There are 6 main personas that need to be kept in mind while designing for the popular consumer through the assumption of their own identity and social preference. These six personalities are as follows according to Barton (2012). The “Hip Consumer” believes that he can make the world a better place and becomes very cautious about his consumption pattern, this consumer does their research into the history of the brand and what the brand does to help the world through its products and services.

This user is most active on social media platforms but is not likely to engage and participate in the brand that does not relate to their personal identity. At this moment in 2020, they are still mostly female dominant and students (Barton 2012). The “Gadget Guru” has a lot of pride within themself, they believe that their knowledge in technology gives them the upper hand when it comes to the challenges of life. They are likely to have a stable income that can support their passion for technology. They interact with brands that they prefer and also share and interact to further the extent of the brand itself. They push and distribute a lot of content and their followers and friends are actively engaging with the content that they share (Barton 2012). The “Popular-Mom-Consumer” are placed within the white-collar sphere of the class segmentation. They are from a wealthy background and engage in healthy lifestyle approaches. They interact with a brand when they feel that the values correlate to their own values and family values. They are hungry for new information to generate new perceptions about their own identity. To get them to participate research has shown that placing them outside of their daily routine by harvesting their values will get a lot of interaction. They are the older generation of the popular consumer (Barton 2012). The “Green Consumer” stand to believe that they are solely dependent on their own set values and identity, they are against capitalist structures that motivate to consume products and such. If they find a cause that they believe in they will always support and interact with a brand and drive their content on the networks. They are likely to be students and mainly male dominant (Barton 2012).

The “Anti-Consumer” are fixated on their own world and perception of the world. They don’t worry about much else except how they are currently feeling. So content that can engage them within their own state of mind at the time is likely to drive them to engage and participate. They constantly shift their preference according to their state of mind. It must be the way they want it before they are liable to invest within a brand product or service (Barton 2012). The “Old-School” consumer is the driving force behind word of mouth, they believe that everything must be personal and that social media is not relevant to their values and perception of the self. They are not online all the time and are very cautious about the products that they consume (Barton 2012).

The Modern Consumer Family
Photo: Tobias Johannes Coetsee

In addition to these types of consumers within the millennial sphere, we can now add the variables of the South African socio-political environment based on multicultural approaches, multiracial approaches, and this results in the nuance of the South African in his placement with the consumer market. After understanding the type of consumers and how they structure their identities, we can now use this to speculate on the current millennial found within the pluralistic society of the current day, South Africa. We now understand that on the base of preference that the globalising effect will lead to cultures in South Africa adapting their manner in how they consume and perceive their preference towards products and thus it is necessary for companies to adapt to a fluid type of structure.

Mike Dos Santos (2016), branding in a digital world: Why a strong identity matters, gives insight into the behaviors of the popular consumer and their Identity preference within a digital world where the perception of own identity has changed. He aims to engage the promise that the Identity System delivers towards the consumer and this is where the identity structure comes into play, how can we deliver one promise and core market identification value to such an extent of different consumers. There is one thing that needs to be triggered and this is positivity, so if the Identity System’s core market identification value mimics positivity then this enables the Identity System to communicate effectively to all the audiences. The visual and conceptual design of the Identity System must be able to mimic this through multiple approaches relating to one core market identification value. A powerful meaningful identity mechanism aids in delivering a positive experience to the consumer who identifies with the identity and what it stands for (Dos Santos 2016:1)

David C. Edelman (2016) Branding in a digital age talks about the interaction with Identity Systems and the psychological route that the consumer now follows to create their identity preference. Today’s Static Systems does not allow for traditional Identity Systems concept to be as effective as it was when the consumer had direct interaction with the retailer as Edelman (2016) mentions “as not long ago, a car buyer would methodologically pare down the available choices until he arrived at the one that best met his criteria”, then he would physically interact with a salesperson on the floor that then enforced the trust by the salesperson sensing the user’s preference and enforcing trust of the cars Identity System within the user. Now the issue comes to how can Identity Systems instate this trust without physical interaction, and how can Identity Systems adapt as the salesperson did over different ages, genders, races & cultures (Barton 2012).

South Africa is an economic environment where there are a lot of enterprises that have boomed in the 1980s and 1990s, most of these enterprises like Absa, Telkom, Spur, SABC, and smaller privately-owned companies rely on the core market identification value that they set out when they started. As they move over into the multi-cultural grounds that stand as a culture within South Africa, then this core market identification value suddenly loses efficiency as the interaction and participation get divided into smaller time frames of attention. Thus the idea of an identity that caters to multiple cultures through maintaining one core market identification value must strongly be kept in mind.