A new study from Saatchi &
Saatchi concludes that for
today’s marketers to be successful tomorrow, they had better understand
“Generation Y,” those who have grown up in the digital age.
The study calls this generation the “Connexity Kids” and says marketers need
to build brands with them rather than for them.
Generation Y encompasses those 78 million youths born between 1977 and today
and represents the first generation to grow up online, Saatchi said. Among the
study’s key findings:
- The defining value of this generation is “connexity”: the importance of
staying connected in order to grow. Digital media have given youth
unprecedented means to connect with each other and the world. As a result, for
brands to succeed tomorrow, they must forge connections with consumers that go
beyond simple product function. Look for cause-related tie-ins, lifestyle
sponsorships and interactive promotions to become more important means so that
brands can provide memorable experiences and build community, the study says.
- Knowledge is power. It is also cool. Digital media have made knowledge
through a fusion of fun and learning. The result: these consumers of tomorrow
recognize that success in an information society will require smarts.
Marketers must acknowledge and challenge these smarts. Ideas which make
exploring the unknown fun, bring
information to life, or challenge consumers to design their own products will
take on added urgency.
- Generation Y is a confident, self-reliant, optimistic and positive
generation. The Internet, personal computers and CD-ROMs represent tools
empowered this generation. As a result, these consumers are marketing savvy
and much less brand loyal. Don’t build a brand for them; rather, build a brand
- Digital media has produced a new language. This new generation of online
users is verbally and visually more sophisticated. In fact, verbal and visual
literacy have converged, creating a whole new language which tomorrow’s
marketers must learn.
“It’s the death of the nerd,” Myra Stark, senior vice president at Saatchi,
told the New York Times. “Knowledge is power for Generation Y, who
people like Bill Gates rule the world.”
The study was conducted over a six-month period in 1998 and involved more than
500 hours of interviews and observational research. Close to 200 children
between the ages of 6 and 20 were involved.
“Our mission is to generate extraordinary ideas that can help transform our
clients’ businesses, brands and reputations,” said Jennifer Laing, chairman
and CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi in North America. “This landmark study recognizes
that knowledge, insight and imagination are the key drivers of our success. It
gives us the tools to insure that we will have the strongest possible
communications programs for our clients.”
Saatchi & Saatchi has 162 offices in 92 countries and annual worldwide
billings of $7.3 billion.