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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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “The issue I am most passionate about is LGBTQ, because in the words of Dr. Seuss ‘A person is a person, no matter how small.’” –Female, 18, KY

Being able to mix up a good cocktail is an attractive quality to Millennials. A recent study commissioned by Southern Comfort found that 70% of single 21-34-year-olds who drink alcohol at least once a month would date a mixologist, and almost all (94%) say that they’re impressed by someone who can make a good drink. The survey on singles also found that 10% are intimated by whiskey (though we know that more of the generation is embracing it) and 44% are planning to stay home and cook for Valentine’s Day (which makes sense seeing as “home-cooked meal” is on their top 15 Valentine’s gift list this year). (Los Angeles Times)

Brands looking to get Millennials on their side need to speak to them—not like them. A survey on brand communication reveals that young consumers aren’t responsive to companies that use slang, emojis, and celebrity quotes. Two-thirds don’t find words like “bae” and “yasss” effective on social media platforms, 70% don’t like it when you say “on fleek,” and 83% think using abbreviations like LOL and FOMO are “a poor attempt by brands to relate to them.” Another word you should steer clear of is “Millennial”—42% loathe when advertisers say it. What’s important is communicating effectively without trying so hard to be “hip” (another word you shouldn’t use). (Adweek

Toyota’s Scion brand launched to build cars for the non-conformist Millennial, but the quirky line is being shut down. The unique-looking vehicle was originally a hit for younger consumers and Toyota reports that 50% of buyers were under 35-years-old. But sales peaked in 2006, and have been falling—not because those younger consumers stopped buying cars, but because they’re more interested in “performance and safety” than colorful design. For brands, the lesson may be that focusing on quality is “a better strategy than pursuing the ever-changing perception of cool.” (Forbes

As Millennials deal with the repercussions of student debt and low income, they may be turning to risky financial solutions to help them get by. The number of consumers taking out personal loans increased by 18% between 2013 and 2015, and a Bankrate survey found that 18% of 18-29-year-olds say they are very or somewhat likely to use a personal loan this year—more than any other age group. With 63% of U.S. adults lacking emergency funds, personal loans have become an easy option to get money quickly without negatively affecting their credit scores. (MarketWatchBankrate)

Time Inc. is continuing their pursuit of Millennial women with Motto, a new website targeting young female consumers with articles on “work, life, and play.” Time Digital’s managing editor reports that, “an enormous amount of [Time, Inc.’s] traffic, especially in social media, is about self-improvement and living a better life.” Motto will feature such “inspirational and motivational” daily stories and video content, which will be posted to Facebook and YouTube, written by Time magazine staffers, celebrities, and politicians. They expect more than 50% of readers to access the site through mobile and tablet. (The Wall Street Journal

Quote of the Day: “I learned to cook through ship to home meals like Blue Apron.” –Male, 24, IL

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