This series of 4 articles will shed a light on the 4 key DNA aspects of what is called NextGen – a combination of Millennials or Gen Y (currently the young adult generation of 21-36 year olds) and their successors Generation Z (aged 6-20 today).

To get to this NextGen DNA, InSites Consulting interviewed 10,000 people from 4 different generations: Gen Z, Gen Y, Generation X (aged 37 to 52, the parents of Gen Z) and the Baby Boomers (aged 53 to 70, the parents of Millennials) in 8 different countries across Europe but also in the US and in Australia.

The interviews allowed us to identify significant and relevant differences between these generations and to find out more about this next generation of consumers: Gen Y and Gen Z.In this first article, we will focus on the first DNA aspect: ‘I am snappy’.

Snappy means, like Snapchat, quite direct, efficient and also witty, quite intelligent about using all quick types of media.

Let’s start with a rhetorical question: who do you think is messaging the most with their friends, while they are watching TV content? Gen Z or Gen Y? The result in our study show that it’s actually Gen Z, the youngest ones. Gen Z is number one when it comes to messaging with friends while watching TV. The Millennials are using social media, surfing the internet, playing games or even answering e-mails, as they tend to fuse their private lives with their professional ones. Gen Z however is doing less of the latter as they are not professionally active yet.

An emojional generation

The most used item while texting or messaging with friends is not LOL, HAHA, SELFIE or FOMO; the most used thing is not a word, it is the heart emoji.

This young generation is an emojional generation, they communicate using emojis, emoticons or gifs, visual content. To them it’s the most efficient, snappiest way of communicating, the most direct way of story telling. If I look at the type of emojinalized and filtered visuals and video my Gen Z daughters are sharing on Instagram or Snapchat, it’s clear that they are from another planet ;-).

But how do we as marketers handle this type of new communication style? The answer is of course that we should change our way of communicating. It is clear that this visual language style is increasingly important to connect with the youngest generations.Hot tweetaway: How can marketers attract the emojional generation? Make it visual

Some examples: IKEA has launched their own emoticon library, so that people can communicate with each other about their IKEA visits; they simply select the corresponding emojis when they want to talk about the Swedish meat balls or some of the iconic furniture or even a shopping bag or the IKEA Family card. Other brands like McDonald’s also have their own emojis and Colette, the hipster store in Paris, actually asked McDonald’s if they could use the hamburger emojis and print them on a limited-edition t-shirt and sell it in their store. The candy brand Mentos is also using this type of visual communication, having used the shape of their product to create their own library of ementicons.

Read all: The Snappy Generation | How Cool Brands Stay Hot

My point of view: talking about generations is often using generalizations.  Nevertheless, being aware that there shifts in the use of technology in your target is important.



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