Yes, it’s time to talk about Gen Z. For those of you following my work and blogs, you know that since 2010, I’ve focused the youth cultural shifts on Gen Y, aka Millennials. It took a while before leaders and organizations identified Gen Y as talent issue on fire, and executives fretting over what they call an entitled lazy generation of workers. You can find myriad of blogs and research studies I’ve done about this generation on my web site (or in my book)…but at the very least, be sure to read this one negating stereotypes about Gen Y that I wrote in 2012.
But this blog is not about Gen Y. It’s about a new generation growing up behind the scenes, post-millennials, born starting mid-90s to 00’s, called Gen Z….aka iGeneration or iGen (a nod to Apple’s i-products?) You can almost call them the YouTube generation since ~60% of them are watching YouTube almost every day (5+days/week). Some call them screen addicts. I know my sister has to have strict house rules around “screen” time. This generation makes up a quarter of the US population and by 2020 will account for 40% of all consumers. In the next 3 years, some will start graduating from college and enter workforce. And they have new values and ideological power very different than Gen Y.
I called Gen Y the Harry Potter generation. Gen Z is more like a Hunger Game generation, overcoming all obstacles for a brighter future. According to 2015 Census, 1/3 of millennials live with their parents. They entered the workforce during recession, which affected their ability to launch. Gen Zs are growing up in healthier economy and will be on hot demand as they have more options. They are already out there, curious to learn and gain work experience. My 7-year-old niece is constantly talking about how to make money and her long term plans on what to buy. This generation is exposed to so much through technology, they’ve learned to sort through and absorb extensive amount of information, as their options are limitless but their time is not. As a result, they are growing up faster and faster. Unlike Gen Y that delayed major adulthood milestones, Gen Z will be ready to cut loose and take over in their early 20s….they are far more independent. This is partly due to adverse affects of helicopter parenting of Gen Y, and Gen Z having been given more space. Growing up amid major innovation and social change, Gen Z is not as fearful about the future, either.
So whether you have teenage kids, curious about social and cultural change, or gearing up your future recruitments practices and marketing strategies for your businesses, it’s time to learn about Gen Z.
Here are a few key highlights just to get you started:
- Also known as The Pluralist Generation (abbreviated as Plurals), a name coined by marketing firm Frank N. Magid Associates, they are the most diverse of any generation in the US: 55% Caucasian, 24% Hispanic, 14% African-American, 4% Asian, and 4% are mixed race.
- Multiracials represent the fastest growing population cohort in the US, which means Gen Z families come in all shapes and colors. (see new multiracial face of America.)
- Plurals exhibit positive feelings about the increasing ethnic diversity in the US,and they are more likely than older generations to have social circles that include people from different ethnic groups, races and religions. (Wikipedia)
- Gen Ys are known to be optimists and dreamers. Gen Zs are realists and pragmatic. Although they are more entrepreneurial, they realize that may not be pragmatic. They don’t want to be like Millennials and don’t want to repeat their mistakes.
- According to Pew, nearly three-quarters of Zs aged 13-17 (74%) believe that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of gender, sex, or race. Most see no problem with women playing traditionally male sports (68%) or with boys playing with dolls (57%). This new generation of youth has a different perception of gender roles. They are more fluid and less defining.
- Millennials were the first generation of youth with a majority to openly support gay rights. Gen Zs see a need to achieve the same degree of acceptance and equality for transgender community.
- According to Census, they live in multi-generational households, so they are sharers and have greater respect for elders.
There is lots more…this is just a starting point with cultural shift. And yes, you will see a lot more blogs coming your way about this generation. But what does all this mean for your businesses? Frankly, filling the talent pipeline has never been so critical now that the US (and most of the globe) is facing skill gaps in most industries. So businesses should start thinking about shifting recruitment and marketing strategies. No more long drawn-out recruiting process…this generation will have lots more options. Gen Z is influencing more moms for purchase patterns too, so they also have major marketing influence. Global, social and technological, this generation doesn’t just represent the future, they are creating it.
