Let us be ready for Gen Next. There are many names given to this generation like Mosaics, Millennials, Net Generation (N-Gen), Navigators, the Y-Generation.
The Net Generation now adds up to over 81 million young people, which is approximately 30 per cent of our current population. In case you haven’t picked up on this yet, this group is larger than the Baby Boomers.
We have to be prepared for them as they are a force. So let’s get to know them.
- They are growing up in a world that is remarkably different from the one older adults have lived in.
- They are still pretty young.
- They have only known one Germany.
- They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up and Tiananmen Square means nothing to them.
- Star Wars looks very fake and the special effects are pathetic.
- They were born the year the walkman was introduced by Sony.
- Most have never seen or used a rotary dial phone.
Their general trends are as follows:
Self-reliance: They believe that becoming successful is up to them, and they don’t depend on others for help, but they want to be treated fairly.
Empowered adventurers: They think and learn in interactive, nonlinear ways. They are willing to explore, search and navigate.
Love of family: A surprising trend is they often rely on
their family as a sanctuary against the difficulties of life. They view their parents as the most important source of guidance and emotional support.
Relationships are paramount: They rely strongly on close personal networks of friends and family. They also have a desire to be connected with others.
Global icons: This generation is returning to the tried and true dream of all marketers — brand loyalty.
Educational achievement: They believe that good education is the gateway to success.
Diversity is important: This generation values diversity like none before them. They believe strongly in equal rights. They know they are growing up in an increasingly multicultural world.
Mobility equals freedom: This generation promises to be one of the most mobile ever. They don’t intend to stay at home.
Service-oriented: They have a strong sense of the common good and collective social and civic responsibility.
Hungry for the transcendent: They are spiritually hungry.
Hope: These kids are growing up with hope. They are not pessimistic or cynical.
Some tips on how to talk to them:
- Respect their intelligence, knowledge and ability
- It’s about how and where you fit into their world
- Talk TO them, not LIKE them
- Relevance! Show how you offer them value
- Communicate your message quickly and clearly
- Search/need for value will continue.
Director, Rotary International