Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Where and What is Driving Growth


Many of you know that I spend a good amount of time delving into the neighborhood dynamics of many cities across the U.S. and Canada.

With in-house access to the latest and most in-depth U.S. and Canada Census, lifestyle dynamics, business stats, tax revenue, retail sales projections and housing insights, I end up knowing interesting aspects of communities even before I get there.

Yesterday morning while I was having my morning coffee at a neighborhood café, I ended up making commentary on a nearby conversation.

One of the individuals, a Gen X guy, was telling an empty-nester couple that Buckhead was the highest income ZIP Code in the State of Georgia.

He was wrong. John’s Creek is the highest income ZIP in Georgia.

One of my favorite stats is the percentage of the population of households with kids age 18 or less. Nationally, it is exactly one-third of households in the U.S. … a percentage that right now continues to decline.

If you asked the average Joe out there what percentage of households have kids in the U.S. and their local communities, most will say at least 50% and some speculate as much as 60–70%.

I have often wondered just how they think those kids originated.

This morning’s Wall Street Journal has a great editorial that showcases some of the latest and greatest regions of growth here in the U.S.

The writer refers to these regions of growth as geographic corridors.

There are four of them:

** The Great Plains

Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming

** The Intermountain West

Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Colorado

** The Third Coast

The Gulf regions of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida

** The Southeastern Industrial Belt

Region from Birmingham to Nashville to Atlanta to Charlotte to Raleigh

Not only is the population growing in these areas, but so is the younger, college-educated, technical trained working population.

The number of people with college degrees grew at a remarkable 50% in Austin and Charlotte and by 30% in Tampa, Houston, Atlanta and Dallas while barely moving the needle in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

Cites such as Raleigh, Charlotte, Austin, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Atlanta and Denver enjoy the fastest growth of ZOOMERS, the generation that is emerging next after Millennials while the under age 15 population is on the decline in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

Energy, manufacturing and agriculture are the driving industries and Asian firms are swarming into South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.

Athens, Georgia where I reside on the weekends is soon to celebrate the opening of the Caterpillar manufacturing plant that is moving back to the U.S. from Japan.

I cited in the 2013 TRENDCAST the emergence of the Working Class as a major driver of the consumer marketplace. My prediction is coming true.

The 2012 election was a surprise to many, but the dynamics driving its outcome are more complicated that what we hear preached from White House pulpit.

The Working Class that is emerging is a blend of the technology-trained (note, I did not say the tech geeks), the applied-education trained (note, I did not say the educational elite) and the next wave of the American workforce (note, I did not say the unionized workforce).

The Working Class embraces opportunity and self-driven success. They aspire to do better. They are a “get-it-done and move-on to the next challenge” mindset.

Part of the voter base that drove the elections this fall engaged in a simple, non-complicated, non-elusive message… whether it was true or not!

The complexity of the GOP platform, their candidate and their campaign graphics did not connect with the Working Class and as a result, they failed to win.

The population numbers I work with always make good roundtable chat.

The geographic corridors of growth will fuel entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Working Class will likely drive the future success of marketing brands, communities and politicians that grasp just who they are and what drives them each morning when they get up and begin a new day.

The guy that wrote this morning’s Wall Street Journal editorial is a professor of “urban futures.”

He concludes his editorial with the following…

“The corridor’s growing success is a testament to the resiliency and adaptability of the American economy.

It also challenges the established coastal states and cities to reconsider their current high-tax, high-regulation climates if they would like to join the growth party.”


I will end this block with the following…

The emerging Working Class is a testament to the resiliency and adaptability of the human drive to seek out betterment and aspiration.

It also challenges the established corporate, business and marketing leadership to reconsider their self-declarations or brand value and brand doldrums if they would like to join up with the evolving growth marketplace of 2013 forward.



CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.

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Mark Kooyman

CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.