Posted by: brandextenders | January 17, 2012

Gen C is Out to Change the World…and They Will

As American veterans returned from World War II, they were eager to settle down and make their place in the world. The world was changed and would change even more as the Baby Boom generation came into being. Born between 1946 and 1964, these 72 million Americans would create a population bulge that holds the most affluence of any generation to date. From the Boomers came Gen X, born in the mid-60’s to approximately 1982 followed by Generation Y, called the Internet generation or the Millennials, generally born between 1982 and the mid-90’s.

Those coming of age now are sometimes called Generation Z (born early 90’s to the present) or Gen C for “connected.” By 2020 this group will make up 40% of the population and because of their connectivity are already changing the way we communicate and connect to the world. From Facebook to Twitter to texting and instant messaging, this generation is the first to not understand a world that wasn’t connected 24/7. As a result, how we live, purchase, connect, do business and communicate worldwide will transform over the next decade and here’s just a glimpse what that transformation could mean:

Connected 24/7: By 2020 it’s predicted 6 billion people, or 80% of the world’s population will have a Smartphone or mobile device to which they can connect to the grid day and night. Communication with friends and others in our individual sphere of influence will be instant. According to a report by Booz & Company, “The Rise of Generation C – Implications for the World of 2020”, our days will become a seamless online mix of work, commuting, shopping, socializing and entertaining and off-line time will become rarer and more valued.

In the Cloud: The world of computing is moving from information being stored on individual devices (i.e. desktops and laptops) to being stored on servers “in the cloud.” Smartphones, iPads and tablets are leading the way with smaller internal storage, but apps to work with services and data stored online. This means data will be accessible from a variety of devices anywhere in the world where there is connectivity. As privacy and security become less of a concern with more sophisticated networks, people will feel more comfortable sharing their personal data. Viral marketing and peer reviews (like Yelp) will become benchmarks for businesses to either flourish or die and traditional marketing will become less and less effective with Generation C.

Work Life: As Gen C moves into the workforce, the way companies interact with employees will shift. More and more people will work from virtual offices located worldwide and develop virtual teams that will work on projects geared to bring products and services to non-Western countries where many of these virtual workers reside. The traditional 9-5 day will become blurred as more and more people work from home and a recent Booz & Co. survey of CIO’s showed half believe within three to five years employees will use their own computers at work. Technology and connectivity are growing in developing countries as well and will not only bring more consumers into the marketplace for businesses to reach online, but will create more entrepreneurs with new ideas to bring to the marketplace in their own countries.

So what does all this mean for us? Based on numerous studies and research it looks like Generation C will connect the world in a way never seen before. “It’s a small world” will become their mantra as they make friends and do business on a truly global scale. Businesses will need to be nimble in learning new technologies and how best to incorporate them into their websites and social media sites. Mobile-enabled technology will not be an option, it will be the standard and tools such as augmented reality will make it easier than ever to see how products you like look in your home or, in the case of clothes, on you.

What’s coming in the next decade will change the world in the same way the industrial revolution did, but much more quickly. As hard, and expensive, as it may be at times it’s imperative we keep up with the ever-increasing speed of change. Technology is to Gen C what machines were to Henry Ford and others of his generation and the speed of change over the next decade will make the last 10 years look glacial.

Don’t be the person Stewart Brand was talking about when he said, Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.

I work with my customers to evaluate their promotional marketing needs and develop creative and measurable solutions based on those needs. I build long-term relationships to become a trusted advisor my clients turn to for their brand extension, promotional product, incentive and other branding needs. Contact me at stephen.woodburn@staplespromoproducts.com  

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