Generational difference

Image by Lyza. Via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Our executive chairman, J. Walker Smith, has a piece on the American Marketing Association’s site about understanding generational differences. Here’s an extract:

​”Generations are misunderstood. As a consequence, generational analysis is disdained. No one argues that young and old are the same, only that differences are due to age or circumstances, not generation. Yet age and circumstances are precisely what generational analysis is all about. The things that make a generational cohort distinctive are the circumstances shared by members of that cohort as they were coming of age. In short, generations are about starting points. …

The relevant contrasts for generations are those comparing the opinions and behaviors of cohorts at comparable ages. A generational comparison of millenni​als versus boomers is not millennials today versus boomers today. Rather, it is millennials and boomers at comparable ages, which is boomers when they were 19 to 36 years old, or the ages of millennials today. Cohort comparisons like this spotlight differences in starting points, and thus provide insights into the trajectories that define the essence of a generational experience and mindset. …

“Consider one example from our recent research that tracks lifestyles and values. Periodically, respondents are asked to rate how much they would like to see “a return to traditional standards” in various areas of life. An age comparison of millennials today versus boomers today shows the unsurprising result that far fewer young people evince any interest in a return to traditional standards, but a cohort comparison shows the opposite. When boomers were the same age as millennials today, fewer wanted a return to traditional standards.”

You can read the whole piece here.

The image at the top of this post is by Lyza, whose Flickr photostream is here. It is published here, with thanks, under a Creative Commons licence.

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