Posts Tagged ‘millennials’


Cross the Generational App Divide by Discovering Improvement Points

Monday, October 13th, 2014
Generation Gap Apps BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Public Relations PR Software media monitoring press clipping

flickr user Jason Howie under CC BY

It happens all the time: older generations just don’t get the latest gizmos kids these days are using. What doesn’t happen every day is when there’s a conversation about it in an editorial space and the publication makes that conversation public.

That’s what news site Quartz did last week. In talking about payment app Venmo, writers under 30 said they used the app all the time and that they and their friends found it incredibly useful. The response from the over-30 crowd: “Why?!”

Venmo allows users to pay their friends for split checks, rent, whatever. The fact that one of your friends paid another can show up in your feed, like social media, or the payments can remain private. The over-30 participants in the chat remained bewildered as to why under-30s would want such information shared and why they would connect their bank account with an app in the first place.

As an under-30 myself, I’d never heard of Venmo and would probably never use it. But the over-30s in this conversation missed a crucial point, one that is frequently missed when talking to and marketing across generations: It doesn’t matter if you don’t get it, because people use it anyway.

In August The Atlantic published some findings about the most popular apps by generation, and while everyone’s top apps include Facebook and Pandora Radio, there’s a surprising (or not so surprising) difference between age groups. People over 55 play solitaire and use Yahoo! Mail, people 35 to 54 use Viggle and still play Candy Crush, users 25-34 still use Skype and have the highest Netflix usage, and people ages 18 to 24 use Kik Messenger, Snapchat, and Ifunny :).

This makes plain what most people would expect: Just as different generations respond to different words and messaging, they use different apps and interact with their smart phones differently. The Quartz discussion makes clear that for public relations pros and marketers, it’s important not to get caught up in thinking “why would you use that?” but instead to focus on the facets of popular apps that draw in users of specific age groups and leverage that understanding to reach an ever broader audience.

The most important thing to focus on is what does the app improve? Most apps that resonate with users will improve an existing procedure. Kik allows you to message your friends while also browsing news and games. This improves chatting by not forcing users to switch apps all the time. Venmo makes it easy for kids who don’t like to carry cash to easily and immediately pay each other back.

You might not be an app developer, but analyzing app use across generations can help you figure out what users and generations value and then speaking to those values.

The Marketing Words That Work With Each Generation

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Words That Work For Each Generation BurrellesLuce Media Monitoring Public Relations PR Software Marketing Millennials Generation X Demographics can be a slippery slope – combining 15 to 20 years’ worth of people into one neat category? Not so accurate. As a result marketers and public relations pros alike would be remiss to think that one style of language will resonate across the generations.

There’s a lot more that goes into messaging – like targeting and segmentation – but putting that aside for this post, let’s take a look at words and language styles that generally speak to each generation.

Generation Z

Born between 1995 and 2010, the earliest part of Gen Z is coming into its own purchasing power. These tech savvy multitaskers also respond to discussion about sustainability and green products. They’re also constantly adopting the latest technology and want to know what’s next. Gen Z also cares about privacy (hence their tendency toward ephemeral social media like SnapChat), having control over their own preference and security settings, and tend to prefer visuals over text and short, bite-sized content.

Generation Y/ Millennials

Ah, the elusive target market unicorn. It seems everyone wants to market to Millennials but no one can agree on how. Well, that might be because marketers tend to lean too heavily on stereotypes instead of reality. Some Millennials are go-getters with steady jobs who carefully cultivate their own brand, while others are trapped by economic circumstance: overeducated, underemployed, and not as financially independent as they’d like to be.

A lot of millennials respond to off-beat, sarcastic humor, social awareness, and freedom. Being aware of so many social and civil rights issues, using inclusive language and imagery is especially important for resonance, and Millennials like to hear words like “global citizen,” “diversity,” and “community.”

