Saturday, April 25, 2015

I made a presentation this week to a conference of Greek Orthodox priests.

Not kidding.

The presentation was all about generational groups and how they interact with their peers, parents and friends.

The priests got very tickled about the comparisons between Boomers and Millennials. Most of the priests were Boomers. Two were Millennials.

Boomers find Millennials to be frustrating… that is, until its emphasized that the Millennials were procreated by the Boomers.

After the Millennials, I next put up a slide about Zoomers.

Then the room went quiet.

Finally, one of the priests turned to his peers and said that this is where leadership needs to truly use creative thinking to reinvent the programs that have been “updated” to better embrace the GenXers.

A second priest quickly chimed in and said that the Zoomers are a catalyst that might drive a complete reinvention or restoration of the where their church has been and what it needs to become.

I know that the news media along with the MBA-driven business community is fixated right now on Millennials.

God love them — the media, business and academic world has finally stopped using the label of Generation Y.

I don’t write this blog to self-proclaim and self-reinforce, but I will note here that ten years ago, I started driving clients with the impending impact of the Millennials.

Some tried to correct me to embrace the label Generation Y. My reply was simple… that label doesn’t work.

Zoomers is a term that will soon stick too.

For readers, Zoomers embraces the generation that was born in the year 2000 through 2014–2015. Some debate whether 2014 was the end-cap year.

My bet is that the end-cap year will be 2016 since it’s the last year of the current presidential term here in the U.S.

So, to ground us… the Zoomers range in age from 0–15 in this calendar year.

Next year, the first wave of the Zoomers will be getting a driver’s license. The first wave will be entering college in about 3 years from now.

Many talk about the Millennials as being the generation of technology.

Okay.. but the Zoomers are the generation of mobile technology and information.

The Zoomers never knew the world existed without the high-speed Internet, laptops, iPads, and smart phones. And… that the technology wasn’t part of the every day world — in the home, car, restaurant, grocery store or even the classroom.

The Zoomers never knew the world existed without Terrorism. They never knew there was a time when a person could actually go and welcome someone getting off an airplane at the arrival gate.

The “cold war” and “soviet union” is what they hear about in history classes, and the Taliban, Iran and ISIS are what they believe to be the “enemy.”

Just as they cruise the Internet and converse with friends through texting, they live their lives checking in and checking out and checking back in again according to their personal agenda and headset.

They check in and check out with friends, groups, classes, beliefs, opinion sets and brands.

Education and aspiration is self-defined vs. instructional from the outside.

What I write as a “blog” is something that they have replaced with what’s termed as Vlogging — commentary and exchange via video versus words.

Entrepreneurship is what they believe to be critical to business versus an MBA.

They live in the “here and now” of reality… vs. the aspirational expectation of the Millennials.

When I spoke to Greek Orthodox priests, I highlighted how Zoomers challenge brands that are driven on the high ideals and paint the perspective of life as “peace, love, and harmony”

I showcased Abercrombie & Fitch and how the brand is trying to avoid Chapter 11 as teenagers are no longer entering their world of the ideal.

Zoomer teens not only cannot identify with the brand… they find it “stupid.”

In today’s Wall Street Journal, the showcase story in the business section has the title, “Abercrombie Is Dialing Back The Sex.”

The article talks about the “high times” back in the 90s when A&F was so hot with the Millennials and this ideal world of perfect bodies and having whatever you want.

Pssst… it’s really not the sex that the Zoomers fail to connect with, it’s the ideal world of perfection… which for Zoomers does not exist.

My bet is that we are still at least five years out before business leadership even begins to talk about the Zoomers.

And I actually hope that the MBA-Sniffing Zoombies — or excuse me — the MBA Corporate leadership — continues fueling their corporate “think tanks” with Millennial inspiration.

I shared with the Greek Orthodox priests that I like the term Zoomers and the play off of the conventional term Generation Z because this smaller size generational group will pass by the much more sizable Millennials way faster than thought possible in conventional thought.

They are much more adaptable, realistic and technologically advanced than the Millennials.

And embracing this generation as a priority is what is in my game plans for the next ten years.

Now, how more swag can it get!

(p.s. …go ask that third-grader texting on their iPhone what that means)

CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.