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Grown-Up Digital Natives– The new generation ofcustomersMaria Luchterhandt and Sebastian Schmidt
Grown-Up Digital Natives– The new generation of customersThe neologism Digital Natives can be traced back to an essay by M...
It is precisely when a couple becomes a family that this both-and mentality puts the daily routine oflife under pressure –...
They use their smart phones all the time for their other activities too: as a navigation device7 (if theydon’t have the la...
Sources and links to further information:1	     e.g. Lernerfolg Grundschule:
Responsible for content:                             Maria Luchterhandt und Sebastian Schmidt                             ...
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201111 digital natives en


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201111 digital natives en

  1. 1. Grown-Up Digital Natives– The new generation ofcustomersMaria Luchterhandt and Sebastian Schmidt
  2. 2. Grown-Up Digital Natives– The new generation of customersThe neologism Digital Natives can be traced back to an essay by Marc Prensky in 2001. He coined theterm to describe people who were born after 1980 directly into the digital age. With their digitalmedia biography, this group of people takes permanently networked communication, collaborationand coordination with others for granted.The grown-up digital natives born between 1980 and 1985 are now entering a new phase in theirlives. In their early thirties, they are organizing their family life and their careers. It’s an interestingtime for brand article companies, especially when we define the grown-up digital natives as media-savvy, well educated men and women living their lives in an urban environment.So, in the following, it’s worth asking what attitudes and values these people find important – thencomes a graphic description of a media ”day in the life” of today’s early thirty-year-olds.Values and attitudes of grown-up digital nativesIn the world of grown-up digital natives, innumerable choices and constant change are a part of eve-ryday life. It is highly probable that abundant choice has already characterized their search for thepartners with whom they will spend the period of their lives that we are considering, because 4 out of10 singles make use today of online dating sites. The wide variety of possibilities offered by the onlinerendezvous puts it third among the places where lovers meet – after the workplace and their circle offriends, but ahead of the club, disco or on holiday. Online dating sites offer hundreds of potentialcontacts, filtered according to what you are looking for, and thousands of photographic self-portraits.The digital dating sites create the illusion that, with their help, finding a partner is uncomplicated andprofessionally organized. In fact, there is an infinite number of new choices every single day.This trend in selecting a partner makes you realize how important it is to grown-up digital nativesthat they don’t have to go without anything: the person who becomes your partner is the one whomeets your requirements in the here-and-now. At any time, options for tomorrow are just a click away.It’s clear to the grown-up digital natives that switching the options is inherent in their accepted con-cept of life. The constant stream of media content (not necessarily with substance) in all aspects oflife reinforces the perception of an uncertain future as the “fragility of the present”. So satisfying thedemand for happiness here and now counts when choosing a partner and starting a family. “Puttingit bluntly: it’s about sex. It’s about love. It’s about children. It’s about providing, about maintainingand expanding possessions. But, above all else, it’s about how he or she, with whom I’m together,whom I marry, enriches, glorifies, reveals my self.”After successfully selecting a partner, striving for happiness through individual satisfaction of needsshapes the founding of a family, which, according to current surveys, is a major aim in the targetcatalogue of people in their late twenties and early thirties. But family is defined less today as simplya permanent relationship between adults and children. Also, living together in one specific place isless important in defining the concept of “family”.The reason is that young parents too are no longer accepting an either-or situation. They don’t wantto forego any aspect of life. So, for example, the magazine “Nido”, that appeals to parents withchildren under six, a wide range of interests and an above-average income, promises the “wholespectrum of topics from pop to politics, from fashion, travel and interior design to psychology andsex. Everything from the perspective of modern, urban parents.” RedPaper: Grown-Up Digital Natives 2
  3. 3. It is precisely when a couple becomes a family that this both-and mentality puts the daily routine oflife under pressure – because everything is supposed to contribute trouble-free and effortlessly tosatisfying one’s own current needs.Thus, within the family, each individual’s plans for the day have to be coordinated. The particularactivities are determined by his and her preferences in work, leisure, sport and entertainment. And inthe process the children are to be kept happy too. Outwardly, the children are used as a way of help-ing to promote their projected image: “In our family everything’s cool; we know the latest updatesof our peer group; we’re the controllers of our lives.” This is the image that they feel obliged to ex-hibit convincingly on the playground in Berlin-Mitte.Grown-up digital natives perform a balancing act between cultivating their individuality and search-ing for commitment. In this situation, the targeted use of digital communication has become the sinequa non for maintaining this model of life.A day in the life of a grown-up digital nativeNina, 32, and Stefan, 34, have one child: Leon is 3 and attends an all-day kindergarten. Both parentshave jobs. Nina works part-time (a three-quarters post) as a company representative and is able to dosome of her work from her home office – provided she doesn’t have to visit clients or go to the firmto attend important meetings. Stefan is a consultant in a management consultancy and is often awayfrom home on projects. Two or three times a week, the couple hire a multi-lingual nanny via anagency and she comes in the afternoon, and also in the evening if Nina has a business appointmentor if the couple need time for themselves. The grandparents live in another town and see their grand-children mostly on public holidays or birthdays.In their everyday life, the family use all manner of media, but most of all their smartphones and atablet PC. On their devices, they have a large number of apps that they rely on every day to com-municate with each other and with their friends and families or to