Generation Z and a suitcase full of marketing.

Or maybe it’s a very expensive rucksack.

Generation Z, like all such cohorts assigned by sociologists, are, by definition, dangerously generalised and simplified. But just bear with this one foe a moment.

Less is more

This is the “keep your possessions to a high quality minimum generation”; the first genuinely paper-free generation; the mortgage free, virtual office generation and the get-on-a-plane to go where it takes at a moment’s notice generation.

Let’s look at quality and quantity together. How many shoes do you have? How many do you really need? OK a pair of great trainers, two pairs of great loafers. Two pairs of great jeans. Two wonderful shirts, two great T-shirts. iPad, iPod, John’s Phone. And so on and so on or rather – not so on and so on.

Choose your best brands, the ones that market to your true sense of yourself – Boss, Armani, Gucci whoever and have what you need for the only reality there is – the reality of now. Don’t store up mediocrity of product for a rainy day. Wear only the best now. And throw or give it away when you need to replace it.

Welcome to Generation Z.

Your life in a suitcase or a rucksack. Only the best. Only what you need. Now.

Quality wins

Generation Z will not be kind to Primark or M&S. If a brand is not cool, crafted and quality it’s in trouble. Marketing is a start but not enough. Generation Z demands fashion but also fashion that doesn’t fall apart.

Generation Z know not only how to complain but how to get reparation. If you don’t supply them with great customer service they’ll lash you on the web.

Advertising is not so much dead as counterproductive. My Mum used to say “they must be in trouble having to advertise so much” Bless her. And belatedly she’s proved right. Only one thing matters now. What your peers think and say.

Attitudes to work

The only “proper job” will be one you enjoy and learn from.  Most likely you will work for yourself or be freelance. You will be a talent not an employee. You will hone your skills so they are world class. They won’t just be transferable – they’ll be transferable across continents. And you’ll only do what makes you better. Money will be secondary.

This generation will demand from its employers, stakeholders, partners and suppliers:

  • Transparency
  • Innovation
  • Care for the environment
  • Care for community
  • Diversity
  • Relationships not just transactions

The workforce of the future won’t go on strike – they’ll just walk out – forever.

The old fashioned command: control model has already died; the new “Z -Model” is about teams and talent with a premium on task-delivery; on creating a great film/programme or a great new line or a great season or a great event.

Generation Z won’t be adversarial they’ll simply be impervious to that employer-do-it-my-way nonsense.

Welcome to the thinking generation.

Lessons for now

If you think all this is rubbish then be ready to be very frightened.

If you think they may be a bit (just a bit) of a point here do three things:

  1. Start throwing away as much as you can and liberate your space and minds
  2. Ask yourself if you have the very best tools to do the job  or if you’re just making do with mediocrity
  3. Be ready to move fast and become a “have brain will travel” person

The future’s out there

Most of all, Generation Z, or however you want to describe the citizens of our near future, will be out there in the street, in new streets in the east or the south or the unknown. They’ll not be behind a PC or in an office. They’ll be in an airport or in a meeting space or in a shop.

Because when we talk about the future we are not talking about the prisons of process or templates or company rules. We are talking about always trying to find new and better ways of doing things.

So get out your suitcase (or rucksack) and discover a new world of marketing. Out there; being small, fast, responsive, open minded and travelling light.

The key words will be creativity, quality, focus, jet-speed, flexibility and independence…what a horrible, horrible time to be a big corporation.

Let’s have a moment’s silence for them…

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