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It was a bustling scene to get into the “ATTRACTING GENERATION LUXUR-Y” at the Times Center Hall yesterday. After hearing the introductory remarks by the panelists I can see why.
Brands are (and should be if not already) clamoring to understand this burgeoning market segment. Scott Galloway, Founder of L2 Think Tank, set up the discussion by highlighting some fascinating tidbits. Generation Y (generally born after 1977) will eclipse the baby boomer generation next year. And did you know that Gen Y will make up one half of the working population by 2018? We’ve all noticed that this generation is “always on” but did you know that 80% sleep with their phone by their bed and one out of five check Facebook before even leaving the bed in the morning? It was these types of facts and figures that kept the audience tuned in and surely also excites marketers about the opportunities and challenges ahead with this demographic shift.
But what about luxury? Is luxury dead with generation Y? Not so according to Paul James, VP, Luxury Collection at Starwood. Formerly the luxury hotel segment was being driven by the 30-60 year old but that’s changing now as the generation Y comes into play; it’s all about creating relevance and activation for those that should be affluent as well as those that might be affluent. The idea is to keep an eye on all emerging segments.
In general, panelists commented that brands should be taking stock of their brand equity with Generation Y and start formulating plans to bridge gaps. For example, how will luxury watch makers connect with a generation prone to checking the time on their digital devices? Luxury brands have a tremendous opportunity to create connections with their products with compelling engagements while “mediocre brands” may be “taxed” with the added burden of extra advertising costs.
Final catchy comment from the session: To connect with Generation Y, marketers should ask themselves one simple question... what are you doing that is remarkable?
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The article is quite interesting and holds a unique perspective on Gen. Y staff, considering them to be the ‘luxury generation’. Likewise, Vineet Nayar, in his book “Employees First, Customers Second”, has also commented upon the distinctiveness of Gen. Y employees at his organization. He refers to them as the ‘transformers’ of any organization, with the power, knowledge and desire to change their work environment into a more supportive and participative one.