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The generation after Millennials are NOT like Millennials: We call them Generation Edge

Since the beginning of 2013 we've been hitting the streets (both real and online), talking to Post Millennials, people born after 1995, trying to figure out what it is that makes them tick. This cohort, the oldest of which are around 19 years old today, are definitely different from the typical Millennial. We've learned a lot and we're ready to share, which is pretty exciting for us. Gen-Edge went from being frustrating enigmas, to something else entirely. It's fair to say we've become a little obsessed.

Trust us, if we'd found that they were just mini-Millennials, we would have moved on a long time ago. Instead, we're telling you they're anything but. As good brand advisors (and die-hard qualitative researchers), we feel it's our duty to tell you why and how.

This short presentation shows some key differences between Millennials and Gen-Edge. We think these differences will have a significant impact on the way this group interacts with brands and what is required of marketing communication and social media for them.

Take a look and let us know what you think.

The Sound

The generation after Millennials are NOT like Millennials: We call them Generation Edge

  1. 1. PREPARED BY THE SOUND | MARCH 2014 | MILLENNIALS v e r s u s
  2. 2. A team of 40 strategic researchers based in New York, Chicago, Vancouver, Toronto, and London. THE SOUND ENGAGES BRANDS WITH PEOPLE    We engage through a professional approach. We engage with a smart understanding of brand management and the planning process. We engage through a process that our respondents and clients enjoy. We engage with highly visual debriefs, info-graphics and TV quality documentaries. We engage by being brilliant and never ever boring... THE SOUND RESEARCH
  3. 3. VS. COMING OF AGE... GEN-EDGE: BORN BETWEEN 1995 TO PRESENT, AGED 19 AND YOUNGER • Comparable size to Millennials - 7 million (Canada), 72 million (US) • A generation born into a world on the edge of economic, political, social, and environmental collapse - Recession - Instagram - Occupy Movement - Cyber-bullying MILLENNIALS: BORN BETWEEN 1981 AND 1996, AGED 18-33 YEARS OLD • Largest generation since the Boomers - 9 million (Canada), 76 million (US) • Identity shaped by a mix of crisis and opportunity - 9/11 - Global warming - Facebook - American Idol
  4. 4. VS. EXTENDED ADOLESCENCE VS. PREMATURE ADULTHOOD MILLENNIALS ARE DEVELOPING THEIR IDENTITY IN A LONGER YOUTH CONTEXT • Resulted in new lifestage - “Emerging Adulthood” - 20’s now expected to be a time of exploration, given social permission to defer responsibility, stay home • Leads to heightened uncertainty, stress - Compressed maturity experience (i.e. Biological Clock, Guyological Clock) DUE TO THEIR CHALLENGING, COMPETITIVE CONTEXT, GEN-EDGE WON’T HAVE THE LUXURY OF EXPERIENCING AN EXTENDED YOUTH • “Premature Adulthood” - Forced to consider the realities of the world in their teen years, despite lack of development - Exposed to adult social/economic anxieties earlier in life (i.e. job, bills) • Forced out of the home sooner...
  5. 5. VS. MATURITY ASPIRANT VS. WELL... MATURE MILLENNIALS ARE HIGHLY MOTIVATED TO ACHIEVE MATURITY • Desire to be taken seriously and achieve their goals - Highly future-focused, pine for their 30’s when everything will “just make sense” • Results in a sense of frustration with being young... messaging around experience resonates - Dos Equis - Old Spice HARDENED BY BY THE WORLD AROUND THEM, GEN- EDGE ARE FORCED TO GROW UP FAST • More mature, self-aware generation... - Expected to define their ideologies, values, and belief systems early in life - Sense of wisdom far beyond their years - Highly relied on by parents, teachers • Prefer to live in the moment, understand they won’t always have their youth to fall back on
  6. 6. VS. IDEALISTS VS. REALISTS MILLENNIALS WERE PROMISED THE WORLD BY THEIR BOOMER PARENTS • Goals are lofty and idealistic - Becoming a top-grossing business mogul or chart topping recording artist doesn’t seem out of scope • Expect their passion to become their profession - Refuse to do something they don’t “love” GEN-EDGE HAVE GROWN UP IN A RECESSION AND BLEAK GROWTH - UNDERSTAND THE COMPETITIVE NATURE OF THE JOB MARKET • Future projections much more grounded and realistic - Encouraged by Gen X parents to set achievable goals, need to work hard to get there • Not ones to feel sorry for themselves either... just the way it is
  7. 7. VS. ENTITLED VS. RESOURCEFUL MILLENNIALS ARE AN ENTITLED GENERATION • Feel entitled to a comfortable way of life - What they’re accustomed to living at home... (i.e. good salary, house, car, vacations) • Feel the world “owes” them something • Expect their youth and desire to succeed to be enough GEN-EDGE ARE A RESOURCEFUL GENERATION • Seek alternative ways to make it in the world • Know they’ll be lucky enough to get a job, let alone their dream job - Can’t feel entitled to things they’ve been told won’t be there, i.e. job, house, car • Results in hard work...understand opportunities won’t be handed to them, have to create them themselves
