Kids these days. First of all, they’re crazy smart, with more information at their fingertips than any previous generation. They’re sophisticated in ways that challenge conventional ideas of sophistication. They’re digital natives, who baffle and bemuse even the savviest of marketers. And don’t let the emojis and abbrevs fool you—they’re communicating quicker and more efficiently than ever before, which makes the design of our world that much more important.
But we often forget that Boomers were once seen as outrageous and out-of-the-box too, challenging social norms with their rock ‘n’ roll music. That the much-maligned Generation X—those misunderstood, supposed champions of slack—now have $125 billion in spending power. And that every era has its resident bellwethers navigating situations that seem at the time altogether new. What hindsight reveals about these moments that appear wildly different is that...they aren’t. And neither are the people behind them.
While we recognize certain behaviors of Millennials and Centennials as different from those of Boomers or Xers, we believe there exist enough similarities of the human variety to connect with all generations through a common message. Being able to do that comes down to the type of experience you deliver across channels and touchpoints. After all, we don’t want to just sell people stuff. We want to create and do things that matter—a mission that’s much harder to achieve.
Technology and how you use it to reach your audience is a great differentiator—so is clarity, the need for which remains universal even as how we communicate changes. Together, technology and clarity can help your message bridge eras and quiet the noise.
Here are seven tips for breaking down those mythic walls between us and, well, generation anyone.
1. Don’t take liberties with the truth. Just speak it.
Most people’s BS meters are set to high these days. Authenticity and real messages go a long way in a world of scammers and spammers.
2. Go native or go home.
You might call it curatorial, but really it’s alchemy more than anything else—combining all the best pieces and parts to make something incredible.
3. Be diverse in thought and action.
While there’s something reassuring in WYSIWYG, elements of surprise and acts of discovery keep all of us on our toes. So feel free to mix it up from time to time.
4. Welcome wallflowers; shut down bullies and braggarts.
Bill Gates was right, “Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.” Plus everyone's a sucker for the strong, silent type—the tinkerer, the dreamer and the bookworm.
5. Own the interface.
By creating unique experiences, we invite people into environments where they can both play and feel at home. Make it comfy—like a big, squishy beanbag.
6. Keep content low-calorie and fat-free.
Audiences have an eye for slant and spin. Keep it real, keep it short, and keep it engaging. Things that are good for you can be delicious too.
7. Now once more, with feeling.
Put your heart into whatever you do. That’s how the best things in the world have come into being, with a little bit of laughter, love and pizza. Always pizza.