Generation X

GenXers tend to be skeptical, especially of the government (which is what growing up during Watergate and the Vietnam War will do to you), so they’re not into hype. They’re also protective of their personal time, so Anne Loehr recommends using phrases like “It’s your time … “, and “You will benefit by …”   Be real, refrain from being overly optimistic, and since Gen X likes data, emphasize results.

Boomers

Since Baby Boomers control 70 percent of disposable income in the U.S., it’s pretty important to get your messaging right. Like all generations, they like humor, but prefer it to be clever and not mean-spirited.

Boomers like positivity and are enjoying their economic freedom, so provide options and create positive messaging instead of using the word “don’t.” Try to include messages that explain why you understand Boomers, how you make their life easier, or how you make their life better. Boomers tend to be idealistic and ambitious, so using legacy-oriented language, a bit of sentimentality, and lots of information will most help your message resonate.

Traditionalists

Traditionalists, born 1925ish to 1945, grew up in the Great Depression and WWII, so they’re frugal, traditional, and loyal – once you’ve earned that loyalty. Emphasizing a company’s legacy, stability, reputation, and trustworthiness are all important.

Words like “earned,” “honor,” “respect,” “reliable,” “value,” and “responsibility” all resonate with Traditionalists.

So when you’re writing your blogs, releases, or messages, be sure to keep in mind who your audience is and what language they respond to. And also remember that demographics are very general, so further targeting and segmenting will help you hone your message further and more carefully curate your words.

 

PR Insights From Obama’s “Between Two Ferns” Sit-down

Monday, March 17th, 2014

PR Insights from Obama's Between Two Ferns sit-down Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasYou’ve probably already seen President Obama’s appearance last week on “Between Two Ferns,” the satirical interview show hosted by The Hangover star Zach Galifianakis. There to plug the Affordable Care Act, President Obama got a lot of criticism from most corners of the media – not for his message, but for his choice of medium.

Predictably, a lot of pundits proclaimed that the appearance wasn’t “presidential” or “undermined the office of the president.” But regardless of your politics, any good PR pro would have to admit that the White House followed the top tenets of PR and marketing: know your audience, and reach them where they are.

This particular appearance was aimed at Millennials in an effort to get them to sign up for health insurance through healthcare.gov before the March 31 deadline. The President has been publicly advocating for the ACA for many months, but enrollment among young people has lagged. So what’s any good marketing and PR pro to do when a particular audience segment isn’t responding? Reach them where they are.

Which is why Funny or Die was such a savvy choice of platform; it’s a site with noted success in the 18- to 34-year-old male demographic. A lot of the commentators who didn’t “get it” or didn’t like it were, unsurprisingly, not in the target demographic.

Now that the dust has settled from President Obama’s appearance, let’s look at a few PR and marketing takeaways:

First, it’s OK if your medium isn’t universally appealing. There’s a reason it’s called targeting – every target demographic will respond to different things. President Obama’s team knew they were trying to reach an audience who wants to be entertained and doesn’t watch much live TV, so arranging a spot on a live-aired television show would not have adequately reached the target audience.  The Huffington Post reports that 25 percent of Americans age 18 to 29 saw the video, so perhaps the segment isn’t as large as the White House had hoped for, however it’s possible that that segment hadn’t been reached in other, more traditional channels the White House pursued previously.

Take your brand outside its normal realm to reach an elusive audience segment and freshen the message. Doing something unexpected grabs attention, like Beyonce did with her unannounced, iTunes-only album launch, like Red Bull did with the Stratos Space Jump, or Amazon did with its drone delivery testing video. It also helps to use a different platform to reach your audience, as Vladmir Putin did with a New York Times op-ed. President Obama routinely takes his brand to new platforms, as he did in 2012 with a reddit Ask Me Anything.

A more obvious choice of platform would have been Comedy Central’s The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, but by choosing “Between Two Ferns,” the President’s team opted out of the implicit political vibe on the two news comedy shows. This not only helped reach a different portion of the target demographic, but also freshened the message on a very drawn-out issue.

