The World is Not Ending
The Boomers are aging… fast.
And by damn they ain’t departing without putting their stamp on the world around them.
If you’ve run out of things to do for entertainment and turned on the TV and watched any of the news networks the Boomers’ mission and condition isn’t surprising to you.
Boomers and Mature Generations dominate the news media and elected leadership in America today and that is about to change.
Much of the editorial perspective these days is all focused on the end being near.
Russia is going to take over the world. China tracks each American with the texting sent on their iPhones. The North pole is melting and the Amazon is drying up. A gallon of gas will soon be more than $10 a gallon.
Their world is ending as friends and colleagues begin to pass and they are hell-bent to see their ideals come to pass.
Why should business leadership care? Why should any brand strategist place any value on what they champion and say?
This past week I sipped a cup of coffee with a Boomer “business coach” who told me that the moral fabric and the environment for doing business is nearing a collapse.
I asked him what made up his dash board and he was quick to answer… talk radio and FOX News.
When I next asked if he thought that those sources might be a bit skewed in their content, he was adamant that it was truth.
We were having our coffee at an indie café and there was a table of new Millennial moms sitting next us.
Those who know me know I hold no fear barriers of engagement.
I asked them to use a scale of 1–5 with 5 being the highest in terms of opportunity and good and 1 being the lowest to rate the how they see 2022 and the future evolving around them.
It was a group of 5 moms… four voiced a “5” and one voiced a “4.”
I next asked them what did they perceive to be the positive drivers.
They quickly voiced the fact that they were starting families, had finally purchased a home and have re-adapted to whatever the work dynamic might be… in-person or work-from-home.
While what I did was qualitative in nature, quantitative research backs it up.
A trade association of tech-companies just released the results of a combination quantitative and qualitative study they conducted among Millennials age 28–40 about where their headsets were concerning 2022 and the future ahead.
Overall Millennials are happy and optimistic… more so than GenXers and more so than their Boomer parents.
Using a scale of 1–5 with 5 representing “Extremely Positive Outlook” and 1 representing “Extremely Negative Outlook,” the Millennials rated the “future ahead” a 4.7.
GenXers rated the future a 3.1 and Boomers rated the future a 2.8.
The Millennials specifically cited their home and family life as well as “feeling more in control” of their “job role” and “areas of responsibility.”
Work and home life is becoming much more integrated as Millennials quickly take over control of the workplace.
An interesting finding of the study… nearly half of Millennials currently working a “formal” job are also freelancing on the side … 47% specifically.
Already, more Millennials have turned in their letters of resignation in 2022 than all of last year and many are starting up new ventures outside the urban city centers.
To me, the most intriguing finding in the research is that less than one-out-of-eight Millennials watch or connect with any form of news… print, broadcast or digital.
By the way, Boomers connect with all formats of news more so than any other generational group.
And regardless whether their connection point is CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, CNBC or BBC America… the Boomers believe that they have already lived through the best times they will experience while still alive.
I have thought back to times in the past when Boomers were at a similar life-stage as Millennials today.
I thought about the Mature Generation and the Generation before it that experienced firsthand the Great Depression and the Polio Pandemic.
It was a time of when migration into the U.S. was streaming in from Europe and also when manufacturing assembly lines were driving the Industrial Revolution birthed here in the U.S.
While there were issues of concern, there was still more of a positive outlook that many shared.
Back then there was no Internet and no 24/7 news networks around. Today, news is mass produced but there is now a large share of the population that now ignores it.
So what does this mean from a branding standpoint? A marketing standpoint?
Back in December in this Blog-louge, I issued a set of 2022 trends and change agents.
The number one major change factor I cited was “product delivery will move beyond digital and transfer back to brick and mortar storefronts.”
No question that digital product delivery costs have gone up. No question that online purchasing is down.
But what I believe is even deeper than economic and operational paradigm shifts is just how communities are being re-charged with Millennial — yes, and even some Boomer — new startups.
Starbucks might be facing market maturity and operational challenges, but the new indie coffee houses aren’t.
Specialty grocery stores that include butcher shops, organic farmers’ markets, locally-ground bakery shops are drawing away customers fed up with paying the rising costs of shopping at the chain grocery stores.
New previously-owned stores (what Boomers label as “used”) are popping up specializing in everything from clothes to furniture to now even automobiles.
And yes, the previously owned autos, SUVs and pickups are more sought out than the new ones with price tags now demanding as much as many have saved for the down payment on a house.
While Apple announced a new innovative way to process charges and transaction using an iPhone, credit unions and small banks are stealing away customers from the mega-banks.
Especially if that bank has real people working from a brick and mortar bank building in the small town downtowns.
I sometimes think folks like me that have been in the business now close to 40 years have great perspectives to bring to the table.
What’s real is that many folks like me have very warped perspectives.
What drives me when I wake up each day is to get the heck out of the house… shut down the social media links… get the heck away from the MacBook… and get away from other Boomers who are now retiring and living in a world of very, very skewed news.
The market insights I glean are way more real and valuable than what the digital models predict in terms of clicks!
By the way, after that business coach left the indie café, I went back and had some rich conversations with those Millennial moms who told me about some great new dinners they were making with local vegetables they found at the Farmer’s Market and a mix of organic free-range turkey mixed with local venison.