  8. 8. VS. TECHNOLOGY ASPIRANTS VS. TECHNOLOGY USERS MILLENNIALS HAVE GROWN UP DURING THE INTERNET REVOLUTION...EVERY ASPECT OF THEIR LIFE IS ENTWINED WITH TECHNOLOGY • Enamored by technological advancement, tech can do no wrong - Witnessed the dot-com boom, the potential of innovation - Live much of their lives online • Feel it is their responsibility to convince older generations of its value GEN-EDGE ARE USERS OF TECHNOLOGY... BUT REFUSE TO BE DEFINED BY IT • Tech is something they grew up in, have never known a world without it - Don’t celebrate innovation...expect it • See a danger in giving tech too much credit - Aware of its limits, what it can’t do, i.e. always being “on,” cyber-bullying • Crave and appreciate physical human contact, i.e. live events and concerts
  9. 9. VS. ALTRUISTIC VS. CHARITABLE MILLENNIALS OFTEN COINED AS “GENERATION HERO” • Feel an obligation to “right the wrongs” of previous generations • Value social welfare and sustainability, but many unwilling to sacrifice personal comforts to effect real change...regardless of appearances - More the message than the movement, with most only recycling GEN-EDGE FEEL AN INHERENT RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE...AND ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT • Strong desire to be “changemakers” - Find previous generations’ inaction frustrating - Not selfish with their time - actively enact social & environmental change in their communities, schools, purchases (i.e. Toms) • Can see right through the green bulls#$!
  10. 10. VS. PERFECTIONISTIC VS. VULNERABLE MILLENNIALS ARE SELF-PROCLAIMED PERFECTIONISTS • Over-achievers - primary driver of self-esteem • Feel pressure to be “perfect” in all aspects of their lives - school, work, social networks - False sense of confidence - Less self-forgiving, failure not an option • Results in high stress levels and increasing rates of anxiety and depression GEN-EDGE THINK BEING PERFECT IS BORING... • Weakening negative stigma around mental health, substance abuse, sexuality, etc. • Much more open to sharing their weaknesses without fear of social repercussion - volunteer it! - Overcoming challenge builds stamina, makes you interesting - More self-forgiving - failure not a flaw in character but an opportunity to try again
  11. 11. VS. POPULAR VS. PRIVATE MILLENNIALS HAVE A CURATED IDENTITY • Develop and manage their identity on line - Friends, interests, aspirations all on social networks for all to see - Social cache in number of Facebook friends • Very happy to reveal almost all their secrets to almost anyone... - Little regard for privacy GEN-EDGE VALUE THEIR PRIVACY...A LOT • Weary of how much they engage in social networking, what they use it for - Careful to manage what they disclose - Many opting out of Facebook, social cache in NOT being a member • Understand the repercussions of over-sharing, i.e. dangerous, self-indulgent • ...and respect others’ privacy too
  12. 12. VS. CONFORMIST VS. REFORMIST MILLENNIALS ARE CONFORMISTS • Tend to follow the pack to ensure peer and societal acceptance - Often seek the guidance of others regarding life direction, provides sense of security • Have no need to rebel, seek alternative ways of being, challenge the system • Happily jump on the “brand wagon,” appreciate consumer-crowd-sourcing opportunities GEN-EDGE ARE REFORMISTS • Witnessing the fallout of unmitigated greed, don’t trust institutions (banks, corps), openly challenge them • ...But don’t mistake this for rebellion - Outspoken, important to have an opinion on everything... - But careful how they deliver a message • Critical of brands, careful who they “let in”
  13. 13. VS. CODDLED VS. SURVIVALIST MILLENNIALS WERE RAISED BY OPTIMISTIC BOOMERS • Heavily involved in their upbringing - Protect them from reality - Invest in boosting their self-esteem • Resulted in a generation living at home into their 30s, paying no rent - “Helicoptering” parenting - “Best friend” parenting GEN-EDGE RAISED BY CYNICAL, REBELLIOUS, HIGHLY INDIVIDUATED GEN-X • Prepare them for the reality of life, encourage them to challenge the status quo - Don’t inflate their egos - work hard, trust no one • Witness challenges parents face, results in an independent and resilient generation • Gen-Edge want a parent, not a friend...
  14. 14. VS. TRADITIONAL LEARNERS VS. CRITICAL THINKERS MILLENNIALS VALUE STANDARDIZED EDUCATION • Post-secondary considered ticket to success - Extend academic career to defer maturity - High reliance on parent/professor guidance • Aspire to earn their Masters or PhD, bachelor’s degree “not enough anymore” • Results in high stress and high debt... - Disappointed by unemployment rates upon graduation GEN-EDGE VALUE APPLIED, PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION • Brought up in an educational system that emphasizes the practical vs. theoretical - Better prepares them for the real world - Self-learning, critical thinking, introspection • Not blindly attending university - realize there are other options, i.e. skilled trades, self-employment - University attendance rates down in most countries...
  16. 16. TARGETING MILLENNIALS AND GEN-EDGE? FOR GEN-EDGE, ALTERNATIVE IS COOL... • Being different, choosing your own path • Engage with brands that help them express their uniqueness • Engage with brands who recognize their need to survive in a harsh world - survival innovation platforms likely to resonate • Engage with brands that have “edge,” will grab their attention FOR MILLENNIALS, AUTHENTICITY IS COOL... • Being true to self • Engage with brands that deliver a sense of authenticity - Heritage, trustworthiness, originality
  17. 17. MILLENNIALS v e r s u s PREPARED BY THE SOUND | MARCH 2014 |