Don’t define success solely by whether people like you; look at your numbers to see if the medium was a successful platform for your message. Sentiment is an excellent way to measure your media coverage, but it’s not the only indicator of success, especially if you’re looking to increase referrals, sales, or enrollment. Look at other key metrics like traffic increase and numbers of sales or referrals. The President’s spot, despite positive and negative segment, was successful in that the video garnered more than 11 million views and traffic to healthcare.gov jumped 40 percent on Tuesday. Whether it was ultimately successful in increasing enrollment remains to be seen.

Do you think President Obama’s platform was a successful one? How do you adapt your platform to your audience?

BurrellesLuce Complimentary Webinar: Managing, Motivating, and Leading Millennials

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

BurrellesLuce Complimentary Webinar: Managing, Motivating, and Leading MillennialsBurrellesLuce Complimentary Webinar: Managing, Motivating, and Leading Millennials

When: Monday, October 22, 2012

Time: 1:00 pm EDT

Register Now!

The PR industry is recovering faster than the economy. So your organization must renew its focus on effectively engaging and inspiring Millennials, our largest and fastest-growing pool of PR professionals. That’s because they’re once again getting choosy about the firms where they work.

Is your organization Millennial-friendly? Join BurrellesLuce and Ken Jacobs, principal at Jacobs Communication Consulting, LLC, and find out!

This webinar will provide knowledge about this demographic group that will help attendees to better understand and lead them, while reducing the frustration many Gen-Xers and Boomers report in attempting to do so.

  • The 10 most important traits you must understand about Millennials.
  • The 20 most important actions you can take to help you manage, lead and motivate Millennials more effectively.
  • The dichotomy of their exaggerated-yet-delicate sense of self.
  • Why they want freedom, yet desire structure and frequent feedback.
  • Key differences between Millennials and Gen-Xers.
  • What they want from their work environment…and from you.
  • How to optimize your communications with them.

Register Now!

Moderator:
Johna Burke, senior vice president, marketing, BurrellesLuce

Space is limited. Sign up now for this free webinar, “Managing, Motivating and Leading Millennials.” If we are unable to accept your registration, an on-demand presentation will be available for review after the event at www.burrellesluce.com.

Do Communication Styles Really Differ Among The Generations?

Friday, March 26th, 2010

millenial communications

Valerie Simon

Do you choose your words carefully? I’m not referring to SEO, but to everyday communication – blog posts, emails, texts, meetings, and even office conversations.

Recently, I have heard several Gen X managers, voice concerns regarding patterns of communication they are noticing in Gen Y employees; in particular, lengthy email exchanges that could be more efficiently managed with a quick phone call or a stroll 30 feet away, and tweets and emails which appear hastily written and not well thought out. Is this simply the result of a heightened comfort level that comes with growing up immersed in digital communications?

While I have read concerns that these digital habits also have a negative effect on face-to-face communications skills, my experience has been quite the opposite. In fact, I have noticed many of these same members of Gen Y, thrive in “real life” conversations. I see a respect and humility in their body language, and have been touched by the sincerity and thoughtfulness of their words. Looking someone in the eye seems to bring out a heightened awareness of the impact of their words and adds a sense of importance to the discussion.

As a Gen X’er, I grew up with the utmost respect for the written word. Letters were to be carefully crafted and edited. The only content available to the general public was published by professional journalists. To this day the power of the written word leaves me awed, impressed, and perhaps a little intimidated. Conversely, I find it easy to become extremely casual in conversation. A mentor recently encouraged me to write out my thoughts before meetings, so not to let my enthusiasm deter me from effective communication.

My BurrellesLuce colleague Crystal DeGoede recently questioned whether the mentality of other generations is the same as millennials. I wonder whether it is the mentality that is so different or simply the way in which the different generations communicate. Does growing up in a digital environment alter both written and in person communication styles? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts. What differences do you see between the communication styles of Gen Y and Gen X? And let’s not forget about the Boomers… how does their communication style fit into the mix?