Why Generation Y?

Known for their impatience and lack of brand loyalty, Generation Y has become the Achilles Heel of many consumer brands. With Gen Y soon surpassing the number of baby boomers (Gen X) in the work force, companies cannot afford to ignore this lucrative market.

So who is Gen Y?

Gen Y, also known as the Millennial Generation is a group of individuals born between 1977 and 1994. They are predominantly aged in their late teens to late 20s.

Over and above the numerical age of the Gen Y community, consultants need to understand how to influence, drive and inspire this group of individuals.

According to Bea Fields, Generation Y expert and author of Millennial Leaders, those belonging to Gen Y consume little TV and hardly read printed materials (books, magazines, newspapers etc.). More importantly, communicators should avoid telling Gen Y what’s cool (apparently, doing so is very uncool)!

So, with key PR platforms like TV and print of little or no use to this highly influential, gadget-savvy and brand-aware group, how should consultants tailor their communication plans?

Here are five points to consider:

1)    Endorsement

We need to establish how Gen Y likes to consume information. Existing in an era where information is everywhere, the Gen Y community is discerning about who they listen to. In particular, they seem to trust and value information provided from each other, as opposed to “us” – take Facebook for example.

According to Bea, “Gen Y does NOT care about what you have to say unless you have been endorsed by their friends. They care about what their community says, and they take each other and their network’s recommendations VERY seriously.”

2)    Experience

According to some experts the Gen Y community is an “experience” culture. They do not want to be told what to like or what to do. They want to experience the world with their community and friends. Good examples include:

  • Music concerts (The Gen Y population are live music enthusiasts, often attending big international acts, local gigs and music festivals).
  • Extreme sports (With a tendency to take risks, Gen Y is inclined to participate in a range of adrenaline-inducing activities like snowboarding, base jumping and bungee jumping).
  • Cinema (Catching the latest blockbuster or art-house film is a favourite way for Gen Ys to pass time with friends).
  • Video games (Evolving just as quick as the technology they use, Gen Y male and females, consider themselves savvy gamers).
  • Social networking (Gen Y use a variety of social networking tools to communicate with their peers as part of daily life).

3)    Speed

The Gen Y community like to receive information quickly. As the technology whiz kids of the generation classroom, they are familiar with receiving information in real time. If they ask Google a question, an answer pops up immediately. If they text a friend, a reply filters through in seconds.

4) Sustainability

This is the generation who has grown up with the concept of separating glass from plastic. They place great value on a product’s carbon footprint or a company’s effort to operate environmentally and socially responsible.

5)    Authenticity

Gen Y doesn’t waste time on people or companies that are not being real. And that’s where the importance of authenticity comes into play. Authentic is truthful. Authentic is cool. Authentic is hip. Generation Y has seen it all, from televised wars to 9-11. They know real when they see it.

What you need to know about Gen Y*…

  • 66% would look up a store after learning their friend had checked in.
  • 65% report researching the next model for their current product, immediately after making a purchase
  • 71% report having ‘liked’ a brand on Facebook just to receive an offer
  • 91% make their Facebook Places and Foursquare check-ins public news.
  • 58% use Twitter “all the time”
  • 76% spend over an hour on Facebook every day

*Sourced from The Next Web

Written by Emily Marnoch

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