Naming the Next Generation Speaker Q&A: Neil Howe

On June 26th Ypulse will be Naming the Next Generation. Neil Howe, author, historian and generational guru, will be joining us in our quest to find a name for post-Millennials that fits their unique generational experience. Neil has been a pioneer in generational theory, writing nine books on American generations.  Along with William Strauss, he first coined the term “Millennials,” describing this generation with remarkable foresight as far back as 1991. We can think of no one better to help us to name the next generation, in fact, we wouldn't have dreamed of trying without Neil's help. Today Neil tells us about why we need to move away from the term “Gen Z,” how post-Millennials will be the oldest group to not recall a time before the Great Recession, and how this generation could be like Millennials ... on steroids.
 
Ypulse: What do you think is the biggest difference between Millennials and post-Millennials?
Neil Howe: I think it’s important to establish what we mean when referring to “Millennials” and “post-Millennials.” My definition for “post-Millennials” includes those born after 2004, so these are kids currently just entering grade 2 of elementary school. Yes, that date remains tentative. You can’t be sure where history will someday draw a cohort dividing line until a generation fully comes of age into adulthood. But since there are good reasons why social generations tend to be 20 or so years long, I am naturally suspicious of a definition that abruptly limits Millennials to only 10 or 15 birth years.
 
Right now, the biggest difference is the emphasis on socialization, pushed on them largely by their Gen-X parents and teachers. Post-Millennials are being taught from a very early age to inhibit their impulses, control their behavior, and play well with others. This goes…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“My work schedule can be hectic, so I snack on nuts, berries, or other non-deadly foods during any downtime.”

—Male, 32, KY

AwesomenessTV and fashion/beauty brands are coming together to make branded series for Gen Z. In the past, AwesomenessTV has worked with numerous brands to produce original content, including CoverGirl and Kohl’s. Now they’re planning a 24-part docu-series with Hollister called “This is Summer,” following teens’ high school journeys—while they’re clad in shoppable Hollister clothing of course. Our own Chief Content Officer explains that Ypulse has “found Gen Z to be fairly open to watching sponsored entertainment,” with 77% of 13-17-year-olds agreeing, "As long as the story is interesting, I don't mind that it is sponsored." (Glossy)

Fullscreen agrees that Gen Z is the generation that’s most receptive to branded content. Their survey found over half of Gen Z doesn’t mind even undisclosed branded content, and significantly more Gen Z teens than Millennials have engaged with social branded content (viewing photos, liking and sharing content and tagging friends) in the past six months. Influencer marketing wins out with the group, with over half of teens preferring influencer content to pre-roll, sponsored posts, banners, and traditional TV commercials. The sweet spot for advertisers may be branded video, especially when influencers are involved. (TubefilterAdweek)

Graduation spending is expected to reach a record $5.6 billion for the Class of 2017. Over half of the graduation gifts given will be cash, followed by greeting cards, gift cards, apparel, and electronic devices. Another trend for the year is more and more peers giving each other gifts, with a 6% lift year over year. Younger consumers will spend an average of $78.42 ,compared to 45-54-year-olds’ $119.84 and 65-and-over’s $112.34, and while greeting cards are also most popular, they’re also almost twice as likely to gift clothing. (ConsumerAffairs)

Instagram has the “most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing,” followed by Snapchat, according to a recent study. The image-centric platforms could “driv[e] feelings of inadequacy and anxiety,” and were rated the most poorly for their impacts on sleep, FOMO, and body image. Out of the top five most popular social media platforms, YouTube was the only one that earned a positive score. The silver lining? Some argue the evaluation is “blaming the medium for the message,” and social media/online communities are also Gen Z and Millennials’ top resource for learning about “mindfulness, meditation, and wellness,” according to Ypulse data. (The Guardian)

Lego is being called the “most powerful brand in the world,” beating out Google, Visa, and Nike. Brand Finance’s latest valuation report shows Lego’s brand value increased 68% over last year, looking at metrics like “familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.” At least some of the lift can be attributed to the successful movie franchise (The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie) and its strategic partnership with Star Wars.

(Business Insider)

“I kind of don't like the commercialization of fandom culture…However, creating licensed products is one way a brand could interact.”

—Male, 24, MO

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