Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Generation-spanning branding is no new thing

After having posted my last blog about the glaring differences in buying attitudes and practices from generation to generation, I found the below headline quite catching. The author suggests that with brands like Starbucks, Pinkberry, Ugg and Twilight we are entering a “new reality” in advertising and brand building.

One commenter suggested that most of the aforementioned brands really just denote social power which everyone tries to buy into regardless of age. Yes, some people buy into Starbucks for the assumed status it gives them over their 99-cent-convenience-store-coffee-drinker counterparts. I believe Starbucks really has a more alternative brand built around the music and art and environmental projects it supports, but those associations bring a sort of high-class cultured status to Starbucks image. I don’t believe it was Starbuck’s intent to market to everyone, but in marketing to what most everyone believes is status quo they have done so.

On another note, I’d like to argue that this is not at all a new reality. I’m pretty sure Hasbro played out the family game night campaign long before the advent of video games.  Since parents must support the brands their children buy into, toys and activities have always reached parents and kids alike.  After all, a child can say I want, I want, I want but it is up to the parents to literally buy into the brand. Take for instance, Disney. Who doesn’t want to go to the happiest place on earth? As much as kids love the characters and storylines, adults do too. For more than 20 years we’ve been hearing our favorite superstars tell us that what’s next for them is going to Disney!

Disney, Starbucks and the like haven’t had it easy. I have to agree it does take a great understanding of what your brand is and making it clear to your consumers in order to reach everyone. However, it is entirely important to note how building a status around your brand helps in reaching any generation. Also, new media or innovative advertising and branding hasn’t made this possible; we have established brands that appeal to the masses and have been for years.  If brands didn't appeal to multiple generations the reality would be that your target generation would take your brand to their grave... yikes.

What Generation Gap?

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