Multi-Generation Communication: We Expect Some Changes

As an office that spans Gen Z to Baby Boomer, we have become adept at communicating not only with one another but targeting specific audiences on behalf of our clients. Differences might be magnified by means of communication or pop culture references; however, when acknowledged they can also help to bring us together.

For example, over the past few months, one of our team members inaugurated a Friday Quadrant 4 question addressing everything from our most irrational fear to our favorite dessert and first concert. Needless to say, there were no age distinctions when it came to food or being scared. We could all bond over our fear of spiders and love for ice cream while the first concert definitely highlighted the age gap.

Boomers and Gen X used to be more partial to communicating via phone, email or dare we say in person back when we were in the office as opposed to email and text, the preferences of our Millennial and Gen Z staff members. Virtual communication has begun to smooth out the distinctions. Even the “Greatest Generation” has learned to Zoom. The biggest differentiators appear to be our social platforms of choice, with Facebook and Twitter skewing older while Snapchat and TikTok are used by younger generations and Instagram falls somewhere in between. We even see it with the introduction of social audio platforms like Clubhouse and Discord which appeal to different audiences.

As we slowly move back to the office this fall, the generational distinctions will no doubt crop up again. The Millennials we bemoaned when they entered the job market are now parents juggling the demands of kids and jobs. GenZ, who were just starting their work lives when the pandemic hit, may only know a virtual office experience. Their needs and expectations will be different. Although we all became accustomed to communicating over a screen, does that mean we all want to continue to do so when the world opens back up?

From a PR and marketing perspective, we have long become accustomed to crafting strategies that employ different types of media to reach our clients’ target audiences. For corporate clients, the emphasis is on more traditional media as they need coverage in trade and business press to advance their goals, most typically securing strategic partners or raising money. Our film, television and streaming clients are targeting Millennials, GenZ, and in some cases GenAlpha, which means a greater emphasis on social media, influencers, podcasts and online coverage — though they still care about television and radio.

Now that we are beginning to socialize after more than a year in hibernation, for some with multiple generations under one roof, it will be interesting to see how or if our means of communication with one another will change. Our move towards a hybrid work environment will require thinking how to create communications equity between those in and out of the office. We will continue to pay close attention to who is reading, watching and or listening to what in order to develop optimum strategies to serve our clients needs.

As storytellers, communication is at the heart of what we do and it is clear that we will be forging through some unknown territory, both personally and professionally, in the coming months. We’re excited about the future and embrace the idea of tackling the changes that come with it.

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