We just published a research report that I’ve alluded to in earlier posts called “The Gen Y Design Guide.” The research examines how Gen Y (ages 18 to 27) are different from older consumers and defines a set of implications for designing experiences. Here’s the executive summary from the research…
Gen Y consumers are a unique breed. But what exactly makes them different from their elders? Our research unearthed nine attributes of Gen Yers’ social, emotional, and mental makeup that shape their perception of interactions. To reach these young consumers, we’ve identified four design approaches: immediacy, Gen Y literacy, individualism, and social interactivity. To truly engage Gen Y, firms should create a Gen Y advisory board and apply Gen Y design approaches across touchpoints.
To get a sense of the world of Gen Yers, just take a look at the lyrics from a top-rated song “Crank That” from Soulja Boy:
What?!?! I have no idea what that means, but I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to know.
Our research uncovered the following key attributes of Gen Yers:
- Socially Fluid And Highly Networked. Having gone through high school, college, or a first job, many Generation Yers are breaking away from their families and forging their own paths and networks. We found three characteristics that define Gen Yers socially. They are continually connected, speak their own language, and are influenced by peers.
- Emotionally Searching For Their Identities. Adolescents and early adults are at a period of self-discovery, shaped by their environment, education and activities, and social culture. That’s why they seek recognition and fame, enjoy absurdity – and humor with an odd slant, and embrace a variety of subcultures.
- Mentally Fickle And Creative. Few Generation Yers can remember a time when technology – from DVDs to PCs – did not play an important part in their lives. Having grown up with deep exposure to media and devices, they skim text and information quickly, are easily bored, and are expressive and creative.
Based on the unique characteristics of Gen Y, we defined four design approaches for appealing to them:
- Design approach No. 1: immediacy. To overcome Generation Y’s fickle attention and broad use of media, firms need to hook Gen Yers in by quickly exposing value and then keeping them interested over time.
- Design approach No. 2: Gen Y literacy. Because Gen Yers are so influenced by peers and their own communication style, firms need to speak to them authentically and on their level.
- Design approach No. 3: individualism. Diverse and expressive, Generation Yers respond to experiences that allow them to personalize and customize their interactions.
- Design approach No. 4: social interactivity. Since Gen Y consumers are very social, firms should consider enabling them to communicate and express themselves.
The bottom line: If you want to attract and engage Gen Yers, stop treating them like Boomers.