Make Way For Generation Y

The World continues to move faster and decisions are made in a split second. Brands aren’t just logos, or cartons. They are living, breathing parts of our lives.

As a designer starting out, I was guilty, as I’m sure most of us were, of designing a brand simply so it looked good and balanced visually, as I didn’t know much more to base my designs upon.

Those days are behind me and thirteen years on I’m more than just a designer, I’m a marketer, a psychologist and social observer. These are key ingredients to help understand and develop a desirable brand.

For brands to be successful, they need to win the heart and soul of their target consumers, who in turn must to believe in that brand. If they don’t believe – they won’t buy.

One thing that fascinates me, is the summarising of massive groups of target market and describing them as ‘Gen X’ or ‘Gen Z’. I won’t bore you with the details, but It’s pretty much about pigeon-holing each and every one of us with a particular set of traits and personality types. Each are divided by a few decades and forged by events throughout our lives. Companies use this theory to target brands and services directly at us.

This year we will see a changing consumer marketplace – Make way for Generation Y.

Also know as the ‘Millennials’, ‘Echo Boomers’ and the ‘Net Generation’. They are born between the mid-1970s and the late 1990s. Gen Y-ers now make up more than one-third of the population. They are the first generation to be brought up with computers and mobile devices, and are especially responsive to internet campaigns and social media. They process information quickly, are brand loyal and respond to outside-the-box packaging and advertising campaigns.

As designers and brand owners, we all need to understand and adapt to these changes in consumer personalities. It’s the brands that are fearless and forward-thinking that succeed by adapting to this changing marketplace, leaving the ‘fear-of-change’ brands behind. Social media campaigns are becoming the number one method of targeting these Gen Y-ers. This can be very successful, but done incorrectly can very quickly become reputation suicide – bad news WILL spread as quick as good news.

Great examples of targeting Generation Y-ers are Apple’s new ‘iPhone 5 – Photos Every Day’ advert, which shows users taking photos of everyday moments … and their food. This, to me is targeted towards the tech savvy and social extroverts, who are permanently connected online, via mobile devices.

The other example is Coca-Cola’s successful ‘Share a coke’ personalised bottle campaign. It’s a brave move and a first in Coca-Cola’s history to replace the Coke branding with consumer names. The clever part is, they use the power of their customers to spread the brand like wild fire though social networks. I’ve lost count at the amount of times my friends have posted these bottles on my own wall.

At Robot Food, we love to dig deep into what really makes people tick. Our trademarked process RAD (Research, Analyse, Define) is our starting point in the creative process and is responsible for the development of our most successful brands. We understand how to bridge multiple touch-points, maximise creative pr and advertising opportunities, and how to target the desired consumer. If you want to RAD up your brand to appeal to Generation Y… get in touch!

By Martin