Understanding Generations Connected

If you’ve ever wondered why you think or act a certain way, take a second to find out where you fall in terms of generations. Believe it or not, this affects everything.

Our public relations team recently attended a media roundtable hosted by the local chapters of FPRA and PRSA where Jenny Schmitt, president of communications strategy firm CloudSpark, spoke about generational differences. She defined a generation as a group of people born within a 20-year time span who share a common location in history/time, the same beliefs and behaviors. This is not to say that everyone in a given age group is exactly the same, but there are certain shared characteristics based on shared experiences. Here are some tidbits, courtesy of Jenny (a Gen Xer), to help you get an idea of each generation’s attributes:

Civics: Ages 67+

  • Masters of the “American Dream”
  • Turn offs: Vulgarity
  • Work ethic: Dedicated
  • Need: Stability

Baby Boomers: Ages 48-66

  • Rule breakers who love rules (love/hate relationship with authority)
  • Turn offs: Political incorrectness
  • Work ethic: Driven
  • Need: Personal challenge

Generation X: Ages 33-47

  • The forgotten generation
  • Turn offs: Cliché/hyped-up marketing
  • Work ethic: Balanced
  • Need: Immediate feedback

Generation Y/Millennials: Ages 13-32

  • Traditional with a modern twist
  • Turn offs: Waiting
  • Work ethic: Determined
  • Need: Structure

The difference among generations makes communication, and the matter in which it is conducted, a vital detail. Something as simple as a handwritten thank-you note, for example, can go a long way to impress civics and baby boomers. On the other hand, an e-card or e-vite would work well with Gen Xers and Millennials, who are more likely to engage online. In the public relations profession, we are constantly connecting with others – whether it’s a reporter, a client or one of our colleagues. When communicating, a more personalized approach will take you a lot further than hitting everyone with one mass message.

Wendy Gustama, a Millennial, is the newest member of the Linda Costa Communications Group team and likes working with different generations.


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