We are the most tech savvy generation ever. We grew up with technology. We use more than one device and are connected full time. When we need information, we need it immediately and don’t accept delay. If a website doesn’t load in three seconds, it’s lost us.
Smartphones allow us to be more connected than ever to the choices out there. Be it dinner, a car, a house or a potential mate, we don’t seem that keen to invest any amount of quality time in anything, when a better version might be a touch or swipe away.
In recent times, the purchasing habits of my generation have engaged the interest of many businesses and marketers. This is due to an evident shift in our purchasing habits, when compared to the previous generation. For most businesses, understanding this is not a choice but a necessity.
Everything on demand
To ‘own something’ in the traditional sense is becoming far less important as the scarcity of these items is no longer a problem. Ownership simply is not as hard anymore. The never-ending flea market of the internet allows us to ‘own’ anything we want, at any time we want it. Being able to access the world on demand has changed how we ‘own’ products and services.
We don’t connect directly to the object of desire itself, but rather what it means to us, how it makes us look to our peers or how it may enhance our lives in some way. In order to achieve this value from the object we don’t actually need to own it, but just to be able to access it and use it for the time we need.
So, what has caused this generational shift? And how should companies be shifting their own behaviour to embrace the death of ownership and connect with us in this way?
What is ownership?
Technology allows us to get what we want fast and easily, without actually needing to own. Companies like Air BnB, Uber, Spotify and Netflix, allow us to access their services when we want it, with no need to purchase for long term ownership.
This ‘collaborative economy’ allows us to experience ownership of things in a way that was previously exclusive to streaming media, and is a precursor to what is now happening to physical products - cars, homes, goods and services.
We want experiences
Purchasing is no longer about the product itself, but about what value it can give us, how it can connect with us or, more importantly, connect us to something or someone.
We want to experience rather than to own. Therefore, brands must offer us an experience that we value – preferably something unique that we can share with others. We want to connect to something bigger than a product or service.
We know that this way of thinking varies quite significantly from traditional views.
So, what can businesses do to stare this change in the face and get our attention?
1) Create experiences
Think about how we can experience your brand in action and how that action relates to us. Help us connect to other people to create this experience. Toyotas Feeling the Street campaign did this when they brought vibrant music performances to street corners around the globe.
2) Be Authentic
Brand authenticity is just as important to us as price and discounts. If we smell fakeness, we won’t hesitate to switch to another brand that we feel we can trust. Be authentic to us and we will give you back brand loyalty.
3) Have Values
We value brands that show that they align with our personal value and views. 71% of us relate with brands that support the communities and society in general.
4) Keep it short and sweet
The need for instant gratification means that the message should be short and sweet. That is, marketing must be precise and succinct. Business needs to maintain continuous communication with us by being disruptive and standing out.