< Back to BLOG

The Millennial effect on technology

Moore’s Law, a term originated in the seventies, states that the overall processing power for computers would double every two years. This means that technical evolution and the information processing capacity will reach its limits at some point. Moore’s Law has currently reached that point: terms like chemic and fluidic computing are already popping up and go beyond the age of the silicon transistor that computers currently process information with. Is a new technological revolution coming our way?

Technology creates new possibilities and new experiences which we could never even imagine would happen. Who for example would have ever thought a house could be printed? In this blog post we want to assess what the new technological evolutions mean for GenYers: how do these trends fit with them? Will these trends last or will it take some effort to make them GenY-proof? Let’s take a look at 3 evolutions and put on our GenY-glasses.

Evolution 1: GROUNDBREAKING INVENTIONS

It’s the future, stupid!

Virtual reality, ultra HD TVs, 3D printing, connected smart home… These terms were once part of a future far far away, but in the past two years, they have in fact become reality. At the Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas last January, these new technologies were at the center of attention. The printed house was an obvious example. But what about the car industry: autonomously driving cars with touch screens, just like the ones that were shown in futuristic movies when we were young. It no longer is a concept: Mercedes-Benz presented its new project, ready to launch in 2030. This car is literally all about multi-media, screens and entertainment. What else do you have to do, if you don’t have to drive your car?

Cool but… I could never afford this

Millennials are a much cheaper generation than the ones before, especially when it comes to cars. But money isn’t only an issue for big investment products like cars. All great technological breakthroughs, whether a wearable or a phone, still have a certain price tag. So what do GenYers do? In consumer electronics, a big trend is the ever-dropping price: everything will become cheaper at some point. GenYers would rather wait for that. After all, they are a pragmatic generation: they want it all, but they will still look for the best deal!

Hot tweetawayHot tweetaway: #GenY wants it all, but they will still look for the best deal insit.es/1aJNv5x by @AnneleenBoullar via @CoolBrands #millennials #tech

So what should brands do?

The big challenge for brands and new technology innovations is to reach those GenYers earlier: convince them about benefits rather than about technology. Part of the solution could actually lie in leveraging on those other generations: their parents and their older nephews or friends. Baby-boomers and GenXers are the ones buying all the gadgets: they have the money and do not mind spending it. Teaching GenY about the advantages of new technologies by letting them experience it real-life creates interest and desire. Reviews, YouTube movies, product sharing… never before has it been this big. Leveraging on the power of other generations could be the answer to the challenge. Uniting them to stand stronger!

Other sectors, such charity and beauty, are already leveraging on the power of others, for example Estée Lauder. They took a proactive approach to their global breast cancer awareness campaign in 2013, wanting not just to increase breast cancer awareness, but also to get people to start prevention today. The theme of the campaign was We’re Stronger Together, encouraging women to create a Circle of Strength with their friends and family and to make commitments to schedule mammograms, have a healthy lifestyle, support each other and so on. This campaign united genders and generations.

Evelyn Layder Dream Pin

Evolution 2: AUTOMATIZATION MAKES LIFE EASIER

No worries, technology will do that

More and more products that were once just products are now technologized. You name any product, there probably exists some kind of technologized variant. For example: the 4moms mamaRoo automated baby rocker. Looks like the perfect solution for exhausted parents, doesn’t it? But no doubt a lazy parent will just put the kid in the baby rocker rather than to hold the baby. What about smart pet feeders, teddy bears with health sensors, self-watering flowerpots, smart toothbrushes? Or how about this one: Belty, the belt which loosens up automatically after a heavy Friday evening meal

Cool but… where does it take us?

Millennials love gadgets, but at the same time they are also critical. When it comes to the environment, for example. Issues with standby power and electronic waste are increasingly getting into picture and energy-efficient solutions are key. Does the industry do what it takes to reassure this generation? And even for those who are not that environmentally-conscious: what about me? Am I not getting too lazy, looking at all these solutions for unmet needs? Millennials are looking at developing themselves and are all about living and learning. But where’s the fun when there’s nothing to learn?

Hot tweetawayHot tweetaway: #Millennials don’t adapt to #technology, it should adapt to their needs insit.es/1aJNv5x by @AnneleenBoullar via @CoolBrands #GenY

So what should brands do?

The challenge here is to learn more about the deeper needs of GenYers: mapping frustrations, worries, doubts and struggles and making sure your product offers a solution for at least one of them is a beginning. For the one, an automatic heating system is a great solution, for the other simply having insight in wastage is enough. GenYers in general really have a need to control: products should be adaptable and flexible, depending on the needs of individual customers. The GenYer shouldn’t adapt to technology, technology should speak to the needs of the GenYer.

