Considering Multiple Generations: How to avoid the hyper-focus on generational differences
Much ink has been spilled in the effort to effectively communicate and market to different generations. Even the names and timespans of the generations change rapidly, adding to the confusion. Are there differences with each age group? Yes, of course. Should we keep in mind how these differences impact communication to our audiences? Yes. However, if you only concentrate on the differences and cater to each generation individually, chances are you will end up with a convoluted message and unsatisfactory results.
Instead of putting different generations in silos, it may be more productive to focus on commonalities for your campaigns and message placement.
Stay on message. Clarity remains key regardless of the audience. Clear, consistent, compelling storytelling resonates with every generation across the board. A narrative woven with facts that is balanced with succinct language that also humanizes will inform your audience without them being overwhelmed with too much detail or dissatisfied with too little information.
Balance message with imagery. Your words will have more impact when you use the right images to reinforce your message. Aim to incorporate original images that are not staged. Stock images can be part of the mix, but sometimes people will see them in multiple places since they are available for public usage.
Use digital and traditional media forms. Keep in mind that, many households have multiple generations in them. Younger people are tending to live at home longer; even if they are college graduates with full-time employment. When a household has a younger person living there, he or she is often called upon to help the generations who are less familiar with the digital learning curve. Young people will also watch television with their older relatives and are thus exposed to other non-digital forms of advertising. Visually appealing and compelling direct mail is also useful across generations. Young people also tend to take what their friends and family recommend with equal or greater weight than what an internet review may say.
You and your message will stand apart when you are able to cut through the noise and touch on the things that unify us, no matter our age. A strategy that incorporates a mix of media platforms will result in a dynamic cross-section of audiences.
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