Editor’s note: AJ Tarbuck is research manager at market research firm Join the Dots, Manchester, U.K.
It’s not often that a new type of male is unveiled but a research study, conducted by Join the Dots for Coach magazine, looks at the shift from the alpha-male of the 1990s to the man of 2016, the alta-male.
Think actors Eddie Redmayne and Matthew McConaughey, broadcaster Reggie Yates, physicist and professor Brian Cox, and you have him – a man who values personal realization over more conventional measures of success and searches for ways to improve himself.
The qualitative research was conducted earlier this year on behalf of Dennis Publishing, which commissioned the research to better understand what makes the men of 2016 tick. Dennis had recently launched a new magazine for men, Coach, which is targeted at men who want, or need, to do something to make themselves healthier and fitter. The implications for future market research studies are not inconsequential and it will be important to understand what motivates the man of 2016 in order to fully engage with him in the first place and, subsequently, get the best insight from him.
We initially conducted an in-depth focus group with 21 men from across the U.K. (ages 22-59), made up of Coach and non-Coach readers. A mix of fathers and non-fathers and a range of professions were also represented. The groups were held in central London with a mix of men from varying demographic backgrounds who had grown up or still lived in different areas of the U.K. Prior to attending the focus group, the men completed a pre-task looking at their views on themselves as males and their own characteristics.
During the focus group the men were split into respective age brackets. Later the generations were mixed to allow the men to share and compare their stories to identify how the idea of masculinity has evolved and what it means to be a man in 2016.