Throughout my life in the US, I was often asked “where are you from?” Of course, I looked and sounded different and it was obvious I wasn’t born here. This question used to bother many immigrants, but not me. Perhaps I counted my blessings that it was never “what are you?” … or maybe felt it was a great conversation starter. And as the face of America started changing drastically during the past decade, coupled with many great diversity and inclusion initiatives, a lot of these questions went away for most of us in today’s presumably more open and accepting world.
But would you believe me if I told you we may start getting a lot more of these “what are you” questions from the curious yet less polite among us? And not because the inclusion initiatives failed, but because we’re no longer divided into red, yellow, brown, black and white varieties. The skins are no longer just black, white and brown….hairs blonde, brunette or red….eyes either blue, green or brown….the faces now are a unique blend and mixture of all in no apparent pattern or structure.
I saw these pictures from National Georgraphic and I was blown away. Great article too. Not because I haven’t seen or known anyone like this, but because no one ever captured and published it. A must see (click here to view)…I think it’s beautiful.
You’ve heard me speak and write about the multiracial growth for a few years now. The US census bureau started collecting details on multiracial population since 2000 when it first allowed respondents to check off more than one box for race…and 6.8 million people did so. Ten years later that number jumped by 32% to 9 million, making multiracials one of the fastest growing population in the US. We’ve reached a point that we can no longer define race biologically, anthropologically or genetically. Racial identity is a highly nuanced concept, and a very personal one influenced by culture, politics, religion, history and geography. And census bureau knows that.
To be blunt, we’ve always used creative names to describe mixed breeds of our beloved pets. My dogs, Tai and Chi, are Chugs (chiwawa/pug). And puggles (beagle/pug) even have their own web site. So don’t be surprised if you start hearing the same creative mix to describe multiracial generation. On playgrounds and college campuses, you’ll hear homespun terms such as Blackanese, Filatino, Chicanese, and Korgentinian. (The generation past Gen Y is already called Pluraist…I will write a blog about them soon.) Don’t be surprised if we end up reconsidering existing racial definitions and identities.
Although inter-racial marriages have tripled since the 80’s in this country (currently at 8.4%), a major cause for multiracial population increase, recent Cheerios ad featuring an interracial family promoted a barrage of hateful responses, including “DIEversity.” We hear similar outrage in Europe against multiculturalism due to muslim population increase. Sadly, but true, the current racial inequalities are real for interracial relationships equally. And I’m not naive enough to claim that the election of Barrack Obama has fixed it all. But I am suggesting that the new face of America is changing a lot faster than we all expected. These beautiful pictures say America will look like this in 2050, and I’m here to tell you, it’s more like 2043.
William Frey with Brookings institute recently reported that based on the most recent numbers, we’re beginning to reach a tipping point…and for the first time in the last century, we have more White deaths than births creating an older age structure. This is not an epidemic of death but one caused by lower fertility rate among aging whites. Not a big surprise. Everyone knew this would happen by 2020, but Frey reports that they are seeing this in 2012 numbers….8 years earlier and much sooner than expected. For the first time, half of children under 5 are non-white and 14 states are minority-majority. The young minority population is on the rise and will be the main work population in the next two decades as 10-12 million white boomers retire. Like it or not, this is good news. Otherwise, we will end up with declining labor force population much like Europe. It is the younger multiculturals that will help our country stay afloat.
Even beyond the work force, consider the changing customers and consumers of your product and services. Want to grow and succeed in The New World Marketplace? Consider forsaking your orthodoxies, biases and prejudices first.
Most of all, I do think it’s beautiful. Don’t you?
Keep staying informed, and please share your thoughts and comments below….
Who do you think of when you hear the word “poor”? There are myriad of reports on economic doom and gloom and rise in poverty in the US, but none that hit the nail on the head with what I call, negating the stereotypes…..
