Pluralists, The New Normal
In case you missed part one, read it here.
When you ask someone to define what normal looks like, their answer will probably give you insight into their generation. Here are a few things that have evolved over time to what is now defined as the “new normal”, and what it all means to your marketing plan.
The Family —
Previous generations: a mom, a dad, two kids and a dog.
For Pluralists (Generation Z or GenZ): Two moms (one Caucasian, one multiracial), each having carried one child via in vitro and an anonymous sperm donor, with a dog, a rabbit, and a chicken coup in the backyard where they source their own eggs, next to the garden where they grow their own produce and herbs using compost.
Or maybe it’s as simple as an African American mom that’s breaking glass ceilings while her Caucasian husband stays home with the kids researching the adoption process online in between diaper changes.
The Presidency —
Previous generations: a Caucasian, Protestant President in his 50s.
For Pluralists: The only President they will have known is recognized as African American — born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and Caucasian mother, who also speaks some Indonesian because of his step-father’s nationality.
The Definition of Gender —
Previous generations: a male or a female, based on the parts they were born with, always attracted to the opposite sex.
For Pluralists: a male, female, bigender, transgender, intergender, genderless, or gender fluid individual perhaps having different sexual identities throughout their lifetime. It isn’t about the tools on the outside so much as how one identifies on the inside.
Check out how this generation is also impacting the fashion world here via highly recognizable brands like Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Barneys New York.
So what does this new normal mean to your marketing plan? Here are three themes you should consider exploring in your 2016 plan:
1. Culture: Technology doesn’t drive culture, it’s the other way around.
Certainly the tech world is moving at rapid fire but that’s because human behavior demands it. Companies have to first focus on cultural practices, not start with emerging technologies — the digital space is after all an infinite resource into human behavior. At Texas Creative, our web and tech development leaders start by understanding the pain points of people or groups (lead by Pluralists). Then they build programs and platforms that solve problems or simplify existing tools.
Think this doesn’t apply to your everyday life? Think again. You’re more than likely an active participant, or at least familiar, with these cultural shifts driving recent technology:
- A new expectation in transportation (Uber vs Yellow Cab)
- Streamlined methods of romantically meeting someone (Tinder (it copied Grindr FYI) vs Match)
- Incognito social communities (Snapchat vs Facebook)
2. Empathy: For once and for all, you aren’t your target. Stop force-fitting your ideas into the customer equation.
It starts by taking a step back and realizing the landscape around your brand is changing. If you can start with the “who”, then the rest will fall into place. But you have to actively seek to empathize and truly understand this dynamic and diverse generation if you want them to become lifelong loyalists. The CMO of a very large CPG company once said, “If you assume you know, you’re probably definitely wrong”. Make sure you have the right agency partners in place as subject matter experts, and beware of the posers! At Texas Creative, we use a proprietary tool called the “Texas Three Step” to get to the root of customer understanding along the path to unlocking new growth opportunities for our clients.
3. Control: Understanding Pluralists sometimes means giving them the reins.
Crowdsourcing has become incredibly popular and it goes beyond the days of Doritos asking consumers to make Super Bowl commercials for them. Today some of our nation’s largest companies are opening the door for anyone to impact their technology and innovation pipelines. Consumers are optimizing ingredients, chiming in on new product research and development and, more importantly, are feeling valued for their insights and reviews. This is driven by a cultural acceptance that ideas can come from anyone and anywhere, something Plurals have grown up believing.
In conclusion, where Millennials are coined as the original screenagers, using three screens at a time, Pluralists use five at any given time: smartphone, laptop, desktop, TV and portable music player. Their Internet fluency is beyond our imagination. And with an eight second attention span, marketers have to learn how to break down their communication into bite-sized content at a time when “Less = More” than ever before.
Don’t let this generation frighten or overwhelm you. Embrace that Millennials are important, but Plurals (Gen Z) are your source for future growth, and get out ahead of them before they pass you by.
Make a resolution in 2016 to start the year with a test and learn mentality. Start by putting your toes in the water with the right agency partner firmly holding your hand. Then, when it feels right, dive in and make a splash on your bottom line.