Whether it is in an interpersonal, professional or friendly context, generational identity is being studied more and more.
Generational identity can be defined as “an individual's awareness of his or her membership in a generational group and the significance of this group to the individual.” In order to better highlight the general differences and similarities among the generations, we explain them below.
Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964)
Baby Boomers got their title from the huge increase in births following World War II, which made them the largest generation from a demographic standpoint. Indeed, they represent a majority of the current workforce, which means that they play a considerable economic role.
Boomers can be described as hardworking, loyal and dedicated to their jobs. They like professions that are respected by the rest of society, where hierarchy and experience dominate. They prefer building relationships in person rather than by using technology, which they see as a productivity tool rather than a way to connect. Also, they are thoughtful consumers who prefer traditional over online shopping.
Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980)
Sandwiched between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials, Generation X can sometimes be overlooked. However, this generation is the starting point of some important technological advances, especially in the business field, during the era of digital transformation.
Being hard-working and conservative individuals, members of Gen X like to keep the same employer for a long time. They like to learn the traditional way: workshops, mentors, ongoing training, etc. This generation is often criticized for its poor money management. They are skeptical yet impulsive consumers who sometimes spend more money than they should, which leads them to debt.
Millennials (Generation Y, born between 1981 and 1995)
Millennials – also known as Generation Y – can be described as technophiles, lazy, impatient and self-centred. They grew up around technology, are open-minded and cannot live without their cell phones. They are educated, confident and constantly looking for quick success, which pushes them to seek something new in all areas of their life.
Entrepreneurial and self-taught, Millennials like to change jobs in order to grow. They want a friendly relationship with their boss, and they expect to get advice from them. Often criticized for their excessive use of technology, Millennials are not the best at interpersonal relationships. As big spenders, Millennials are the group that shops the most online.
Generation Z (born between 1996 and 2012)
Representing the most recent age group, Generation Z does not yet have a complete or final description. However, we already know that they resemble Millennials in many different ways. For example, members of Gen Z have been surrounded by technology since birth (digital native), and social media is important to them not only for building interpersonal relationships, but also for entertainment.
It is said that this generation will be the most entrepreneurial one ever. Its members will be even more educated and money-hungry, which means that they want to progress rapidly. They care about their impact on the environment, and they want to make the world a better place. Gen Z buys online, negotiates, looks for the right items, but does not seem to understand the value of money. In fact, this generation would prefer a cool product over a cool experience.
Considering generational identity in communications and public relations
Developing the right persona for a communications campaign can seem like a minor step. However, for example, when a client’s goal is to increase sales and their research reveals that a particular age group has the most potential buyers, the importance of choosing the right target becomes obvious.
Knowing each generation’s characteristics and habits can help define the target audience for a campaign, which is why it is important to understand them and to know how to respond to them.
Even when the campaign seems perfect on paper, that does not mean that its success is guaranteed. For example, is Instagram the best way to reach Baby Boomers? For the majority, the answer is no.
By being informed about Boomers’ consumer habits, we learn that they consume a lot of television, they use the Internet for research and they like to be notified by email. In light of this, using generational identity as a strategy will help develop better tactics to reach them.
At Capital-Image, having a team made up of people from different generations is not an obstacle – it is an asset! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like to use generational identity as a strategy in your public relations campaigns.
Whether it is to better understand your clients’ objectives, to help you define the right target audience, or simply to learn more about the topic, know that we have several experts on our team who can guide you.