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The crisis brings back the old value system of the Greeks

15 October 2010 / 11:10:37  GRReporter
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"Focus on the details and the excellence will come" is the motto of Focus Bari, one of the leading researching companies on the Greek market. Focus Bari has been working with important Greek and foreign clients for 22 years now and has plenty of successful research projects.

The company became known for inventing and operating the BARI study, ‘industry currency survey’, on the Greek market, which it applies to process data for the mass media. Focus Bari has made more than 4000 researches for numerous products and services, it has conducted more than 4 million interviews in the country, examined more than 8000 focus groups, trained more than 2500 media professionals. The company has participated in more than 200 European and global symposia.

We talked with the President of the Company Xenia Kourtoglou about the current market trends but also about the trends emerging in Greek society.

Xenia Kourtoglou has been Vice President and in charge for communication of the Association of Companies of Public Polls and Market Research for 8 years now. She is representative of the Committee of the IAB Hellas (Internet Advertising Bureau) and the Institute of Communication. Since 1996 she is a lecturer at the Media Department of  PANTEION University in Athens.  

"Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed, If you run your race, you'll win. Focus. Channel your energy ". These words of the American athlete Carl Lewis are Ms. Kourtoglou’s motto to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the founding of Focus Bari.

How have the preferences of the Greeks changed in times of crisis?

Let me say first that when we heard about the crisis two years ago, we still had felt nothing in our daily lives. And yet, there were many people who already had cut their costs even then. A first wave passed. People did this as a preventive measure. The first researches we made showed that the Greeks gave up large purchases such cars, for example. At the same time, the Greeks began to think more about what to choose. They started to buy more carefully, looking for lower prices. They have not forsaken branded goods, but at a good price. Things started to calm down a little the last autumn. But the problems that followed then and in parallel with the presence of the International Monetary Fund, and the consequences brought shame to us. The crisis has entered strongly in people's lives and their businesses. People saw the real problem this spring, when it appeared that Greece could go bankrupt and when cuts and changes in social insurance system were made. Today, limiting to strict necessities has become a way of life. Whatever I buy I will see if I need it – this is how the people think today.

This is a big change for the Greeks...

Yes, it is. There is a search for alternative. There are changes in terms of entertainment and going out. We are doing a research for a number of restaurants and many people say they do not want to be cheated. They try to find such places where what they will pay for will meet the service quality. And the value of money will be taken into account. In other words, they want value for money. Value for money is the most important thing right now. Furthermore, people began to invest more in home entertainment. They download movies from the Internet or take them on DVD and invite friends home. They spend more time at home. Many interesting things are happening to them now. They cook; they are more interested in the environment, their health and their families.

These are positive results ...

Of course, they are. This is a return to the roots ... Saying, however, that the Greeks are more concerned about the environment I don’t mean that they suddenly see how others throw their garbage, but they themselves will not throw theirs. I mean that if they are proposed 3 identical products at the same price they will choose the one that does not harm the environment. Economic uncertainty that simultaneously leads to social uncertainty make people prioritize differently. Now, it is not a priority to demonstrate something. Everywhere we hear things lose their value ... Companies have lost their value, businesses are closing, large banks are struggling. All of them had high status. When a man can not rely on anything else a man goes back to fundamental values, saying: "The most important is that I am healthy, my family is fine, I have a good time, albeit on less square meters and with less money, otherwise I will go completely crazy."

Greeks seem to adapt quickly ...

I think so. I think it happens bit by bit. On the one hand, there is the influence of the mass media, which is not always positive. They very often exaggerate the things to gain viewers. Scandals always attract most people. This is not good because it makes a populist notion that people have always been the one to pay. Television constantly is making negative news in general. People could also turn to Star, where there are more jokes and gossiping but this does not raises the level. They are trying to turn to ΣΚΑΙ, which pays particular attention to the environment, to NET, which despite being a public channel offers another kind of seriousness compared with the more commercial channels .... Some of the people don’t want to watch the news when the news constantly report incidents. People are tired of bad news. If half of a man’s friends were fired or are expected to be fired, the wages are reduced, etc., how is a man to stand the constant bad news ...

Tags: CrisisGreeceFocus BariXenia KourtoglouInterview
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