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Gen-X VS Millennials VS Gen Edge

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Every generation has a shared set of experiences, values, and cultural flash points that come together to form distinct expressions of identity. To brush up on your generational differences, check out our latest guide.

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Gen-X VS Millennials VS Gen Edge

  1. 1. GENERATION GENERATIONGENX
  2. 2. THE SOUND 2 GEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE GENX GENERATION Dave Grohl 1964 - 1979 Jaden Smith 1996 - present Taylor Swi5 1980 - 1995 GENERATION
  3. 3. THE SOUND 3 GEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE CULTURAL CONTEXT THE SOUND GENERATION GENERATIONGENX ‣ Climate change ‣ The war on terror ‣ Financial boom & crash ‣ Internet revolu8on ‣ Youtube & Facebook ‣ iPod ‣ Great recession & austerity ‣ Widespread global conflict ‣ First black president ‣ Ubiquitous smartphones ‣ Snapchat & Facebook Live ‣ Spo8fy ‣ Mass divorce ‣ AIDS crisis ‣ End of the Cold War ‣ Cable TV & dial-up modems ‣ Landlines & pagers ‣ Walkman IDENTITY SHAPED BY A MIX OF CRISIS AND OPPORTUNITY IDENTITY SHAPED BY A MIX OF HARDSHIP AND INSTANT GRATIFICATION IDENTITY SHAPED BY A MIX OF ACCELERATION AND FRAGMENTATION
  4. 4. THE SOUND 4 GEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE UPBRINGING THE SOUND GENERATION GENERATION Millennials were raised by highly involved Boomer parents who ins?lled in their children a sense of op?mism and were ac?vely involved in fostering their success. ‣ It’s hard for them to see themselves as solely responsible when they are so reliant on collabora8on and networking SUPPORTED Gen Edgers are being raised by cynical, rebellious Gen-Xers who give them a healthy dose of skep?cism and self-reliance. ‣ Gen Edgers are savvy and will leverage opportuni8es afforded to them but 
 ul8mately they feel personally responsible 
 for their success SELF-RELIANT Gen-Xers were the first genera?on to have 
 both parents working outside of the home and experience divorce on a genera?onal scale. They came home to an empty house and developed a strong sense of self-sufficiency thanks to low levels of parental involvement. ‣ They’re independent; accustomed to 
 relying on themselves AUTONOMOUS GENX
  5. 5. As the first genera?on to experience fluidity with gender roles en masse, Gen-X has been at the forefront of various equality movements. ‣ Took up and popularized nascent movements around gay rights, LGTBQ2, feminism and equality ‣ Confusion around how to talk about a far 
 more fragmented gender landscape today GENDER RIGHTS THE SOUND 5 GEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE GENDER DYNAMICS For Millennials, gender and sexual equality is more established — yielding high levels of acceptance. Paradoxically, this also means that there’s not as 
 much awareness of the hard-fought baTles of the recent past. ‣ Stay at home dads and equally-shared responsibili8es ‣ No judgement; respect for personal choices ‣ Experience a ‘don’t know how good you have it’ from Gen-Xers who had to overcome more marginaliza8on GENDER OPENNESS Coined the “pluralist genera?on,” Gen Edge doesn’t define themselves as much by gender. They’re the ones on the vanguard in terms of rejec?ng binaries. ‣ Fashion that cross-pollinates between genders ‣ Ac8vely nego8a8ng gender pronouns — i.e., she vs they vs ze vs hir ‣ They see gender and sexual diversity as natural, not poli8cal POST-GENDER THE SOUND GENERATION GENERATIONGENX
  6. 6. THE SOUND 6 GEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE ROAD TO ADULTHOOD THE SOUND GENERATION GENERATION Millennials benefited from a long period of rela?ve economic stability, so they were able to develop their iden?ty in a prolonged youth context. ‣ This stresses them out as they fear missing 
 adult milestones ‣ Success defined by personal sa8sfac8on 