A recent Huffington Post article noted that 4 out of 5 adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives–a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American Dream—driven by an increasingly globalized US economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of manufacturing jobs.
Many people think this poverty is skewed toward racial minorities—primarily Blacks and Hispanics—but this is no longer true. The race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially. While Blacks and Hispanics are still three times more likely to live in poverty, census data reports that by sheer numbers, the predominant face of the poor is white…more than 19 million whites fall below the poverty line of $23,021 for a family of four, or 41% of the population, nearly double the number of poor blacks.
To further negate stereotypes, the same article shows numerous studies that reflect:
- While marriage rates are in decline for all races, for the first time since 1975, the number of white-single-mother households living in the poverty with children surpassed or equaled black ones in the past decade—spurred by job losses and faster rates of out-of-wedlock birth among whites—1.5 million in 2011 comparable to blacks. Hispanic-single-mother families in poverty trailed at 1.2 million.
- The share of white children living in high-poverty neighborhoods is increasing to 17%, up from 13% in 2000, even though the overall population of white children in the US has been declining. The same share of black children dropped to 37% (from 43%) while Latino children went from 38 to 39%.
These shifts have clear indicators as it relates to values, causes and beliefs. These studies show that nonwhite minorities have more optimism about the future while whites (particularly working-class/no-college) have never been so pessimistic. Whether these feelings, beliefs and values are ignited by Obama’s election and re-election, and/or economic hardships, they are reflected in hard facts. And no one can negate the social and cultural changes that are rapidly challenging the status quo.
This puts a different spin for marketers for price/value brands, doesn’t it? And not just in advertising and marketing campaigns, but also in growth strategies with distribution. A different spin for politicians, election campaigns and how we evaluate social policies. A different spin in how we feel about the widening wealth gap between the rich and the poor. A different spin in how we see “us” versus “them”.
Two years ago, I wrote about Middle Class shrinking and the vanishing American Dream. And last year, I wrote a blog “The Emerging Middle Class Culture in America” challenging companies and marketers to avoid broad-stroke depictions of non-white consumers. I defined multiculturalism by a mosaic of different cultures in one platform and a society that is ethnically and culturally diverse. I always reiterate that does not mean excluding whites or implying ethnic minorities only.
As multicultural societies become the new mainstream and new normal, and non-whites approach a numerical majority in the US, expect to see wealth, income and class to become far greater indicators and predictors of behaviors, consumption and lifestyles than race and ethnicity ever were. I think we are in that marketplace now.
That’s not to say that race and ethnicity don’t have any cultural impact on lifestyles. But unless you are selling products and services that cater to a very specific cultural nuance, know that your customers’ needs are driven primarily by their socioeconomic status, not their skin color. So, start marketing to the inside of your customers, not outside. This is not easy to do since most analysis, measurements and ratings are still broken down by age, gender, race, etc. And that’s OK, since the same type analysis is helping us negate our stereotypes. But, as marketers, we must learn to understand and measure customers’ needs that transcend many demographic lines. The first step is to start negating stereotypes and challenging orthodoxies, and finding commonalities. This not only helps your strategic positioning and marketing campaigns, but also help us remember that we’re all in this together.
If you like this blog, please share…and I love to read your comments too….!!!
The dynamic Farnaz Wallace, author of The New World Marketplace and CEO/Founder of Farnaz Global LLC, will be the opening keynote speaker at the Possible Woman Conference Wednesday April 24 at Atlanta Marriott Marquis. In its 17th year, Possible Woman is an inspiring conference that connects attendees with the growth possibilities in every woman.
Wallace joins international dance star Judith Jamison, choreographer and artistic director emerita of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, who will be the luncheon keynote speaker.
