2016 was the year of Millennials, but who will be the “Millennials” of 2017? Who will have the power to transform the industry?

Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian

By: Katarina Pribićević, Director of Strategic Planning, McCann Beograd

We can all agree that behind us is probably one of the most turbulent years in recent history: the year of the Brexit, Donald Trump became president of USA, Leonardo DiCaprio won an Oscar, Angelina and Brad Pitt got divorced, Fidel Castro died … 2016 will be the year that cannot be forgotten.

This was a pivoting year for the communications industry as well – in many ways. The impression is that this was a period in which the technology really showed why it’s “HOT!” We have witnessed the mania called Pokemon GO and kind of revolution in the field of AR. Virtual reality has become mainstream, and 2016 was the year when artificial intelligence became a real alternative to the taxi drivers – at least in theory. 2017 is the year that remains obliged to carry out at least some of the ambitions of its predecessor.

In an effort to simplify things, differentiate themselves from the competition and define their own meaning, brands have turned to creative cooperation with the technology. Area of ​​communication has never been more tied with other industries and categories. The collaboration between technology and advertising has become organic, and innovation became a keyword and imperative of almost every initiative today.

Successful innovations usually combine something familiar with something new, in order to address some new needs. In order to look forward and bring relevant content, it is necessary to equally take into account the category in which we work, as well as the specific groups that are being created or whose needs are becoming dominant.

2016 was the year of Millennials, and probably there’s not a single person in the industry who was deprived of information about who they are and how important they are. They were the buzz of the moment, but also the essential part of the future plans of all who had the product, service, ambition or dream in the field of business.

But who will be the “Millennials” of 2017? Who will have the power to transform the industry?

OLD AGE INFLUENCERS: “M & F 60+”, forgotten, neglected, and traditionally under the radar, they are the segment that now accounts for the bulk of the population. We are talking about a complex generation that witnessed “the best and the worst years” of modern times. In Serbia, for the most part they are a socially endangered segment, but in certain areas they are most potent in terms of value!

In addition to social importance, we are talking about the cultural importance of this segment in Serbia, as often equal carrier of the educative function in the family, but also about their economic role as co-managers in (increasingly multi-member) households.

The power of their impact must not be neglected, but on the contrary, embraced, and leveraged by every brand with a serious ambition to be meaningful in the life of people and the life of an entire society.

GENERATION Z: Hear Ye, Hear Ye! 2017 is the year in which the first representatives of the generation Z will approach adulthood. So, if you don’t already have them as an organic part of your brand plans, it’s your last chance to amend them. This is a generation that is moving, changing, transforming and expecting – and they expect the same from you, at the very least!

We are talking about those “kids” who really since early childhood shape the market to themselves. We know that we are already too late in understanding what their needs are and we will somehow always be late – because they are always faster. In order for a brand to find a place in their everyday life, it has to leave the rigid position of a brand which assumes that it must be wanted, and become a brand that allows its consumers to change it. That’s why the gaming territory is the best way to master the principles by which to create a connection with these young people: dynamic, under their control, with the prospect of promotion.

ALL THE SINGLE LADIES“:

2017 is the time to really start the conversation about feminism of a new generation, and leave the fixation of the conventional role of a woman – a mother and wife. What does this mean for brands? After the recognition of imperfections of the “modern mother”, it’s time to leave the generic cult of the “modern woman” as well – the one for which we believe that, no matter how powerful and successful she is, her primary drive is still probably to find a soul mate and have a family.

Be it unusual to someone or not, there are “single women” walking around this country, without ambitions to change this status. Without going into the motives for such a choice, we can conclude that the needs and habits of these women are very different. They buy for themselves, they cook (or don’t cook) for themselves, they plan travels following their own needs … And there’s a lot of room for brands in our region not to leave them indifferent!

POLITICAL CONSUMER: In the era of humanization and the simultaneous loss of the value of institutions, trust in the state and its representatives, a new form of rebellion was born: protest through public expression of one’s opinions. This was largely facilitated by social networks and, in addition to pointing out the problems, there is more and more concrete initiatives (from civic initiatives in local communities to helping abandoned animals).

Although this social phenomenon is not new, brands have not yet recognized it as a potential territory to find their own place. On the wave of the trend of social responsibility of brands, there is a new space to connect with consumers: brands as personal media or instruments for demonstration of attitude – and not as a substitute institution. The time is coming when the micro plane will be increasingly important, and finding one’s role in this consumer micro-system may represent a “make or break” factor for some brands.

If the wild, surprising, ground shaking 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that it is necessary to abandon the rigid position of control – ASAP! The changes have already begun, and 2017 will only hasten them, so it would be good to catch up with that self-driving taxi today.

The article was originally published on the portal of Vreme magazine.