30 June 2009 9 Comments

Generational gap and its implications for brand

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals


old-brandsyoung-brandThere is no issue in accepting the fact that we live in an ever changing world. The wide gap in different generation is there for everyone to see. Interestingly older generation, the baby boomer still holds and cherishes their age long music, ways of dressing and marketing forgetting that the most constant thing is change. In a recent article by a foremost and highly respected journalist in Nigeria-which has generated argument both in offline and online especially facebook- the said journalist lambasted new generation of musicians of corrupting morals among others drawing a parallel between music of yesteryears and the present ones.

In a way, I always cherish the time I was brought up and the kind of things we valued then and the wide gap that has become our lots now. But as brand consultants, if we want to give advice that will resonate with time, such may not sell today. I keep saying that brands-music inclusive, must ensure they have a high sense of integrity as a core value, but at what level will value, integrity be promoted above brand’s success is an issue with some brands.

The difference in time is huge. The older generation accepts command, receives information without questions. Having toys to play with then was great. They had groups that met in physical location because there were no technologies to support meeting without physical presence. Older generation held on to jobs for years, career changes were minimal. Today, the new generation has no such patience. They have social networks that encourage sharing, feedbacks. They do not want necessary control. They do not view career changes as abnormal. Most of them change jobs, careers many times in a decade. Most ‘digital natives’ are the new generation while older generation are just having a change of perspective. Older generation, young adults are slightly indifferent when it comes to changes and innovation. While experiment, innovation are the life blood of the new generation who are adventurous.

What implication do these have on branding or brands? In one extreme, keeping the old mindset to drive brands today is dangerous and a clear signal for premature death of brands. The simple logic is that consumer preferences, competitive frameworks and conditions of the market are ever dynamic; holding on to status quo is dangerous. I love a conclusion drawn by Jeff swystun in this regard when he said ‘the brand must determine what must be changed and what can not change’. We must note that no matter the level of tactical opportunities, intelligence, completeness of any generational idea, constant innovation, blending with present realities will make the idea to be here for long time than any other alternative route.

Establishing rigid adherence to old philosophies, mindsets may be dangerous. On the other hand of the divides, how long can we stretch the limit of change in brand behaviors with regards to local realities? In all that we do, brand must establish its reality against immorality of any form. What is immorality? Does the definition has specific industry meaning or can we accept a universal meaning as valid? Do you think I am running away from established part? Not at all. I am still n tune with the time I was raised as a child? Just that professional demand is taking its tolls or what do you think?

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