As a former Chief Marketing Officer with Church’s Chicken who drove five years of consecutive sales growth outpacing the category, Wallace coined the phrase The New World Marketplace to define how women, youth and multiculturalism are shaping our future. She is a provocative thinker and an insightful strategist who helps leaders and companies capitalize on cultural macro trends and define their brand’s value proposition and sustainable revenue models in today’s fast-changing marketplace.
Of Iranian background, Wallace immigrated with her family to Louisiana at the age 15. She uses the lessons learned by overcoming issues of ethnicity, gender, class, caste, religious, political, economic and lifestyle experiences to shape her vision and keep it alive. She believes in the spirit’s deep desire for freedom, self-determination and self-expressions to maintain an inner authenticity. She leads others to find authenticity within themselves, their companies and customers.
“Her whole life has been a Possible Woman experience!” said Linda Wind, CEO of Wind Enterprises®, organizer of the annual regional leadership conference. “Her ideas are fascinating and will help makePOWER. PURPOSE. PASSION. Possible Woman 2013 the most dynamic Possible Woman event yet!”
We are about to redefine the culture of middle class in the US, and most people and companies are not aware. Some of us who are, ignore it or simply not happy about it. Just the word “multicultural” draws in polarized reactions. This is one of the three macro trends that I define as imperatives for business and social success in the future. And it is shaping the emerging middle class in America.
I remember the marketing days when Latinos were primarily segmented into the lower income category. But that is no longer the case, is it? According to a new Nielsen report published last month, Latino’s income growth during the past decade has significantly surpassed the nation’s average. Although 43% of Latino’s still earn below $35k/year (versus 35% total), 36% earn $35-75k (at par with 34% total) and growing at a higher rate. What may be even more surprising to most is that 10% earn $75-100k, which is a 31% growth since 2000…. and 11% over $100k per year, which is a dramatic 71% increase.
Over 52 million strong, or 1 in 6, Latino buying power of $1 trillion in 2010 will change to $1.5 trillion by 2015. You can expect Latino population and buying power to continue growing even with the decline in the immigration numbers.
Let’s put this into context… There are more Latinos in the US than Canadians in Canada, Malaysians in Malaysia, or South Africans in South Africa. Latinos in the US represent second-largest Latino nation, right after Mexico, and before Spain, Columbia and Argentina. If a standalone country, the buying power would be one of the top 20 economies in the world.
In my November blog, how to reach the fastest growing Asian market, I explained how the Asian market is over-indexing the US national average in just about every meaningful consumer category—specially in income, education and family size. With this recent study showing Latino income on the rise, we can safely say that the landscape of American middle class is rapidly changing into a multicultural mosaic. We are about to redefine the culture of middle class in America, which will in turn redefine every aspect of the pop culture, consumerism, politics, economy and business. Just think of how branding strategies will have to shift for retail, residential buying, food, education, financial services, transportation, entertainment and media.
American marketers have never relied on a broad-stroke depiction of White consumers. They should keep the same mindset when it comes to Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups. Stereotyping the Latinos or Asians in the US will not be any different than stereotyping Caucasians.
According to Census, among US children, Hispanics are already 1 in 4 of all newborns. Hispanics, Asians and multi-racial children accounted for all the US youth growth in the last decade. Think of how this will define the next generation of our country. The multi-racial children are clearly the result of inter-racial marriages. Marriage across racial and ethnic lines has doubled since 1980, with 41% of all intermarriages in 2008 between Hispanics and whites, 15% between Asians and Whites, 11% between blacks and whites, and 16% in which both parties are non-white.
Contrary to the popular belief on language barrier, Neilsen particularly notes that Latino consumers’ usage rates of smartphones, TV, online video and social networking/entertainment makes this group one of the most engaged in the digital space. During February 2012, Latinos increased their visits to social networks/blogs by 14% from a year ago. This is also true for all multicultural population as Gen Y is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in American history. Unlike the ethnic groups in previous generations assimilating in the mainstream culture, the new and young multicultural populations take big pride in their ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and are considered acculturated.
