You have a product or service to sell. You might be the brand manager, the brand owner, the advertising agency, or the graphic designer. But after some strategic work, the brief lands on your desk. Highlighted in bright yellow is the target market. It’s aimed at Millennials.
Good grief. Now what? They don’t see the world like my generation did. They’re different. They’re so weird. They socialise virtually and know how to text and drive at the same time! They’re can’t be human. Panic sets in.
From Baby Boomers to Baby Busters, from Millennials to Generation Z to Generation Alpha. Underneath that manicured beard, behind that selfie-obsessed Instagram feed, people are still people. They will always need food, clothing and shelter. They will also always want to be loved, to laugh, to cry, not to mention get free stuff. And, they will also get older and see in the next generation of misunderstood freaks.
Technology is evolving at a much faster rate than we are as a species. Our options for communication are racing out of control. Our devices are faster, more connected, and now they’re on the cusp of becoming biologically integrated. Before you know it, you’ll know the recipe for Chicken a la King by just thinking about it. But that doesn’t change the desire for Chicken a la King in the first place.
What makes us human remains the same
We’ve always communicated. It used to be poster on a wall that people would actually read, then it became the spoken voice over wire-less transmission, soon it will be in your personalised augmented world through smart contact lenses for only you to see, hear or touch. No matter how technology changes the ways to connect with people, the things that make us human remain the same.
An old man walks slowly into town and goes into a tailor shop which he heard about through word of mouth. He would like a tweed blazer to be repaired. It has a small tear on the lapel from a ZCC badge that was placed there far too many times over the years. Across the street, a 19 year old girl walks into a tattoo parlour. She read a hundred reviews online before going to this particular one. She’s getting the finishing touches of that intricate geometric pattern based on the Fibonacci sequence that runs from her groin all the way and up to her neck, finally disappearing into her hairline.
These two people are 50 years and four generations apart. But they’re buying the same thing – esteem, pride, confidence, love and social security.
If you’re not selling health, food, water, sleep or sex, you better be selling love, respect, success or happiness. Seek out those universal truths, make them look pretty, make them fit all the formats of all available smart devices, make one live in a VR headset.
But more than anything, if you make sure it’s human, if you make sure what you’re saying or showing connects with those fundamental cornerstones of humanity, then your message will resonate – no matter how it’s sent out or who is receiving it.
Andrew Whitehouse is founding partner and ECD FoxP2 & FoxP2 Design. After an 18 month sabbatical of designing with technology and studying phase in New York, Andrew is now spear-heading a sharp new focus in the form of FoxP2 Design, a strategic design agency born out of the FoxP2 Group and a now a member of the Dentsu Aegis Network.