Generation Y. Born 1980 to 1995 and 80 million strong they come of age in a “good news/bad news”-like circumstance. No matter what the parenting pundits say, the truth is we can’t identify with ...
Born 1980 to 1995 and 80 million strong they come of age in a “good news/bad news”-like circumstance. No matter what the parenting pundits say, the truth is we can’t identify with this generation completely – they have issues and experiences that the words, “I know what you are going through,” can never fully support them while presenting a straight face.
So what to say? How to explain the landscape ahead if you never had to personally survive it? I admire their tenacity and courageous strength but am often at a loss for words for the world they have witnessed and will build in the future.
For example, in one of many analyses – this one from CBS News
– their sheer size makes them superb targets for goods, services and ideas. It also explains why their musicians, athletes and actors are not just entertaining artists but marketing professionals.
They are growing up in a financial environment in which college debt is overtaking personal debt as the next real credit crisis. Their wages are earmarked to support their baby boomer parents and grandparents into old age. But they have been raised to be part of a team, conventional and with values that give them a stake in the community at large.
They get (electronically) close to the society but never face-to-face or in the same room. Yet they are the most diverse and tolerant generation –conversing citizens in a global community.
They have more choice than they have time or energy to evaluate and enjoy. As a result, they have been perfecting the process of multi-tasking for years.
Their culture’s conditioning has reinforced their above-average-ness (everyone gets a trophy!) yet the business world will demand that they work to earn respect, not end up getting a compliment with every decision.
Their humor is harsher, snarky and unforgiving. Their news is headlines and highlight reels. They are voyeurs in other’s lives though broadcast entertainment that are not constructed from someone’s creative mind, but unfolding in a beach-front setting with “masquerading as adults” adults.
They deserve to be kids. They are kids too long.
So there I am, back at home. “You just don’t get it,” claims my teenager. And despite all the study, as marketer and mom, he’s right. I don’t.
But I will contest that being a teen or young adult and feeling confused and alienated isn’t newly developed by the Gen Y'er. And in the end, having been a teenager once, I can at least try to identify with that.
This article was written by Lauren Isaacson-Lev, expert in Marketing&Media.
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