The agile next-generations mindset

In a previous blogpost, we described how the next generation grew up in a fragile world, in which the over-connectedness shaped them into down-to-earth realists that are aware of the fragility both inside and outside of their homes. This fragility has affected their take on life and the world, and also how they see brands. It has made them adopt an agile mindset.


Quote Boomers and early Gen Xers

With everything accessible anytime anywhere, the next generations grew up discovering a multitude of interests and got a taste of a broad variety of experiences. Unlike their parents, that grew up with a single (or at max a few) core passion(s) or interest(s) in mind, these youngsters are tasting their way through life by trying and experiencing a wide variety of things. And the unique mix of exploring micro-interests  ultimately defines their peculiar selves.

Woman blue car Life is a hackaton

Whilst exploring this multitude of micro-passions, the next generations are always on the look-out for having things done as easy and hassle-free as possible – “smart is the new cool”. They are a real short-cut generation that has developed a form of agility by finding and implementing life hacks. This explains the rise and success of fresh-food-delivery services (e.g., Hello Fresh), fashion subscription boxes (e.g., Stitch Fix), selfie-payment systems (e.g., Mastercard), no-cashier store check-outs (e.g., Amazon GO) and even audiobooks (e.g., Audible) amongst this generation. While the older generations would see these hacks as a cheat, these youngsters, born multi-taskers, don’t put a value judgement on how one gets information; they see the hacks as an optimization.

Quote Car ownership is not that relevant anymore

The hunt for a multi-mixture of micro-things is also visible when consuming brands, with the next generations in search for products that satisfy their individual micro-needs. They are unpredictable switchers that care for products that accentuate their individuality. They want agile products tailored to their needs, they look for customization and linger for micro-craftsmanship. This explains the success of personalized products, where brands (e.g., Custom Made Jeans) allow to tune a product to their unique selves.

But this agility is also reflected in their definition of ownership. Whilst their parents would proudly showcase their interest in music through a large CD shelf or vinyl collection, these youngsters feel less need to physically manifest ownership. Rather than owning, they value the flexibility of the collective. For them, it is not about the product, but rather about what you can do with it.

Yet in all this ‘microness’, the next generations are purpose seekers. While their parents were so focused on professional achievements and status-building, these youngsters are aiming for so-called life careerism: they want to make a career in every aspect of their lives. They want to be happy and feel accomplished in all aspects of life and are looking for macro-meaning. Brands need to add up to this meaningfulness and give back to the world they are taking from. To them, sustainability is the new norm. While their parents valued massive consumption, these youngsters define a product’s value not only based on what it can do today but also on what basis it has for the future.

The next generations’ agile mindset definitely results from the surrounding fragile reality. Today’s youth is more informed than ever, and they expect of brands to be on par with market trends. To be relevant for this generation, brands need to embrace organizational agility while at the same time contributing a bigger meaning. Yet this agility comes with a countereffect – but more on that in a following blogpost, or in our bookzine frAGILE: Is NextGen marketing more chemistry than science. Or replay the full webinar! )


Want to explore how your brand can connect with this woke consumer? Download our Gen Z Report or book a workshop with our resident expert Joeri van den Bergh!

Ready for the Zoomers - Gen Z report

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Gen Z are the digitally native generation: social-media-literate, always-on and hyper-informed. With many Gen Zers coming of age during the pandemic, the past two years put a mark on their lives and outlook on the future. In this report, we shed a light on what makes Gen Z different from the generations before them and what they expect from brands.

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