to an extent where the lives of such people are driven by the need more than by preference and choice. Research has shown that individuals in this category are the ones that are furthest detached from the mainstream of the cultural beliefs with little awareness of the current events thus is inclined to withdrawal and depression. I take myself to be in this group due to the limited choices I have resulting from inadequate financial resources (Sathish & Rajamohan, 161). The values of a need-driven individual are centered on safety, survival, and the security of people. Individuals such as me who are in this category we are more likely to be dependent, distrustful, and un-planning living miserable lives that are focused on meeting their current day needs (Valentine et al, 604). The individuals are less sensitive to the needs of others in the society.
The Need- Driven class is sub- divided into two types of lifestyles that consist of;
The survivor category was composed of 4 percent of the total population that is aged 18 years and over during a 1981 consensus that was conducted. The survivors face the most disadvantages particularly in the American society due to reasons such as old age, extreme poverty, low education, and the inadequate access to the straits of rising mobility (Sathish & Rajamohan, 156). The people in this class are oriented to customs but are marked by unhappiness and misery. The situation with the survivors can be that they once enjoyed lifestyles of the VALS hierarchy at the highest levels but no longer live in such ways (Kahle et al, 55). Other generations of the survivors are as a result of the adequate financial resources the previous generations had access to during their time such as being brought up in a low-income family.
The sustainer category of the need- driven group of individuals mostly finds themselves besieged at the periphery of poverty. The people are younger and better off than the survivors with many still having some hope, unlike the other class (Sathish & Rajamohan, 158). I am well defined by the above feature since despite my financial constraints I still have some hope of making it and living a life where I can make a choice and preferences. The sustainers live different and more advanced lives than the survivors even though they are all under the need- driven since they have moved above the hopelessness and depression levels (Ghosh, 25). The sustainers usually develop a street- wise willpower to achieve something though many works in the secretive economy. They always express anger since they see the system as it is repressing them which also motivates the survivors to work hard discretely for better days (Kahle et al, 50).
Consumer Item and the Need-driven tool
The individuals under the need-driven tool are not targeted by most markers due to their low financial power. Nevertheless, the individuals have to buy the basic requirements such as food and clothing and thus there are still those marketers who advertise their products to them (Kahle et al, 49). For example, the Vermont Shepherd cheese that is categorized into two types; the winter cheese (inviero) and the summer cheese (Verano). The two categories are good for need-driven individuals since they reduce the cost of daily food consumption.
The Vermont cheese farm makes cheese that is cheap and satisfying which works well with the little money need-driven people are subjected to in their lives. The inviero and Verano cheese is mostly meant for this group with its targeting the low-income earners. The cheese does not target any gender, age group, or any ethnicity but aims at providing complete satisfaction at a pocket-friendly price. Though the Vermont Company has introduced more expensive cheese products, the needs of the low-income earners are still catered for through continuous supply of low-cost cheese. Most adverts are targeted at the low-income areas with billboards being located at areas where the need-driven individuals live.
In summary, the need- driven typology tool under the VALS program has some good aspects in it and cannot fail to recognize that it also has some limitation. In essence, looking at the sustainer, the tool offers room for some hope. As described in the sustainer sub- category, the individuals show signs of hope at an advanced level which they have not entirely given up with their lives. Further, the group illustrates that the individual can reach a higher level where they do not have to live in situations where they do not have any choice, but they can make preferences (Valentine et al, 601). The people are characterized by anger which they direct towards developing self- determined aspects for changing their lives. The individuals operate in the underground economy in pursuit of financial power.
On the other hand, the survivors are described as hopeless, people living today without caring about tomorrow. The model should at least develop the idea that there is still hope for people in this category. Though individuals in this class are survivors, they should not be segregated from the rest of the world since they can also make a difference. The theory fails to provide for that option, and the group is left alone which the cause of depression and desperation for the individuals (Kahle et al, 53). Overall, the need- driven tool does not offer a solution but adds to the problem. When the hope for people with limited financial resource access is killed, they tend to be more depressed and may result to the cropping up of criminal activities in the search for livelihood.
B. Valentine, Dawn, and Thomas L. Powers. "Generation Y values and lifestyle segments." Journal of consumer marketing 30.7 (2013): 597-606.
Kahle, Lynn R., and Larry Chiagouris. Values, lifestyles, and psychographics. Psychology
Press, 2014.Ghosh, Indranath. "VALS (TM) Psychographic: A New Way of Market Segmentation in
India." The International Journal of Business & Management 2.4 (2014): 25.
Sathish, S., and A. Rajamohan. "Consumer Behaviour and Lifestyle Marketing."
International Journal of Marketing, Financial Services & Management Research 1.10 (2012): 152-166.
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