Thursday, July 27, 2017

55, unemployed and faking normal: A brilliant insight into the alternative reality of Boomers

For as long as I can remember I have been pleading with marketers to understand the complex reality of the older age segment - in particular the financial fragility of so many people in this age cohort.

Go to any ageing business conference and you will be inundated with the sugar coated stereotype of older people. Lots of walking hand in hand on the beach and living a nice comfortable life. This description of older people is reinforced by the daily ranting of the intergenerational 'fairness' pressure groups with their messages of resentment to the young about all the goodies being enjoyed by their parents.

As much as you tell people 'it aint like that' they keep serving up this false reality. Politicians and the media, who seem incapable of understanding that like any group of people, older ones have a wide range of wealth and income. Unlike the young, the chances of older people changing their financial position diminishing by the day. This is a far to complex message for those that want to condense the characteristics of a generation into a soundbite.

Elizabeth White might be the person to inject a huge dose of reality into this situation.

Look at the video, read her web site, follow her on Facebook and buy her book. 

The story that Elizabeth tells is not about the woes of a small sub-group of her age group. I cannot tell you the exact percentage that are in her position but it is significant and will increase in size for future age cohorts.

Don't dismiss her situation as 'an American' problem. Her situation is exactly the same in the UK and throughout much of Europe.

Elizabeth, I wish you well. Dick Stroud

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Adapting an organisation to digital is much like doing it to become age-neutral

McKinsey says:

Risk aversion, weak customer focus, and siloed mind-sets have long bedeviled organizations. In a ageing world, solving these cultural problems is no longer optional.

Well to be honest, this isn't what McKinsey said, but it might have. The comments were talking about the 'digital' not the 'ageing' world.

I never thought I would be saying that the barriers for organisations to embrace digital are exactly the same as those for becoming age-neutral, but I am.

McKinsey identifies that cultural and behavioural issues are the number one barrier. if you are wrestling with adapting your organisation to the reality of population ageing then it is worth reading this article. Dick Stroud

How brands can engage with all generations - not by reading this article

You see the title of an article about brands and multiple generations and feel impelled to read. What a disappointment. This article in Raconteur is a veritable feast of old chestnuts. Do you remember the  one about "old people are more loyal and don't change brands".

This reminds me of the type of article that I read when I first entered the ageing business. Dick Stroud