access information in general.Their tablet PC has, for example, become a part of the daily breakfast routine: either Stefan has itbecause he likes reading the newspaper app while drinking his coffee and then looking at the statusof his friends on Facebook, or Nina uses it first to access her Facebook page and then to check thefeed on Linked-in and Xing. Or they hand over the tablet PC to Leon (if he whines long enough) sothat he can play one of his favourite educational games1.In the morning, all the family’s appointments are planned via the Orga-App2. If the fridge is empty,items are added to the shopping list in the Orga-App, and all their devices are automatically updated.If one of the parents is unable to keep an appointment, he or she needs only to change the entry inthe family diary, and the other one immediately receives a push message.If Stefan’s job means he has to travel by plane, he checks in via the app of the particular airline andreceives his ticket as QR code3. There’s no need to print the ticket or queue at the check-in counter.The same applies to buying tickets for public transport – both Nina and Stefan like using the app oftheir local transport network4.They mostly don’t use SMS any more but Whats-App5 instead – an online messenger service thateliminates the cost of sending SMS, since communication is via the Internet.Stefan and Nina work very hard and scarcely have time for each other. To keep their relationship ontrack despite everything, they use a program6 as an aide-memoire that displays the development andthe state of their relationship, awards points for time spent together and offers tips on how to spendthis “couple time” – going to a restaurant for example. Practical help is also offered in the form ofvouchers for restaurants. However, Stefan always checks these offers on Google first, where he canread an evaluation of any restaurant and the comments of other guests to help him decide whetherit is worth it or not. RedPaper: Grown-Up Digital Natives 3
  4. 4. They use their smart phones all the time for their other activities too: as a navigation device7 (if theydon’t have the latest version of the program, an update can quickly be downloaded while on themove), for sport8 (to check the intensity of their training, for example when jogging), when stuck ina traffic jam (to read Facebook or to chat) or to check in9 at Starbucks and claim a voucher for coffee– again as instantly redeemable QR code.Both Stefan and Nina think it is very important to be up-to-date, to see what their friends are doingand where they are at any given time. Status reports and pictures are annotated continuously. Invita-tions to dinner are also sent online – via, for example, the event invitation function on Facebook,which is quicker and simpler than phoning round several different people. In this way, everybody cansee straightaway who has time and who hasn’t.Nevertheless, Stefan and Nina still use the telephone, but instead of the traditional phone it’s Skype.By using Skype, you can see each other live and Leon can show his grandma and granddad his latestpictures live.Conclusion and outlookThis article has shown graphically how sociological changes and technological innovations are inter-dependent. For brand article companies, understanding the technologies of digital natives does notgo far enough. What is required is the spirit of enquiry to penetrate the world in which those peoplelive who take it for granted that they have a right to make use of the possibilities the world offers.“The link is more important than the thing,” stated Cova and Cova as early as 2001. This vision ofsocial togetherness will become even more important in the next generation of communication tech-nology: the Internet of things and therefore the peer-to-peer communication between end devices thatmake possible innovative processes of communication, coordination and communication; semantictechnologies that, via intelligent search engines, cluster web content and web services as you needthem; or instruments of opinion mining that automatically extract opinions and attitudes towardssituations or people. What is technically possible has to be turned into something with brand con-formity, appropriate for the target group and with practical application. There are still no reliablebenchmarks to gauge the success of commercial communication in people’s transmedia daily lives asillustrated above. But, if brand manufacturers face up to this new reality now, we’ll see comparablesuccess stories that will quantify to what extent advertising campaigns and brand communicationreach the hearts and heads of the grown-up digital natives. RedPaper: Grown-Up Digital Natives 4
  5. 5. Sources and links to further information:1 e.g. Lernerfolg Grundschule: e.g. Cozi: e.g. at Lufthansa: oder Air Berlin: e.g. at BVG: Whatsapp: e.g. Kahnoodle: e.g. TomTom: Nike App: either over Facebook or other geo-located services, such as Foursquare:, Zygmunt; Jakubzik, Frank: Leben in der Flüchtigen Moderne, Suhrkamp Verlag 2007Beck, Ulrich; Beck-Gernsheim, Elisabeth: Fernliebe: Lebensformen im globalen Zeitalter:Das globale Beziehungschaos, Suhrkamp Verlag 2011Bender, Justus: Studenten heute. Woran kann ich noch glauben. Zeit Campus 7.9.2009Cova, Bernard; Cova, Véronique: The tribalisation of society and ist impact on the conductof marketing., Anja: Debatte Macchiato-Mütter. Projektkinder der Edeleltern, TAZ, 27.8.2010Moreno, Juan: Es soll nicht weh tun. Warum junge Eltern anders sind als deren Eltern,Spiegel Spezial 1/2009Prensky, Marc: Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon,MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, Oktober 2001Speicher, Stephan: Prenzlauer-Berg-Mütter. Schlank, hübsch, verhasst,Süddeutsche Zeitung, 24.06.2011Mattauch, Christine: Boten der Liebe. Absatzwirtschaft, August 2011 RedPaper: Grown-Up Digital Natives 5
  6. 6. Responsible for content: Maria Luchterhandt und Sebastian Schmidt Maria Luchterhandt is Account Manager at Agentur Publicis in Berlin. She is currently focusing on the planning and implementation of adver- tising communication for the target group “connected families”. She previously gained several years experience as an adviser at Scholz & Friends in Berlin and Dentsu in Düsseldorf. She graduated in Business Studies at the University of Potsdam. Sebastian Schmidt is the Managing Director of Agentur Publicis in Berlin. Previously, Mr Schmidt worked at the Institute of Electronic Busi- ness e.V. (IEB), an institute of the University of the Arts (UdK) in Berlin, where he concentrated on the Innovation Centre for Digital Communi- cation. The main focus of his work was social media marketing, Enter- prise 2.0 and customer self-care.Publisher RedPaper:Spielwarenmesse eGMünchener Str. 33090471 Nürnberg, GermanyTel. +49 (0) 911/9 98 13-0Fax +49 (0) 911/86 96 60 RedPaper: Grown-Up Digital Natives 6