If we can’t understand Gen Y, we’ll never get Gen Z
The Millennial generation goes by many names.
Trophy kids, millenials, generation y, mtv generation, digital natives, 8095ers.
This is a group of people in which the oldest is 33 and the youngest are 18. They have experienced life defining moments around global recession, tsunami, arab spring, facebook, and smart phones. They will be the first generation that may be worse off economically than their parents. However, they are probably the most diverse and educated generation in history.
Despite what some of us might feel about this generation, we cannot underestimate their impact. They are big, influential, and unique. They will account for 75% of the global workforce by 2025, even more in the UAE. They influence not only their friends purchasing decisions, but, their parents as well. They have never known a world without the internet or smart phones.
The world’s largest public relation firm, has just completed a global study looking at this group. Across 11 markets, including the UAE and over 4000 interviews, despite the economic challenges this group will drive and be at the forefront of many of the trends that brands, countries and families will experience now and in the future.
Global urbanization, experiences over stuff, and the rise or fall of the millennial dad are three of the key trends this group is driving. Millenials no longer want to live in rural areas, and are leading the mass migration to urban centres. Globally they live in a world where mum is just as likely to be the main bread winner as dad.
News flash, they don’t care about having lots of things. For them what is more important is the experience engaging with a brand and that brand providing life experiences beyond a purchase. For the cynics, you could say they want their cake and to eat it as well. They do. But, they want to be involved in selecting the icing, design, source materials, and the naming of that cake. It would also be nice if you could give them a job and career advice whilst you are baking this cake for them.
When asked the question, how do you want brands to help you, UAE respondents said
77% want brands to provide them with financial assistance (e.g., grants, scholarships). 75% said provide me with the opportunity for more life experiences (e.g., send me on trips, give me lessons in something I have an interest in), and 66% provide me with a mentor who can help guide me. The UAE was only slightly higher than the global average on this question.
And here you thought this might just be an exchange of a good or service for a fixed price?
Demanding, definitely. Willing to cut you down to size if you don’t give them what they want, to some extent. Most Millennials see it as their responsibility to share feedback with brands. They are more likely to share positive feedback than negative feedback, which is counter to most assumptions. In the UAE, 81% said they would provide feedback to brands.
This group thinks advertising is boring. But sadly, they also aren’t consuming their news from the paper either.
Brands must act and engage differently to get attention and loyalty. We are in an age of surprise-and-delight. If you don’t, they will tune you out.
Parents of this group are probably laughing as they read this as they think of their child hunkered down with multiple screens open and conversations happening all at once with friends all over the world as you yell just to get their attention from 10 feet away. The research shows this generation will talk to you without the aid of technology. Many marketers think that the only way to reach Millennials is through social media. Not true. Search engines rule, but then face-to-face communications with friends and family are number two and three respectively. The vast majority of Word-Of-Mouth happens offline (90%).
So as you read this over your ful medames this morning, and you probably chuckle at the folly of youth. Don’t scoff, hold that funny thought, keep it for the morning management meeting. Smart and funny is the new rock and roll. Business is often serious, but don’t always take yourself so seriously. Humour was the number one way Millennials said a brand could stand out.
Plus, you are going to need that sense of humour because Generation Z is now fully formed, and will quickly become the new “it” generation.