While I was reading the Sunday Styles Section of the New York Times last Sunday, I found this article on the Millennials and the “next” Generation Z and I think It would be useful for everyone involved in PR, Marketing and Communications.
Generation Z refers to a group of youth aged 5 to 19. These tweens and teens of today are primed to become the dominant youth influencers of tomorrow so it is important to find the master key to their psyche.
In terms of digital world, Generation Z is the first generation to be raised in the era of smartphones, thus they have different habits of using social media as opposed to their seniors, which causes marketers and researchers to struggle in how to develop their campaigns for these digitally savvy youngsters.
Millennials, who were born between 1980 and 1995, just before Generation Z, conveyed their digital ideas with iPods and MySpace. On these real-name platforms, they sometimes risked compromising their future by posting too openly without caring about the consequences for their image. By contrast, as Generation Z takes in information instantaneously and loses interest just as fast. This Generation also prefers anonymous social media platforms like Secret, Whisper, or Snapchat. Apparently, they are more aware of their online personas and privacy protection.
Such differences are not limited in choosing social media platforms. Deep demographic shifts and attitudes on social issues are both creating cultural differences between these two generations.
Most importantly, parents of each generation also play an equally powerful role in shaping their collective outlooks. Millennials are narcissistic brats because they were largely raised by iconoclastic, self-absorbed, and grandiose baby boomers. On contrary, Generation Z tends to be the products of Generation X who always tried to give their children the safe, secure childhood that they never had due to their teenage during post-Watergate and post-Vietnam funk of the 1970s. Besides their parents’ influence, Generation Z also grew up in post-9/11 America, which resulted in hard times during their formative years and directly inspires their obsession with safety on themselves. Therefore, they pursue privacy, act with caution, and focus on sensible careers. These behaviors differentiate them from brash Millennials and make them more like their grandparents.
Those children of the late 1920s through the early ‘40s were called the Silent Generation. They were shaped by war and Depression and grew up to be the diligent careerists. Though this generation is the most career-focused one in history, they had no shortage of mavericks and have entrepreneurship in their DNA. This is why it is also the richest. As their grandparent, Generation Z individuals have ambitions to create their own business rather than follow others’ just so they have been witnessing start-up companies make it big instantly via social media over the recent years.