Five things you need to know about the IGen




David Wiles

Our iGen research is here! Thanks to PR Week for helping us launch our new research into the media consumption habits and psyche of 16-23 year olds. 

Meet the iGen. 16-23 year olds born between 1995 and 2012. An audience more likely to look at their phone within five minutes of waking than they are to ever read a magazine.

Mini marketing directors with a flair for channel specific communications, this audience group gives any digital marketer a run for their money. So how can brands be sure that they are talking their language, and connect with young people successfully now, and in the future?

Here are top five takeouts for how professionals working in marketing and communications should tailor their approach to the iGen.

1. It’s not just playing with their phones, it’s augmenting their lives.

We know that the iGen have grown up with technology and this shapes how they see the world. It also changes how they access content, which is changing how they communicate. They expect brands to keep up with these communication trends too.

However, they are not just playing with their phones, they’ve integrated technology into their lives. They use their smartphones as the tool to better themselves and the world around them, not just as a vehicle to waste time and play Candy Crush.

  • Most iGen got their first smartphone at just 12 year old (13%).
  • 2% of respondents got their first smartphone at just 3 years old!
  • 65% look at their phone within 5 minutes of waking.
  • 60% look at their phone within 5 minutes of sleeping.

Brands must make sure they are building in their new reality, and communicating in their new language.

2. They’re not just taking selfies, they are managing their personal brands.

The findings show that crafting and managing their own personal brand as well as understanding their impact on society are two of the key objectives for the next generation as they enter adulthood.

iGen use social media as a tool by which to manage their personal brand, and believe that it determines a person’s future success – socially, professionally, and romantically.

  • 23% actively run four social media accounts.
  • 42% say your social media account determines how people see and perceive you.
  • 39% say it defines your popularity.
  • 33% say it affects your job prospects and your influence externally.

Selfies may have started as a light-hearted tool of self-promotion, but actually, they exhibit a mindset that puts the individual at the core of personal brand. Emphasis on the self has never been stronger.

Brands must be confident that they are giving the iGen ideas that are helping them to express themselves. Does your brand’s content express a sentiment that the iGen can relate to and share?

3. They’re not vain, they’re worried about their careers, politics, and their future.

If they don’t put the effort into curating their online personas, they are more likely to be bullied. This is leading to an increase in depression and anxiety. With 36% worried about bullying and 34% about trolling.

In terms of their view on the future, the iGen are most worried about:

  • 66% career
  • 47% terrorism
  • 44% health
  • 33% political uncertainty
  • 11% none of the above

No surprise that they curate their online lives, selecting who to send what, where and when. The younger members of those interviewed were much more worried about sharing their content and location than their older peers. This causes iGen to be hyper-conscientious when it comes to their online behaviour.

  • 45% of the iGen have social media accounts that their parents are not aware of
  • 57% share less opinions on social media than elsewhere because of concerns around privacy

How will your brand reassure them, or help them save the world?

4. It’s not a short attention span, it’s an eight second filter.

With so much content available, they have had to develop incredible filters.

This is called the eight second filter. iGens control so many accounts and channels that they are suffering from an attention diversion crisis which has changed how they observe life around them. Brands now only have eight seconds in which to grab consumers’ attention.

There are more platforms, more devices, and more easily accessible media which are meshing together. Whilst for brands and agencies, the variety of media and appetites provide opportunity, reaching consumers effectively is the key challenge.

Brands must remain clear about context. Why are people viewing it? What are their motivations? When are they viewing it? Can it be summed up in a second?

5. They’re not consuming different things, but just consuming them in different ways.

The content is largely the same, just consumed through different channels.

They follow brands and watch TV just like everyone else. But they’re not waiting for Match of the Day, they’re watching it 24/7 on Copa90. They’re not turning to magazines for the latest beauty and lifestyle hacks, they’re getting it from their favourite influencers on Instagram and YouTube.

When it comes to engaging the iGens, the simplest and most useful thing a brand can focus on is adapting to the sheer speed of their communications. From the moment they wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night, their efficiency of communications and content consumption is, regardless of channel, neck-breakingly fast and highly reactive.

Speed, as opposed to scale, will be the one to watch for brands looking to lead the pack in 2018.

To read the full report contact and read the original PR Week article here.

This was published by…

David Wiles

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