Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's your cohort?

There are three major age cohorts or groups that must be taken into account when developing branding and corporate identity solution. They are:
  • Baby Boomers born 1946 – 64
  • Gen Xers born 1965 – 76
  • Generation Y born 1977 – 94

These three population segments simply don’t speak the same language. Baby Boomers respond to cues of achievement, status, and performance, while Gen Xers value imagination, creativity, and relationships, and Gen Y responds to fun, interactivity, and experience. It is important that we understand these differences and assist our clients with such understanding. This critical to maintaining our own brand promise of cost-effective, message-effective, and products they are proud of. In the next series of blogs, I will address the different groupings.The following consist of sound bites and statements about the Baby Boomers

Aging Baby Boomers: Not Your Typical Grandma and Grandpa
  • This generation finds itself presented with a new obstacle, unlike anything it has ever encountered before: LAF – Life after Forty. Boomers will confront this change with vigor and finesse, co-opting the meaning of maturity and retirement and fitting it to their generation’s idiosyncrasies.
  • Comprise eighty-one million people, 30% of the population and 55% of the US discretionary income.
  • Will not bend to the strains of age. Instead they will revitalize and reshape what it means to be mature.
  • Boomers are not getting older; they are reaching a youthful maturity. They can look forward to indulging in the three big benefits of maturity: wisdom, health, and status and can buy their way out of most of the drawbacks of maturity.
  • Anxiously indulging in treats with connotations of youth and adventure that reaffirm their youthfulness and energy.
  • Competitive careers, demanding families, and a slew of medical advances have kept this group remarkably fit.
  • By denying their age they are more apt to undertake ambitious projects such as starting a new company or vacationing in rugged terrain. Their Peter Pan “never grow up” mentality constitutes an empowering attitude.
  • Boomers are ready to indulge in pricey pleasure purchases.
  • Products that present themselves as panic purchases, catering to Boomers fleeing the fates, will flop.
  • Products that take into account universal design principles will meet with success. Universal design principles take into account the needs of all consumers, whether they’re seventeen or seventy.
  • Branding is about comfort, reassurance, and solutions for this group. Attempts to scare consumers into buying their products no longer works. Today’s brands romance the consumer and demonstrate understanding.
  • Comfort has also become a priority for many Boomers.
  • Marketing campaigns that emphasize physical and psychological benefits are more successful than those that focus on the problem being solved.
  • Brands must develop much more sensitivity to the symbolic values surrounding their product and image that are open to constant repositioning or embellishment.
  • Even as they begin to downshift, Boomers will maintain remarkably active lifestyles.
  • Understanding both these sides of Boomers – the desire to escape and downshift while remaining active – is vital for 21st century business. Products and promotions must sensibly cater to both halves of this mentality

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