This article is not intended to be an advertising campaign for Hispanic media and agencies. For me, it is critical to add that older, white males are just as much part of the multicultural societies as any other ethnic groups. I define Multiculturalism by a mosaic of different cultures in one platform, and a society that is ethnically and culturally diverse. That does not mean excluding Caucasians or implying ethnic minorities only.
So, how are you defining or stereotyping your multicultural initiatives?
We celebrated the International Woman’s Day last week. Lately, from revolutions in the Middle East, to polarizing political debates in the US, and online campaigns all over the globe, women are at the forefront of social and cultural change. Yes, women are blooming, and this is a good time to share a bit about our emerging leaders–the Gen Y women.
The Gen Y (aka milllenial) women have a different life path than you can imagine. Levi’s survey in 2010 reported:
- 96% list “being independent” as their single most important life goal
- 87% define success as being able to shape their own future
- Only 68% say becoming a mom is on their priority list
- 50% say getting married is a priority
- Just 43% ascribe much importance to getting rich
Put differently, half of young women do not see marriage as a priority and one third say the same about becoming a mom. And it is not so much about getting rich as it is about shaping own future.
We all know Gen Y is a wired, digitally connected generation. But did you know women are becoming more active users of digital media than men? According to Neilsen’s digital consumer report, women are:
- 51% of TV viewers
- 53% of online video users
- 54% of social network/blog visitors
- 50% of smartphone owners
These differences are not statistically significant, really. Plus, I neither believe it should be a man’s world nor a woman’s nation. But I am hoping that this type of data sharing will help negate stereotypes and dichotomies that are still out there in media and advertising–even politics. Did you know women control/influence 85% of all major buying decisions? We couldn’t tell by our media coverage and ad campaigns. I’ve always believed the media’s misrepresentation of women has led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in this country. And I believe the Gen Y women will change all that…!!!
I’m starting to feel like Farnaz Global is also blooming like this beautiful Spring. Please take a moment to re-visit my web site and check out the new additions. I’ve also updated my Twitter and Facebook Fan Page. Please follow me….I’ll follow you back…!!!
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Spring Equinox, coming up next Tuesday, 3/20. This is also the Persian New Year. So if you see or talk to any Iranian next week, say “Eidet Mobarak” which means happy norooz (new day/year). This is a new day, new year, and The New World Marketplace.
Thank you so much for all your support. I truly appreciate all the warm notes from everyone last week when I introduced my book. But there was a lot of confusion about the release date. To clarify, the official release date is June 5th. That’s how long it takes for the publisher, distribuor, wholesaler and internet sites to all get on the same page. However, my book is available on my web site, as well as my publisher’s site. And you can receive your copy 7-10 days after you place your oder.
The New World Marketplace is here….!!! I am so excited to give you the first opporunity to order your copy before the official release date. Click here and you will be directed to my publisher’s link for my page. We have made both paperback and ebook options available.
It will take another 60-90 days for my book to be released to all distribution channels, such as Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. But you can order your copy today and you will receive yours in 7-10days. I am planning pre-release parties and speaking engagements, so I may end up in your city soon. And in the months ahead, after the official release, I will be traveling all over for book signings, so you can bring your copy in for a personal, heartfelt authograph from me.
It would mean a lot to me if you can forward this to all your friends, family and collegues, and post on your facebook and twitter pages. In our new digital globe, success is defined by what friends say and “like”…..
Look forward to seeing you soon.
When you look for a new doctor these days, how many Asian doctors do you find? How many engineers, professors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and CEOs? Did you know South Asians generally over-index the US National Average in just about every meaningful consumer category? Are businesses ignoring the marketer’s dream come true? What are the prejudices and biases that are holding companies back from reaching this higher income, more educated, larger families and growing market?
Check out these Census facts:
- With 14.5 million Asians in the US, up 43% from the last census, Asians are the fastest growing minority group, very affluent and high educated, with household income 26% above Whites.