 and individuality EXTENDED ADOLESCENCE Due to the challenging, compe??ve context they were raised in, Gen Edge doesn’t have the luxury of experiencing an extended youth. ‣ Success measured by balancing new opportunity with desired stability ‣ Ex: pragma8c college degrees; learning to code ACCELERATED ADULTING Gen-X reacted to the Boomer model – they wanted more control over their lives and didn’t want to have kids right away or even at all. ‣ Many became childless by choice or had children well into their 30s ‣ Success more likely to be measured along cultural terms or career REDEFINING ADULTHOOD GENX
  7. 7. THE SOUND 7 GEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE APPROACH TO MATURATION THE SOUND GENERATION GENERATIONGENX Millennials are highly mo?vated to achieve maturity; they want to be taken seriously, to feel like they’re a part of everything that’s important and to achieve their personal goals. ‣ Frustra8on with prolonged adolescence ‣ Adulthood starts a`er 35 ‣ Messaging around experience resonates MATURITY ASPIRANT Hardened by the world around them, Gen Edge is forced to grow up fast. They don’t expect much from tradi?onal norms and ins?tu?ons. ‣ Frustrated by forced acceptance of conven8ons that comes with being ‘young’ ‣ Messaging around independence resonates PRE-MATURE Many Gen-Xers are now parents, and they are more economically empowered than ever. But because they never abandoned the culture of their youth, there’s a strong desire to live for today. ‣ Frustrated with tradi8onal aging model ‣ Messaging around youthfulness resonates MATURITY ADJUSTING
  8. 8. THE SOUND 8 GEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE ATTITUDE / OUTLOOK THE SOUND GENERATION GENERATION Millennials were promised the world by their Boomer parents - they are a highly posi?ve genera?on and believe they can make a difference. Engage with brands that deliver a sense of: ‣ Mutual values-based goals ‣ Op8mism ‣ Shi`ing tradi8onal paradigms IDEALISTS Gen Edge has grown up in a state of recession and bleak growth - they are pragma?c and value responsibility & tangible results. Engage with brands that deliver a sense of: ‣ Usefulness ‣ Opportuni8es for them to actually DO something in the world ‣ Global responsibility REALISTS Gen-X is defined by a pervading sense of cynicism. They grew up valuing the underground, and sought to keep their culture secret from the mainstream. Engage with brands that deliver a sense of: ‣ Exclusivity ‣ Underground ‣ Rebellion SKEPTICS GENX
  9. 9. THE SOUND 9 GEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE SOCIAL BEHAVIOR THE SOUND GENERATION GENERATION Millennials see a diverse group of friends as essen?al. They are happy to reveal most of their secrets in order to forge connec?ons. ‣ Different skills strengthen the group ‣ Adopt dis8nct roles in different friendship groups GROUPS Gen Edge value their privacy… a lot … and are careful of what they disclose and who they let into their inner circle. ‣ Incredibly close to their friends when they do let them in — they are the family they choose ‣ Prefer ephemeral apps like Snapchat that allow for impermanence SQUADS Gen-X grew up intensely experiencing the tension between belonging and individualism. Striving to be part of the popular cliques was par for the course. ‣ Set social hierarchies and dichotomies ‣ Cool kids vs. Nerds CLIQUES GENX
  10. 10. THE SOUND 10 GEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE RELATIONSHIP WITH TECHNOLOGY THE SOUND GENERATION GENERATIONGENX Millennials grew up during the Internet revolu?on and are constantly striving to find balance between disconnec?ng vs missing out. ‣ Able to talk about how technology has changed their world ‣ Less likely to own a TV ‣ Less likely to have a cable subscrip8on TECH MANAGERS Gen Edge find it almost impossible to talk about technology and the impact it has on their lives; they don’t remember the sound of a modem or a world with monolithic news sources. ‣ Technology is their natural portal to the world ‣ Immediacy maders TECH NATURALISTS Gen-X came of age as the personal computer emerged, many learning how to use tech as adults. They’re digitally savvy, but ‘80s mainstream media set their values. ‣ Nostalgic for when technology wasn’t pervasive ‣ Appreciate tradi8onal journalism ‣ Magazines & newspapers s8ll play a role TECH ADOPTERS
  11. 11. THE SOUND 11 GEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE TARGETING GEN-X, MILLENNIALS, & GEN EDGE
