The ABCs of marketing may not have prepared us for the world of Xx, Ys and Zs. Generation X remembers a world without smartphones and the internet. Gen-Zers don’t. And somewhere in the middle is Gen Y (or Millennials).
If you’re worried your brand may get a snarky “OK boomer” reaction from a younger demo, it may be time to refresh your brand strategy.

Age is Not a Number. It’s a Behavior.
Consumers are evolving. You have to keep up with them. Social media has helped us define key differences in how different age groups interact with brands.

Baby boomers and Gen X are generally in a listening mode. They experienced the internet before social media, so they’re used to a one-way conversation with brands.

Millennials witnessed the evolution of social media, so they’ve always been able to offer their perspective with brands, creating a two-way conversation.

GenZ has social media ingrained in their DNA, so they involve others from their generation in the discussion, which creates a three-way conversation.

Understanding Starts with Empathy
Dennis Devlin, CEO of CLARITY Research & Strategy, has spent years studying younger consumers. He says it’s important to remember the global perspective that makes each generation unique.

“These generations have absorbed life-changing events like 9/11, the Great Recession and a global pandemic,” he said. “They’ve seen their parents struggle and go heavily in debt chasing the American Dream, and they don’t want to go through that.”

Strategies for a Timeless Brand Strategy
There are things you can do to remain relevant in an ever-changing world market.

Be relatable – Younger generations need fresh content that covers things they care about. Use their tools, like Snapchat and TikTok, to tell your story.

Be real – Younger generations can spot window dressing from a mile away. Look at your core mission and values to build a more authentic brand from the bottom up.

Be trustworthy - Customers are more likely to buy your product if they trust your brand. It’s the one thing all age groups have in common. Build that trust through honest, transparent interactions with them.

Be social – Be selective in your use of social media platforms and focus on the ones that are authentic to your brand. As in any social setting, read the room and make sure what you’re saying is relatable and topical.

Be open to their insight – Go to the people you want as consumers. Ask the right questions and implement their answers into your strategy.

Be where they are – Consider geotargeting ads on popular apps that younger generations use. It helps them feel like you understand their priorities and where they’re spending their time.

The Times They Are a-Changin’. Are You?
The first thing you should always remember is that all consumers don’t consume in the same ways. We all buy things, but our behaviors are in a constant state of flux.

“Generations continuously evolve,” Devlin said. “They change as they age and we’re learning things all the time about these generations that can definitely impact brands. Don’t ever assume you know everything you need to know. Evolution is more fluid than that. You have to make the investment to keep up.”