- Asian Americans have the highest educational attainment of any group, 49% have at least a bachelor’s degree (vs. 28% US avg). They also have the highest household income levels of any racial demographic at $65,637 (vs $38,885 US avg) with 28% exceeding $100K.
- South Asian population has doubled in the last decade. Indian population, specifically, has grown 70%. And 67% of all Indians have a bachelor’s or higher degree. Almost 40% have a master’s, doctorate or other professional degree, which is five times the national average. 1 in every 9 Indians in the US is a millionaire, comprising 10% of all US millionaires.
- South Asian households are 29% larger than the national average. And 93.6% speak English.
- Although Iran is not technically considered “Asia” by Census, I’ll include for my loyal Persian readers: 51% of Iranian-Americans have a bachelor’s or higher degree, and 1 in 4 hold Masters or PHD. An NPR report recently put the Iranian population of Beverly Hills as high as 20%. Almost 1 in 3 households have annual incomes of more than $100K (compared to 1 in 5 US Avg). According to a study carried out by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Iranian scientists and engineers in the US own or control around $880 billion.
So when you think or speak of multicultural branding or strategy, are you ignoring this fastest growing group? What marketer wouldn’t want to reach a more educated consumer with higher income and larger families without a re-deployment of marketing dollars?
The 2010 census data reported, of the 27.3 million added to US population in the last decade, only 2.3 million were Whites. While Hispanics accounted for well over half our gains, Asians made the next biggest contribution. There is an absolute decline of white population under 18, as well as somewhat smaller decline of black youths. Hispanics, Asians, and multiracial children accounted for all of the net growth of nation’s youth. And I believe the Asian numbers are under-reported through Census, since there is a big debate about race versus ethnicity.
The world “Multicultural” was intended to represent a mosaic of different cultures in one platform. But somehow it became a buzzword limited to initiatives toward Hispanics, as “Diversity” did the same with African Americans. That’s why I coined the phrase “New World Marketplace” to represent a new type of customer-influencing mainstream culture. It’s important to recognize that various multicultural values have now become part of the fabric and reality of American society.
Here are 10 easy tips to get started that will apply to all multicultural branding and positioning:
- Learn how much of your current sales volume is being generated by multicultural customers. It may be more than you think.
- Then, learn exactly what demographic groups you could and should target for your products and services. How much sales potential in each market?
- Get to know your existing and new targets. You can only do so by spending days in the life of your customers.
- It all starts with the great product, which transcends all cultural differences. Make sure you have the right product and services and you are speaking to the needs and values of the customers who are actually buying them.
- Research and research more. Not just about product attributes, but also about how your new customers want to feel and be treated as a part of the totality and oneness of the market.
- Consult with experts. I am one of so many. Learn to use the right cultural symbols to avoid offending the very people you’re trying to attract.
- Sharpen your sensitivity to cultural standards and taboos. Dig deeper into the values and beliefs and leverage on “shared” values.
- Avoid all stereotypes and clichés. Design your marketing materials to depict multicultural customers in a wide variety of roles.
- Include a multicultural budget in your 2012 budget. Link compensation to multicultural performance for the sake of profit growth.
- Be authentic, honest, respectful and consistent. Once you open the doors to build the relationship, stay the course to maintain the relationship.
Immigration to this country, both legal and illegal, is at an all time high. As people pour in from other countries, settle, and begin to build their lives, companies must understand and embrace the cultural differences, and emotionally connect in order to be relevant and effectively communicate marketing and branding messages.
How relevant is your brand to the influx of immigrants? It’s OK if you’ve made a conscious decision to eliminate this group, as a strategic trade-off, from your list of targets. But let me at least share some interesting data before you finalize that decision.
Did you know, based on government estimates, there are 250,000 new illegal immigrants coming to the U.S. every year, with 10.8 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. now. States with the largest illegal immigrant populations are: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Georgia, Arizona, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Nevada. (more…)