Some nice examples can be found in the food industry, for example: HelloFresh, a home delivery system where the ingredients for a whole week of healthy eating are delivered to your house, together with the recipes. But of course, you still have to prepare the meal- according to your own wishes. Overall, grocery food delivery will explode in 2015, which makes sense: it is not just about being lazy but about saving time. And time is precious these days for the always-on stimulation-junkie GenYers. More interestingly, technology is also thé trend in the food sector: autonomous ordering in food joints is a must these days: no extra personnel, no mistakes, quick and easy. McDonald’s is testing an app which would allow us order our own customizable burgers. And Pizza Hut is even taking it one step further: claiming to know what you want to order even before you do, through an eye-tracking app: maybe one step too far again for the controlling GenYer?

Evolution 3: TECHNOLOGY EVOLVES FASTER THAN BRANDS

Say what?

You have to be fast to keep up. In fact, it is not even possible to keep up anymore. So many possibilities and every day a new product is launched somewhere… Although we all already know terms like Internet of things, drones and smart home, we’re not all tech nerds. And we are definitely not all aware of the new possibilities today offers! How about having a computer in your car that already puts on the heating at home and at the same time lets you know you are out of milk and orders groceries online? A company called Voxel 8, for example, will soon sell a 3D printer that can print an electronic circuit as part of an object – a true printed circuit – with the potential for making functioning electronic devices. Where will it end? In the future, 3D printers may be able to print more 3D printers. Great… or not?

But this is only cool for a short time? Right?

The stimulation junkie in the GenYer will want products that grow together with him. What is in now, must be compatible with what will be in tomorrow. And that is a challenge the industry is facing right now: no standards are available yet and everyone is just doing his thing. Google however announced to make its Nest a central connected device and has already partnerships with big players like for example Whirlpool. Other less well-known companies like August, a smart door-lock start-up, are also included in the plan. Once it is possible to have interconnected, interchangeable devices, adapted to the GenYers needs, the impulsive GenYer will feel at ease with his new technology product.

Hot tweetawayHot tweetaway: The impulsive GenYer needs products that grow together with them insit.es/1aJNv5x by @AnneleenBoullar via @CoolBrands #millennials #tech

So what should brands do?

Be smart in partnerships and talk the GenY language: a lot of the products already offer solutions to unmet needs, however the message often does not come across. By profiting from the trustworthy image of other well-known brands or looking for new cooperations that could offer scalability, products will become more believable, understandable and sustainable. Again, in the food sector quite some successful examples are already established: YoCrunch yoghurt, putting the toppings in the lead role: Oreo, Twix, M&M’s and many more are opening the path to success.

YoCrunch Yogurt

But also in technology, smaller players are playing it smart by partnering up with bigger brands. We already mentioned the example from Google and NEST – but what about their partnership with Luxottica, the group behind eyewear brands like Ray-Ban, DKNY, Chanel and many others. The technology of Google glass with the looks of Luxottica: smart move! Or what about ‘Spotify your ride’, a partnership between Spotify and Uber: hire a car through Uber and listen to your favorite songs while driving the car. Exclusive for Uber cars, which enhances the unique experience and an incentive for Spotify users to upgrade to a premium account.

Let’s keep it real and connect

All this teaches us that GenYers will not adapt new technology trends that easily. Three important lessons we should already remember:

  1. Unite other generations with GenYers rather than to separate them: use their leverage power to convince GenY about new technology benefits
  2. Technology is here to serve the GenYers needs, not the other way around: mapping unmet needs should be the starting point
  3. Partnering up wisely makes a brand more sustainable: collaboration is the key word

Hot tweetawayHot tweetaway: 3 lessons to consider when marketing to the #tech-savvy #Millennial insit.es/1aJNv5x by @AnneleenBoullar via @CoolBrands #GenY

Let’s take it one more step forward. In this context it is also important to keep it real: however interested and tech-savvy they might be, there has to be a real touch: vinyl has become popular again, board games are an all-time favorite and a real human approach is thé differentiator in service. Innovative technology cannot do without the real factor. And as a brand, you have to be there and actually listen.

By immersing ourselves into the context, we can discover what GenYers have to cope with during their daily lives, in different contexts, whether it is music, work, household chores or mobile experiences. In all contexts, various frustrations will pop up, for which no solutions are available. One opportunity lies in finding solutions that meet these needs correctly and come up with an innovation that really matters. But even when these innovations already exist, the route to innovation goes on: what are the benefits that matter? What kind of services do they expect? Which channels should we use? What kind of partnerships would work? How can we optimize the product?

Technology is difficult to keep up with, but it is not impossible. Keeping the finger on the pulse already is a great start! Are you ready for the future?

Share on LinkedIn45Share on Facebook24Tweet about this on Twitter

Posted in Insights

One Response to “The Millennial effect on technology”

  1. Kortjes: quokka-selfies, Converse-portretten, quantified baby's, BN'er-haattweets, en meer (week 10, 2015) - Trends in Kids- & Jongerenmarketing

    […] big challenge for brands and new technology innovations is to reach those GenYers earlier: convince them about benefits rather than about technology […]

    Reply