Considering gender preferences, cultural differences and social norms of your target audience when it comes to crafting a brand for your company is a best practice. But, are you missing out on an untapped market for branding your business according to what age group your customer falls in?
Each generation has a unique perspective on life-based on their experiences and world events. These factors have an indelible mark in shaping how these different age groups view the economy, how they form opinions about events and ultimately how they perceive, consume and support businesses according to their brand. Because each generation views branding differently, companies that rise to the top know exactly who wants to buy their products and services and how to market to them in their own unique way.
So, why is it important to consider the age of your target customer when it comes to branding and marketing for your company? And, why would it matter that you need to alter your messaging based on who you’re speaking with?
You can lose precious marketing dollars if you don’t get it right:
Companies that try to hop on the trending train to end up at the viral stop waste tons of money on brand development. The reason why is because through their attempts to try to be relevant and newsworthy they aren’t targeting the right customer. Unfortunately, this is the first step in how marketing budgets are cut. Because marketing is seen more as a “cost center” rather than a “profit center”, having a buttoned-up marketing strategy with a profitable ROI is critical for a marketing team’s (and a business’s) success.
Your customer base will start to shrink:
Caution: this may feel like a reenactment of a scene from “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” but if are always anxious at the end of the month to make sales, chances are your branding doesn’t speak to your target audience. Let’s call a spade a spade: the millennial mindset is completely different than that of the Baby Boomer mindset. But if you try to market to both in the same way, you won’t end up targeting Gen Xers or capturing both segments; instead, you’ll end up reaching fewer people than you’d hoped for.
Your business’s “secret sauce” will get watered down:
Though your visual branding should reflect the times of today (sans the Comic Sans font) and the way you market your business should adapt according to how people communicate, your quest to keep up with the times can dilute your brand before you realize it. For example, keeping up with the latest social media platforms can be exhausting (and yes, we have millennial friends that have given up on Snapchat so you’re not the only one). Take a step back and figure out if your customers are really on Instagram or if they prefer to spend their time on Twitter so you don’t waste your precious resources in oversharing your brand and message in the places where it doesn’t count the most for your brand. Regardless of if it’s Facebook or the yellow book, own up to what your customers really want and be present in the channels that matter to them.
Jumping ship on your branding and getting laser-focused on your target audience by age group may feel as uncomfortable as going to the dentist, but it’s not impossible to do. The first step is that you’ll need to consider how many different age groups would make up your target audience (remember, you can have multiple audiences, just not the same branding). Then, you’ll need to think about some of the defining characteristics of these generations before you hone in to see how you would cater your branding to them.
Let’s break it down:
- The Silent Generation (born in the mid 20s-mid 40s) are referenced as such because they felt it was precarious to be activists in the McCarthy Era. As adults, they are at or near retirement, so businesses who would want to brand themselves to be attractive to this demographic will need to keep in mind the needs of this aging generation, including how they leverage their family to adopt new social norms and technology advancements.
- Baby Boomers (born in the late 40s-early 60s) were affected by a variety of world events (Vietnam War, Cold War, Civil Rights movement, assassinations) and though they are perceived as more cynical than other groups, they are also seen as hardworking. This group is slowly starting to retire, so it’s important for businesses to understand what issues and new challenges they will deal with at this time.
- Generation X (born in the late 60s-early 80s) members were known as the “latchkey kids” in their youth. Now as grownups, this generation as emerged as entrepreneurial (who also desire work/life balance); much of these attributes come from the worldly circumstances that took place while they were growing up. One way a business could cater to Gen X would be by infusing nostalgia with today’s technology to create a memorable brand for this age group.
- Millennials (born in the late 80s-early 90s) are known to be confident and optimistic, though they are often misunderstood as narcissistic and immature. Because they experienced the Great Recession as young adults, they have experienced the effects of financial uncertainty and loss, whether that’s directly through their own career and/or with observing their parents’ losses. If you’re trying to cater your business to them, it’s important to be upfront and transparent with them, rather than play into the stereotypes of this age group.
- Generation Z (born in the late 90s-early 00s) emerged after the millennials. Though this age group is still undefined by many, one of their defining characteristics is the adoption of emerging technology at an early age. They are not familiar with many of the technological advances that most generations are comfortable with (house phones, VCRs/CDs), so if you’re branding your business to them, you should keep in mind how best to reach them with your product or service.
Though Beanie Babies, bell bottoms and chokers are the exception when it comes to being reused, recycled and reloved by multiple generations, they aren’t the rule. While some brands may work for one generation, it may not always fly with another age group. If you need help defining what personas make up your core customer base and how to best market to them, reach out to us at Creative Juice. We’ll help you create a no-sweat strategy and tighten up your brand so your company’s brand can attract the generation (or generations!) of your choice.