It’s time to rapidly clear up some jargon and get a high level view of the differences between Gen C, Gen Y and any other terms that may be used in the mix!
We’ll briefly answer 4 questions. If you want to know more – get in touch.
- Who is Gen Y and Gen C?
- What’s an easy way to spot the difference between Gen Y, Gen C and even other generations?
- What drives them?
- So what?
Marketing’s all about targeting (duh), so knowing the differences between Gen C and other generations is critical to success in promoting your products and services.
Who? Gen Y
1. Gen Y is typically a demographic group defined by an age group which embraces those born after 1984.
2. There are two quite opposing views on GenY. Essentially one view shows facts and data that Millennials (another name for Gen Y) are a very community minded, selfless generation and compares them to the GI generation that built America. (Howe & Strauss)
3. However other speakers and commentators such as Peter Sheahan, paint a picture of Gen Y being self focussed and at worst spoilt.
4. Newsweek called Gen Y “slackers” and stated that they are, “no good”. With “no hardships + no cause = boredom, anger and idiocy.” While the journalists combine facts with catchy headlines, Howe and Strauss based their book “Millenials” on US based sociological analysis to arrive at their conclusion of Gen Y as community minded – in effect, a potential hero generation.
Who is right? We believe that Gen Y demonstrates clear duality. They are selfish when it comes to their personal and work lives yet they connect strongly with select global issues. And if a global issue or movement overlaps sufficiently with their value system, they will commit substantial energy and resources to helping to make a change. So…Gen Y shows strong tendencies to be selfless. The twist is that this is only as long as it’s very much on their terms.
Who? Gen C
1. Gen C is a pyschographic group – that means, strictly speaking, they are ageless.
2. However there are two types of Gen C – born Gen C and adopted Gen C. Adopted Gen C are people not born Gen C but who choose to be active ‘digital natives’ who love digital media.
3. This is a paradigm shift. It is the first time in history that being part of a generation is a choice versus a function of when you were born. It’s like being able to choose a tribe. It marks the beginning of a new way in which generations will evolve.
Who? Gen Y / Gen C
So you can be Gen Y and Gen C at the same time – but one is a demographic and one is a psychographic. This mean for example, that you can be Gen X and Gen C at the same too.
But in both cases Y and X will be choosing to be Gen C. It’s like taking on a new religion. It’s a conscious decision that means a lot of ‘digital learning,’ understanding blogging netiquette, textiquette and a new way of communicating with different norms.
This means that Gen C is a much wider group than Gen Y to get your head around – so it will have a larger impact on marketing and society when compared to understanding Generations via demographic based approaches.
What’s an easy way to spot the difference between Gen Y, Gen C and even other generations?
This is a useful short-hand for understanding the differences between Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and Gen C.
1. Boomers were vinyl and ‘trannie’ junkies (transistor radio)
2. Gen X were born into vinyl but started to adopt tapes
3. Gen Y were born into CD’s and later adopted mp3s
4. Gen C were born into mp3s
5. Adopted Gen C are those who were very early adopters of mp3/itunes format(s) but have a happy love of other music formats
So if you say to someone “what was the first music format you bought”, it’s an easy way to distinguish where someone ‘started’ at a generational level within the framework of Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y or Gen C.
Then you have to do the work to get inside their heads!
What drives them?
This is a very quick overview of generational differences using a one-liner snapshot of each group to give a taste of changing motivations for each one.
We find that looking at a very brief, big picture view of key aspirations of each generation is a powerful way to get an understanding of what makes them tick…
1. Boomers – sought ‘freedom’ (or aspired to it – such as in the hippy movement and the sexual revolution)
2. Gen X – sought experience (or aspired to it in the form of travel)
3. Gen Y – sought self serving interaction (they were the first generation born into gaming and e-mail)
4. Gen C – seek control of their world and culture (they are overwhelmed by influences and aspire to look at and create content made by amateurs, as a way of staking out their own world.)
We are human beings not human doings and for the first time we live in an era when we can opt into being part of a generation – Gen C.
With an ageless generation, it’s too messy to just look at what they ‘do’ in order to connect with them, because the demographic is so wide. It’s critical that we look at motivation – namely, the ’be’ angle. And this demands a whole different way of connecting with customers to be successful. We call it Commection.
Though sometimes we wonder, whatever happened to C just being for Cool?!*