By: Claire Bailey and Alexis Reishus

“We remember when the iPhone first launched but not the Blackberry. We represent a micro-generation of influential spending power, but no defined brand loyalty, providing fertile and untapped ground for businesses interested in grabbing our attention and loyalty.  To do so however requires strategy.”

As CGPR’s departing summer interns, both 20 years of age, we learned a signficant amount about communications and PR, during which we also learned that each of us identifies ourselves as members of different generations. We focused on communications best practices and messaging, much of which is designed to resonate with specific audiences. During these lessons, we discovered the importance and relevance of generational position, as it frames how businesses inform or sell.

Millennialshave been blamed for killing the beer industry, the napkin industry, the cereal industry, and dozens more. Comprising 25% of the population making up 21% of consumer discretionary purchases, millennials have become a sizable demographic of buying power.  Millennials are also internet pioneers—captaining the transition from Myspace to Facebook and representing early adopters of voice to text technology (iPhones).

In contrast,Gen Zers(the “in between” generation) represent approximately 25% of the US population and outnumber Millennials by 1 million. Gen Z also has a combined $44 billion spending power, although admittedly, tends to be more careful and cautious, having grown up in times of turmoil, terrorism and recession. Adept with technology, Gen Zers also learned from the social media mistakes of millennials, valuing privacy across social channels and limiting content and shares with friends (hello Snapchat!) They greatly value experiences over possessions—preferring an exotic vacation over an expensive gift–and heavily support causes they believe in, whether climate change or human rights. These facts serve as valuable insight to businesses attempting to sell to them as hawking wares simply doesn’t work.

Our personal experiences and diverse upbringings helped us coin the optimal moniker for our age and generation – zillennial — given that we’re too young to be true millennials and too old to be Gen Z.

How to reach “zillenials”

By properly aligning brand messages and products with social causes and purpose, brands can successfully reach this youthful population using these guidelines:

  • Be true to your ideals and celebrate them consistently within all communication styles.
  • Engage us with flexible strategies that allow us to build a relationship with you in a more intimate way.
  • Capture our loyalty through impactful messaging and programming that resonates with social causes.

Those companies and brands that execute against the tips above will easily and successfully reach the coveted demographic within which we identify ourselves, and one that patiently waits for businesses to reach and respond to us differently than they would themselves. If your business wishes to craft communications efforts to reach the ‘in between generation,’ contact CGPR to find out how public relations strategies can play a successful role.

public relations summer interns
Claire Bailey (L) is a senior at Ithaca College where she is completing her B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications and a minor in Legal Studies and Writing. When not attending to her duties as an RA (Resident Advisor), she serves as an active member and event planner for Ithaca College’s IC After Dark. An Endicott College senior majoring in Marketing Communications, Alexis Reishus (R) is an active member of several campus organizations including The Agency and DECA. Keeping her extra busy in her few spare free hours, Alexis helps her family with their recently launched independent wine label, Triad.