He is more popular than Jesus… well, at least on Twitter and he is just 16 years old. His mom posted a video of his on YouTube, which triggered a series of events and shot him to fame. Today every girl from the age group of 7-16 dreams of how it would be to be his girlfriend.
She did in 18 months what Madonna took nearly a decade to accomplish. She is 23. She features in the 2010 Time Magazine’s listing of the 100 most influential people in the world. Who are these people? How will they affect business?
Get to know them better
Welcome to the new world. Generations come and generations go and they leave their impact on the world. The generation of ‘Baby Boomers’ is retiring and a whole new, and totally different one is emerging, ready to take on the world. Look around you they are everywhere, in sports (Maria Sharapova, b.1987), in business (Mark Zuckerberg, Founder Facebook, b.1984, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter, b.1981), in music (Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus of the Hannah Montana fame, b: 1992, and of course Justin Bieber, remember he is more famous than Jesus, and Lady GaGa, who beat Madonna in her own game) in Hollywood (Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, Megan Fox, b.1986 , Hilary Duff and the very pretty Scarlett Johansson, b.1984). They are even the new face of Royalty! Move over Lady Diana, it’s time for Princes, William and Harry. These are the people who are not just bringing the gold medals for sports, but also the Oscars, and the moolah for businesses.
In fact, they seem to be popping-up just about everywhere. Look at more characters being modeled behind them. In the fi lm ‘Up in the Air’, the young recruit changes the whole work place and shakes up George Clooney, as he gets a close view of the way this generation functions. He realises that they nowadays use SMS to even break up a relationship. Look at movies like the Devil Wears Prada, (500) Days of Summers etc. and you will get to understand them better. The latest ad of Intel in some way mirrors this new generation’s thought process. The tagline goes – “they come from around the world. Then they go out and change it”. Intel: Sponsors of Tomorrow. The copy of the advertisement goes on to explain how the company uses these young minds to solve tomorrow’s biggest challenges. Look, even scientists are getting younger. Mover over, old, wild Einstein, the image of a new scientist is a smart, cool, kid! These are the “Millennial”. Just a few years ago, you watched them zip by in cars driven by their parents with the ‘Baby on board’ stickers on them. You fought with them across the dining table to fi nish the vegetables on their plates. Today, you are meeting them in the boardrooms, and in the market place, and you cannot ignore them, for according to a survey done by Pews Research, this is America’s most educated generation, and the one with a large spending power. This is the first generation that grew up with computers, mobile phones, and got iPods & Nintendos as Christmas gifts. They are multi-taskers, they live on the Internet. They don’t go to the stores to buy things – they first check the website. This is also a generation that grew up in stable homes, is closer to their parents, who are more like friends (remember it was Justin Biebers’s mother who posted his first video on YouTube & is the one who travels with him and he is proud about it). This generation likes large families and is more tolerant. Most importantly, it’s very hard working, talented, confident, connected and open to change. It even voted for “change”. Don’t forget this is the generation that made the impossible happen and voted Barack Obama to power. And yes, he may not be Elton John, at least not yet, but 16 years old Justin Bieber got to perform at the White House.
With billions of dollars in collective purchasing power, this generation will affect business and market in a big way. But they are different and need to be handled differently. As the research done by The Economist magazine states, no generation in history has been so prepared at so young an age to use technology as an agent for change… business need to adapt to be able to connect with them, to personalise the customer experience, or else it would be WOMBAT (a waste of money, brains and time)
Get to market them better
It’s the Baby Boomer generation (1946- 64) that has been calling the shots from the 1960s till now. The Boomers lived by: Just Do it, the Gen Xers (1965-80) lived by: Why Do it, and the new Millennial (1980-date) live by: Just Did it. They need to be marketed differently and the one lady everyone is looking up to is Lady Gaga. In an era where no one buys CDs anymore, the woman sold 8 million copies of her album and 20 million of her singles, all thanks to her army of 2.8 million Twitter followers and more than 5.2 million Facebook fans. Mac Cosmetics went to her to help launch their new lipstick. The launch day alone generated 20 million unique views in traditional media. The launch outsold any launch in Viva Glam’s 16 year history. Mac Cosmetics and Estee Lauder must be mighty pleased. So much so, that now Polaroid is trying to revive its dead market with the help of the Lady and her accurate understanding of the Millennials!
It’s simple – if you know what drives their purchasing behaviour, you could plan a successful marketing campaign. A wine company realised quickly that this generation drank for fun not abuse; they liked wine more, for it could be shared with family and friends. A quick research and they knew what to put in their marketing campaign – colorful labels, smaller sized bottles, mid-priced, with the ads focusing on family & friends, and yes, people of diversity of race & age. If you could throw in something that was ‘environment friendly’, your campaign was bound to be a big hit.
This new generation is not just your new consumer, but also your new employee. It’s a breed that was brought up by doting parents, who taught their children to not just be successful, but also be fulfilled – to be what they, want to be (now wonder 3 Idiots set the box-office on fire, for it struck the right chord with both parents & children!). This generation never learnt to lose, for modern schooling says ‘everyone is a winner’. Dealing with such employees could get unnerving. How do you handle them, reprimand them, and most importantly retain them for they are bundles of talent? Companies like Ernst & Young were actually hiring consultants to teach them how to deal with this generation which did not learn to take ‘No’ for an answer.
C. H. Robinson Worldwide, allows these new employees to choose their own titles. Another company gives more personalized rewards to them, for that works better. For a generation that’s extremely tech-savvy, doesn’t care much about ethics, but how much difference they are making in the world, for a generation that’s expert in multi-tasking, prefers to climb Mount Everest than do summer jobs, one needs to think differently and plan differently.
When you start work on your marketing campaign, ask yourself how millennial ready are you, for that’s the future. If aliens may not be as sweet as ‘E.T.’ or ‘Jaadoo’ according to Stephen Hawkins, for they may rip our earth for their own good, neither would these millennials be good for your company and the market, if you don’t handle them well. It’s the new force. You better be prepared or they are coming to get you.