How do you see yourself? Where do you self-identify? More than likely, it’s in someone else’s generation.
The Pew Research Center reports that “despite the size and influence of the millennial generation, most of those in this age cohort do not identify with the term millennial.”
This is nothing new. According to the same report, the oldest living generation of Americans is the most likely to resist its label.
In fact, the majority of most generations (besides the baby boomers and the “Silent Generation” who seem to enjoy and even embrace their labels—how typical) would rather identify with the generation either just before or immediately following their own. It’s a classic case of wanting something you can’t have—“the grass is always greener” syndrome.
Perhaps this comes from the negative connotations attached to each generation. Terms like “self-absorbed,” “irresponsible,” and “unpatriotic” have long been associated with the millennial generation, and it’s becoming difficult to fight the stigma. Millennials are now accepting the stereotypes of their own generation while trying to associate themselves with another.
These are statistics that marketers would be wise to take into consideration when developing ad campaigns aimed at millennials. It’s time for brands to take the lead in abolishing stigmas associated with generational pessimism.
With all of the negativity in the world, I don’t see a problem in focusing on the positive aspects of each generation (presuming you can find them). We see “embrace your body” campaigns from companies like Dove and Secret so often these days they are becoming commonplace. Could it be time for an “embrace your generation” behavior change campaign?