Case Analysis – Emotional Branding by Marc Gobe
Baby Boomers are people that were born between (and including) 1946 and 1964. After the American soldiers returned home from World War II in1946, the United States experienced an explosion of births (hence the name baby boom) that continued for the next 18 years, when the birth rate began to drop. In 1964, baby boomers represented 40% of the population, which means that more than one third of the population was less than 19 years of age. Today, there are about 75 million boomers in the U. S and they currently represent about 29% of the U. S. population.
Since baby boomers make up such a sizable portion of the consuming public, their spending habits and lifestyles have a powerful influence on the economy. Baby boomers’ spending is estimated at over $900 billion annually, much more than any other group. This group responds to signals of high performance, prestigious status and achievement. Due to the modernization, advanced medicine, competitive careers and demanding families, the baby boomers are not getting older; they are just reaching a juvenile maturity.
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Examples for brands that successfully reach the baby boomers’ group are Harley-Davidson, which has made some significant changes (ads depicting middle-class couples and event with family appeals) in its marketing strategy in order to reach this group and Estee Lauder, which has made changes such as bringing back to its ads Karen Graham, one of its most renowned models of the seventies and the eighties, an act that was very appreciated by the female baby boomers. Generation X, or the eXcels as Marc Gobe likes to name them, represents the consumer group that consists of the post- baby boomers generation, born between 1965 and 1976.
The eXcels are estimated to include 46 million Americans, or 17% of the U. S. population, which makes them a relatively small group, spending $125 billion annually. eXcels are characterized as having a high attraction for technology and as being computer and Internet proficient, skeptical about advertising claims, fast spending, and more impressed by personal style than designer price tags. They can be divided into three groups including college and graduate students, young professionals, and married couples. Entrepreneurship is high among eXcels, and they tend to move easily from one employer to another.
Coffee bars, extreme sports, and adventure vacations have developed in answer to the desires of the eXcels. Examples for brands that are proficient in reaching the eXcels are Urban Outfitters, which assembled an array of hip and inexpensive fashions and allowed its customers to create a unique and cool wardrobe and Virgin Atlantic, which launched a campaign starring Austin Powers that was a hit among this group and helped to shape Virgin’s cool and hip image in their eyes. Generation Y represents a group of around 76 million members that were born between 1977 and 1994 and it accounts for a spending of around $100 billion annually. Generation Y” alludes to a succession from “Generation X”.
Members of Gen Y are primarily the offspring of the Baby Boomers. This generation generally represents an increase in births from the 1960s and 70s, not because of a significant increase in birthrates, but because the large cohort of baby boomers began to have children. Gen Y people want to work, but they don’t want work to be their life. Gen Y group is moving into the labor force during a time of major demographic change, as companies around the USA face an aging workforce.
Sixty-year-olds are working beside 20-year-olds. Freshly minted college graduates are overseeing employees old enough to be their parents. And new job entrants are changing careers faster than college students change their majors, creating frustration for employers struggling to retain and recruit talented high-performers. Unlike the generations that have gone before them, Gen Y has been pampered, nurtured and programmed with a wide variety of activities since they were toddlers, meaning they are both high-performance and high-maintenance.
As Gobe mentions in his book, Gen Y is heavily multitasked, “it’s not uncommon for them to be surfing the net while talking on the phone and listening to their favorite CD. ” Therefore, when trying to reach this generation, advertisers need to be brief, concise and not over-exposed cause mainstream products tend to be rejected by this group. Examples for brands that successfully reach Gen Y are dELiA’s, which jumped first into the internet swamp and earned Gen Y’s girls loyalty and Tommy Hilfiger, which uses celebrities and guerrilla marketing in order to reach this group.