Sales strategy
2 min read

Don’t downgrade my dreams: Aspirational buying

For marketers and brand builders, being tuned into people’s aspirations matter, because brands that are aspirational win loyalty, premium and appeal.
Written by
Will Perry
Published on
August 24, 2023

There has been a big shift towards aspiration in society. Media coined the phrase “the politics of aspiration” to describe this shift, and it’s predominantly down to increases in disposable income, access to credit and increased exposure to content.

There are broadly two types of aspirations: Intrinsic or inner driven, and extrinsic – more external, related to the environment outside (source: Kasser & Ryan, Aspiration Index).

Central to extrinsic aspirations are cultural factors, these include a consumer’s culture, subculture and social class. These factors are often inherent in our values and decision processes.  Social factors include groups such reference groups, aspiration groups and member groups i.e., family, roles, and status.

Why is this important?

Because consumers are deeply influenced by their aspirations, not their current situation or capability.  This explains the outside influences of others on our purchase decisions, either directly or indirectly (Source: S. Anisha & A. Kalaivani, Factors Influencing Buyer Behaviour While Purchasing).

Every fresh surfer tries to buy a thin, short and shiny high-performance surfboard. They buy with the expectation that they can stand up and look like a professional before the end of summer. What they don’t understand is that the biggest barrier to surfing isn’t standing up, it’s the buoyancy needed to paddle around to find waves. Consumers don’t buy based on where they are, they buy based on where they want to be.

But not all brands are luxury, but good products solve a certain problem. If consumers purchase too far in advance though, they risk never reaching their aspiration and disengaging. People don’t want to downgrade from expert to beginner level dreams.  The challenge for businesses is to balance what the customer needs with what the customer wants.  

Selling to an aspiration might make for a good one-off sale but means future sales such as accessories and upgrades as well as loyalty is often lost.

Apagie specialises in helping our clients understand and better meet their customer’s aspirations to drive more sales.  If you would like to know more, reach out or visit

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