When the Dreamer is Your Customer

What isn’t Branded? We Brand market segments, demographic identifiers, and, of course, generations. It’s hard to find blank space anywhere, isn’t it?

Needless to say, the very mention of a Brand name conjures up images and associations that enable us to visualize, to value, to aspire, and to imagine experientially. Or—in the case of Brands we dislike—to even hate and reject based on personal or shared experience… or bias of one kind or another.

Our various people-based identifier Brand names are no different either.

If I reference the Roaring Twenties, gangsters and flappers and prohibition come to mind immediately. The Greatest Generation? Images of American soldiers slogging it out against the evil Nazis in WWII. Hippies: long hair, Woodstock: bell bottom jeans, and no doubt you can smell the marijuana. And Millennials? Don’t get me started.

But there is another Branded group I would like to address, one that meets all the criteria including inflaming passion, but one nevertheless that is rarely studied or discussed for its attributes and value as we do so many. Rather, this group is looked at as a Branded Political Barometer (BPB) that gauges our social and societal believes more than it does anything else.

DREAMERS. The very word on its own invokes associations with visionaries, idealists, romantics, and, most literally, with fantasists. To be fair, dreamers are also occasionally associated with air heads.

In the United States, the term has come to mean so much more. Wikipedia explains:

“The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) is a piece of legislation first introduced to congress in 2001 that grants a pathway to citizenship to young people who were brought to the United States as children without documentation. These are young people who are American in every way except on paper. They have grown up in this country and consider themselves to be American, but lack the documents to fully engage in society.”

CNN elaborates:

“There are some 800,000 DREAMERS who meet the qualifications that include education and good moral character.”

Yet in the charged political environment in which we live here in the United States, some consider Dreamers to be nothing more than illegal aliens…unlawfully present, taking food from the mouths of lawful citizens by stealing their jobs.

As I don’t write a political blog, I will stay away from the rights and wrongs of the partisan issue only to comment that most recent polls show a majority of US citizens across the spectrum, support Dreamers.

A Politico poll conducted from August 31st to September 3rd reports:

“A majority of voters, 58 percent, think these undocumented immigrants, also known as Dreamers, should be allowed to stay and become citizens if they meet certain requirements — a sentiment that goes well beyond the existing DACA program. Another 18 percent think they should be allowed to stay and become legal residents, but not citizens. Only 15 percent think they should be removed or deported from the country.”

DACA Politico Citizens Chart

Frankly, for this writing, my interest in Dreamers is as a Marketing cohort, much as I am interested in Millennials and Generation Z. Based on what I have been reading and exploring, many businesses have been doing the same.

The New York Times confirms:

“At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies employ DACA recipients”

Many industry leaders have spoken out in support of Dreamers:

A letter published on August 31st by FWD.us, an organization designed to assert values in league with business policies at the top, was signed by celebrity leaders like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, with representatives ranging from brands such as Warby Parker, Tesla to the more conservative Wells Fargo. The letter explains:

“Dreamers are vital to the future of our companies and our economy. With them, we grow and create jobs. They are part of why we will continue to have a global competitive advantage.”

So, to that end, the demographic facts about Dreamers are more interesting to me. As we all know, right or wrong, at the end of the day it’s all about your current and future buying power.

In a National DACA Study conducted by UC San Diego professor Tom Wong, the following facts were revealed:

  • Annual earnings increased 80% under DACA — from an average of $20,000 to an average of $36,000.
  • 65% of DACA recipients bought their first car; 16% had become homeowners.
  • 3% reported pursuing education they previously could not.
  • 9% are currently in school, with 52.5% pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
  • 5% started their own businesses.
  • 1% are bilingual; 92.6% agree or strongly agree that their bilingualism is an asset to their employer.

With the average income for 25 to 34-year-olds in the United States reported as $39,416 by Business Insider, this suggests that DACA recipients are closer to the target income once they become part of the system… and are on track to make more as they get older.

In short, DREAMERS are making real things happen. Like all consumers, like all of us, they want the same things and are working to get them. DREAMERS are no different than Flappers, Hippies or Millennials in that they are bucketable as a group and unified as a consumption-based economic and social force.

Think about the cars to be sold, the houses to be bought, and the stores to be shopped. Think about the potential added value. Imagine… what would happen if we could change the rhetoric from Washington to Wall Street?

KNEE JERK ALERT! Don’t bother accusing me of either insensitivity or blindness. The bottom line is that DREAMERS are no different from you and me. They are no different from Hippies and Millennials. In fact, they are Millennials, too.


“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”
Sarah Ban Breathnach

And there you have it!

What do you think?

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