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From the “Me” Generation to the “We” Generation

Posted Nov 30 2009 10:02pm

Advertising maven, Roy Williams, has been speaking about Society’s 40-year Pendulum since at least 2003. Grounded in the generational theories of Strauss and Howe, Roy Williams has been accurately predicting the changing behaviors of consumers for some time. 2009 was the first complete year of a “new” Civic minded generation (which transitioned since 2003 from an Idealist perspective). We now reject hype the way the baby boomers rejected conformity.

Key takeaways:

1) Authenticity is paramount — “Keepin’ it real” has replaced “being cool”

2) Networks are valued — Belonging has replaced winning

3) We trust our friends — Word of mouth has replaced mass media (WOM always the most powerful form of marketing, and Web 2.0 has eliminated friction and increased the velocity of messages)

Does your marketing and health communications reflect all this? Hopefully you’ve already made the shift; after all, you’ve had the previous six years to figure it out.

But if you need further inspiration, look no further than Madonna (the pop-star, not the Mother of Jesus). She is now in her 50’s and she isn’t the same artist/performer that she was early in her career. Her debut album in the 1980’s was self-titled, full of Ego and she became known as the “Material Girl.” Generations change their views as they progress–as we age–and Madonna today is known for her spirituality, Ray of Light album, and efforts to adopt children from Malawi.

You work in the most noble of professions; you are working for better health. Your drug, or hospital, or health publication, or non-profit is a valuable resource to patients; you are part of their health team. Does your marketing reflect all this? Does the “we” generation understand what you have to contribute?

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