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Channeling the white-collar worker

Posted by Chad O'Connor  October 31, 2012 11:00 AM

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Boston is brimming with white-collar, affluent workers hungry for information on the go. This influential demographic craves easily digestible content served up in a convenient, yet targeted, manner. I founded Captivate Network in 1997 with the idea that advertisers could be connecting with the white-collar worker quite literally where they are -- in the office. Our first office elevator screen was displayed in 101 Federal Street in Boston, and we’ve grown to nearly 10,000 screens reaching millions of on-the-go business professionals throughout the workday across North America.

Too often, marketers use outdated models, relying on traditional media channels like television that many affluent, white-collar consumers just aren't consuming in the same ways they previously had been. To illustrate, our own research on the attitudes of affluents towards the new fall TV lineup found that they have a laissez-faire attitude toward the heavily promoted programming compared to previous years. When it comes to new programs premiering this fall, very few made the must-see list among high-income consumers. This highlights the need to look carefully at what media white-collar workers are consuming, the time spent with each, and the impact the various mediums are having. This is especially important when targeting affluent consumers given their large share of spend and their influence in the community and workplace.

We've built our business on understanding the white-collar worker and providing this influential demographic with content and product messages that are timely and relevant, empowering them to balance the personal and professional demands of the workday. We conduct ongoing, proprietary research under the Captivate Office Pulse umbrella, gathering insights from a panel of more than 4,000 white-collar professionals within our footprint. Captivate Office Pulse is the source for workplace behavior and advertising communications measurement for dozens of Fortune 500 companies and their agency partners.

Our latest research on workplace behavior covers a variety of topics from distracting office attire to work-life balance. For those looking to better understand the white-collar worker or just hear some trends from the cubicle, here's a snapshot of our recent studies:

Work-Life Balance (infographic)
This report revealed that men are happier than women with their work-life balance and identified the profiles of the happiest and unhappiest workers. Men are 25 percent happier at work than women, eight percent happier at home and 75 percent of them report being able to balance their work and personal lives. The profile of the happiest worker is a 39 year old male, married, with a household income between $150-$200 thousand, in a senior management position, with one young child at home and a wife who works part-time. The unhappiest worker is a 42 year old, unmarried woman with a household income under $100 thousand, working in a professional position (i.e. as a doctor or a lawyer).

Work Spouse: Influence in the Workplace (executive summary)
Survey results found that nearly two-thirds of workers (65 percent) have or have had a "work spouse" -- someone at work whom they communicate with and confide in at the workplace. The survey shows that work spouses serve as confidants and wield considerable influence over each other’s decisions and purchases. When it comes to purchasing goods or services, 67 percent of respondents said their work spouse has influenced a buying decision. 78 percent said their work spouse influenced their choice of restaurants, 56 percent said their work spouse influenced a technology purchase and 47 percent said their work spouse influenced buying clothing.

Summer Hours and Productivity (additional findings)
This report found that summer hours can be bad for businesses and employees alike. Just under half of those surveyed (49 percent) report working for an organization that offers summer hours (telecommuting, four 10 hour day workweeks, etc.) and the same percentage report a decrease in productivity. 53 percent of employees who leave early on Fridays report a drop in personal productivity, and 23 percent who make up for fewer Friday hours by working longer hours from Monday to Thursday report that their stress levels increase.

Technology Envy (infographic)
Survey results reveal that technology envy is pervasive in the workplace and demonstrate the influence that co-workers have on each other. 35 percent want more opportunities to see and try the latest devices, with e-readers eliciting the greatest colleague curiosity. 73 percent identified smartphones, tablets, e-readers and HDTVs as their favorites and 30 percent reported being "very envious" of the devices their colleagues brought into the workplace.

Office Attire (slideshow)
Survey results show that office attire can be a major distraction for some employees. The report found that what white-collar workers consider acceptable and distracting varies by demographic factors including age, gender and professional status. For example, 76 percent of senior managers find short skirts distracting while 21 percent of mid-level and junior mangers find them acceptable. 61 percent of those over 50 years old find tattoos distracting while 67 percent of 35-49 year olds find them acceptable.

In order to target the affluent, white-collar consumer, understanding the behaviors of this influential demographic is critical to a marketer's success. For additional insight into the office worker mindset and workplace culture, an archive of Office Pulse reports is available.

Mike DiFranza is the President of Captivate Network, a digital media company targeting business professionals.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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