The current approach to generational marketing is flawed. It’s based on the assumption that because an individual is born on a certain date, their thoughts and behaviours will marry with others in their age range.
Brands should look more broadly to focus on the experiences and trends of a demographic, rather than when they were born. This is supported by the research conducted BBMG in 2015, where they identified the dominant marketing demographic isn’t Millennials or Baby Boomers – it’s the Aspirationals.
What are Aspirationals?
Aspirationals represent 40% of the adult population. They want to connect with brands on a deeper level, where their passion for materialism, sustainability and cultural influence can be indulged and reinforced. They span all age groups, although typical Millennials and Gen X over index, and are dominant across the globe.
For Aspirationals, their actions need to meet their needs, the want to have a positive impact on others and connect with something bigger than themselves. Brands mean more than just products and become a representation of their inner meaning.
How to engage Aspirationals
Brands looking to engage Aspirationals need to go over and above the traditional model of simply selling the practical and emotional benefits of their products. They need to stand for something and show how they have a meaningful impact on society over the long term. As we’ve observed quite broadly, the days of stand alone eco products, services and CSR programs are over, and only those companies with a committed mission to change the world will create cut through.Whilst materialistic, the Aspirational consumer doesn’t want more possessions. They want to buy products with a meaning that they connect to, which says something about them and who they aspire to be. Ultimately, they are hugely optimistic and see themselves as agents of change, and as such will only engage with brands which represent their own vision.
To engage Aspirationals, brands must recognise that this audiences seeks happiness on their own terms. The role of the brand is to help the consumer have it all. As such, all communications need to radically transparent to create real and valued relationships between the brand and Aspirationals. After all, relationships are the currency for long-term engagement.
Aspirationals are fueling a cultural shift from fixed answers to fluid options, and for brands looking to tap into this dominant audience they need to stand for something and commit to it, run their business based on their values, and accept that personal aspiration, rather than age, is a greater platform to connect with potential customers.