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Why ‘millennial’ is not the buzz word of 2019

Market research is an ongoing process. However, it is only useful and valuable if relevant. There are hundreds of articles about Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z but they don’t quite hit the nail on the head. We set out to explore what Joe Public refers to as ‘generation fluid’. Gain new insight into South Africa’s youth segment and gauge if your brand is staying relatable.

Avoid familiar – it may not be relevant

Gen Z might be a familiar term for marketers and a key point when doing market research but familiar does not mean relevant. Gen Z, occurring after the cohort commonly known as ‘Millennials’ or ‘Gen Y’, are labelled as unpredictable, elusive and non-conforming. The consensus being that no ‘one-size-fits-all’ campaign is going to reach them.

When it comes to the youth segment of the market, we may all be guilty of misusing the term ‘millennials. According to research, people under the age of 25 make up a quarter of South Africa’s population, yet millennials, otherwise known as Generation Y, surpass that age bracket as of 2019. Wake up marketers, it’s time we stop characterising and labelling the youth as the ‘Millennial Generation’.

Move over millennials, make way for your successors: Generation Z

Gen Z, as a large and increasingly influential segment of South Africa’s population, are driving our consumer landscape, compelling us to move away from traditional forms of branding and reshape our communication efforts.

Joe Public, in their recent white paper, refers to Gen Z as the Generation of Fluidity and describes them as fluid in the way they relate to themselves and the world.

The term ‘Generation Fluid’ is explained eloquently by Joe Public Shift. You can download it here: https://joepublicunited.co.za/staging.dev/jpu-new/news/generation-fluid.

But what does this actually mean and why is it important for businesses to embrace it? Generation fluid, as put by Joe Public is showing a complete shift. “From the reimagination of spaces to visual, experiential content and less-structured, disruptive perceptions in terms of living, working and connecting, this generation is fluid in the way they relate to themselves and the world. In recent years, it’s been said that brands must fight to break through the clutter. This is truer than ever before with Gen Z at the forefront, spreading their time and attention across multiple tasks and blurring the lines between traditional and digital media.”

Take your brand to the next level and download the white paper to get an understanding of today’s youth market: the social-born, multitasking, beyond classification #GenerationFluid.

Some more food for thought that concerns our South African youth is from Andrea Kraushaar who shares her unique opinion on the unique things about South African youth today. Read the full article here: https://www.proudnationbuilder.co.za/single-post/2016/09/14/The-Unique-Things-About-South-Africas-Youth-Today-And-Tomorrow

Most corporate social investment in SA supports things that service young people, and not because of a random non-thought like “the youth are our future.” It’s because they are, of course, their own future, and that that will look very different to ours. Deep research over long time-and-place horizons by Youth Dynamix (YDx) reveals the unique “personality” of this South African in the younger generation, many of its marker traits uniquely specific:

Rewired brains – these South Africans use their brains in ways more efficiently adaptive as they demand, search-and-find, and then process copious information of the widest range, fast.

Technologically wired – technology is pervasive and influential in fundamentally more consequent ways here, and this driver is ubiquitous.

Me! Me! Hey! Me! – this generation is so self-aware that expectations can quickly become the stomping of entitlement – and narcissism finds this a sometimes-easy environment. How this plays through the next decades could weigh more heavily than we perhaps think.

Family the rock – family is this generation’s most valued and admitted thing, possibly a happy first reward of South Africa’s reunification of familial bonds through quickening urbanisation, and our ever- healthier social cohesion generally. Now the matriarch becomes goddess, mom being Generation Y’s most influential life person. Many successful Millennials feel indebted to their families for especially their education – and so they feel bound to give back in turn – the so-called “Ubuntu tax”.

They value education – not only is education seen as one of the top three things in their lives – it is seen as a compulsory rite before any chance of later success: “getting a good education gives me a good job which brings me lots of money and success”.

Money spins their world – Money in bucket loads is important to 87% of core youngsters: “With money I can do whatever I want”. Wealth also assumes an unnerving status as an assumed indicator of personal worth.

““I’ll be my own boss” aren’t just the famous last words of most youngsters, not in this case. Rather, they are the welcome sign of this most alert of South African generations that long ago absorbed that tomorrow’s economy won’t look too much like ours. It anyway won’t be a thing of pre-existing jobs needing to be filled. So, start-up, or sink. Think about that for a moment – a vastly different projected world-of-work has already been taken in the stride of most of the young. That’s quite an extraordinary feather in their clever caps, worth our humble admiration. “

What do you make of these new characterisations and how might you go about keeping your marketing efforts relevant?