  12. 12. TARGETING GEN X, MILLENNIALS, & GEN EDGE 12THE SOUND THE SOUNDGEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE TAKING THE RIGHT TONE Connec?ng with Gen-X is not just about talking to them as parents, but also as individuals. Don’t airbrush the reality of middle age - they are the original cynics. But don’t simply define them by their age category: they have rejected the idea of ‘geeng old’. Success is a work in progress - indulgent purchases celebrate achievements, not arrival. Escapism for them is hard-earned, so don’t make them feel guilty or ridiculous for it. They’re looking forward, not backwards. Millennials put a premium on authen?c, handmade, and locally-produced goods. Geeng a good deal is a priority, but they won’t compromise on quality. They want to feel good about what they buy. Don’t assume that Millennials are completely focused on themselves; especially as they age, they’re eager to begin reciproca8ng the care and support their parents once showed them. Gen Edgers are cri?cal thinkers... which means they’re going to think cri?cally about your brand. To achieve their goals, Gen Edge looks to the alterna8ve, the challenger, the rebel. Brands with alterna8ve posi8oning will resonate. Keep it real. They look for func8on and efficacy in brands as much as they seek image. They see adver8sing as an annoyance and hate being obviously marketed to. Figure out how to integrate rather than dominate. GENX GENERATION GENERATION
  13. 13. TARGETING GEN X, MILLENNIALS, & GEN EDGE 13THE SOUND THE SOUNDGEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE WHERE THEIR ATTENTION IS While they are fully naturalized digital ci?zens, they ac?vely carve out immersive, non-digital media ?me - presen?ng an opportunity to connect with this genera?on on a meaningful level. Gen-X holds onto and values printed supplements … fuelling opportuni8es to create branded content that really cuts through. Con?nue focus on non-tradi?onal media channels, with an effort to connect authen?cally. They’re watching TV on alterna8ve plaiorms while simultaneously tethered to their smartphones and social media. At the same 8me, they have led the resurgence of old formats like vinyl and richly designed print magazines. Tangible quality can co-exist with their mul8-screen media stream. Gen Edge wants to own, subvert and change things. Expect them to poke fun and play with your messaging. Take it as a compliment. They also love to document their do-er aetudes and broadcast their efforts when it feels right. Consider them your target ... and your media plaiorm. Don’t try to control your message or medium; it won’t work. They want to hack or personalize rather than be trapped in a walled garden. GENX GENERATION GENERATION
  14. 14. TARGETING GEN X, MILLENNIALS, & GEN EDGE 14THE SOUND THE SOUNDGEN X VS MILLENNIALS VS GEN EDGE PRODUCT AND PORTFOLIO INNOVATION With a strong sense of familial duty, shopping comes with pragma?c compromise — but at the same ?me, they need to indulge in personal pleasures. Tap into this need with products that celebrate them as individuals and help them avoid the fear of merging into the supermarket ‘herd’. Millennials are dabblers. Driven by an overabundance of choice and limited resources, Millennials have shifed their buying strategy to be renters instead of owners. More op8ons have only fuelled their promiscuous aetude towards brands; this genera8on values explora8on over commitment. Push freedom to try new func8ons, units, markets as a compe88ve advantage. Introduce more variants more o`en to maintain interest in category. Limited Edi8on plays directly into Millennial needs! Edgers are more focused on standing out than being #1. Consider ways to allow your products to drive the individualism or compe88ve differen8a8on that Edgers crave. Edgers are prac8cal spenders and will lack a mo8va8on to purchase unless a clear point of difference is evident. GENX GENERATION GENERATION
  15. 15. V A N C O U V E R | N E W Y O R K | L O N D O N | T O R O N T O | C H I C A G O | M U M B A I W W W . T H E S O U N D H Q . C O M

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