A vision of America as a land of freedom, equality and opportunity for all is at the heart of the American cultural narrative, but worsening rates of social mobility, clear systemic inequalities, and failing trust in public institutions have cast a dark shadow over these core national ideals. This doesn’t mean that the American Dream is dead. Some 70% of Americans still believe that the American Dream is personally achievable - highlighting how people remain faithful to its vision of prosperity and success. So what's changing? Canvas8's New American Dream report examines tomorrow's vision of aspiration, explores what division in the US means for your brand, and evaluates the definition of American identity today.
The traditional picture of the American Dream has lost its potency as lifestyles have modernized and diversified. Deep-seated inequalities within the US have become impossible to ignore, and while they may be difficult to acknowledge, they’re turning the idealistic view of the nation into a more realistic one. Nowadays, the idea of making it in America has no singular form – instead, people are reimagining the American Dream on their own terms.
This report offers ideas about how brands can navigate and connect with polarized populations. It interrogates three key assumptions about the American way of life and offers fresh insights to help you anchor your USA audience and brand planning in human truths. It'll help you interrogate what success means to people today and how to connect your brand with modern aspiration.
Postdoctoral fellow at the Social and Behavioral Science Institute at the University of Pennsylvania