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Are You Ready For the iGeneration?

When it comes to engaging with the iGeneration, use authenticity over advertising.

Are You Ready For the iGeneration?

My earlier post described how millennials exercise tremendous influence over previous generations, especially baby boomers and Gen Xers. As you plan out your wealth management strategies, though, you should also reflect on how millennials have influenced the generations to come, especially the iGeneration, who was born between 1995 and 2002.

A recent article in the Atlantic details some dramatic news: The iGen is the first generation to enter adolescence in a world where more than 50% of the population owns a smartphone; none of them entered high school before the advent of the iPhone (three out of four own one); and many sleep with their smartphone in the bed next to them at night. 

The first of the iGen have already graduated college. They’re coalescing and mobilizing online like no previous generation. They rely on millennial-created platforms for their social lives. And, their consumer habits and preferences mirror the millennial generation to a “T.” 

One thing about the iGen in particular stands out: They value brand authenticity above all. The iGen doesn’t like advertising. They know when companies are trying to hit them with traditional marketing strategies and they tune out. They want authenticity instead. So, what’s the difference between advertising and authenticity? Well, it turns out that’s a pretty tough nut to crack. 

But there are some approaches that seem to work:

First, create engaging content. Talk to clients about what matters to them. It doesn’t even have to be in your area of expertise or industry. They want material that is fun, funny, interesting and valuable. Give it to them.

Second, take risks. As William Fayerweather noted in his first blog, millennials (and now the iGen) don’t subscribe to personal advisor loyalty. They’ll leave an advisor at the drop of a hat. They do their own research and like to make their own trades. Given this reality, the old playbook just won’t cut it. You’ve got to give the iGen a reason to take notice. Be willing to push the envelope, take a controversial position and put yourself out there in new ways.

Third, convey personality. We know we should deliver relevant information that’s actionable and insightful. But at the same time, the wealth management industry must address this generation on very different terms. Our industry is traditionally staid and conservative. Historically, wealth managers have tried to convey sobriety, trustworthiness, sophistication and competence. 

But now you’ve got to send real vibes into the marketplace. Who are you? What do you stand for? Are you a rebel? A dreamer? Are you quirky or cool? Are you edgy, innovative, creative? These are the sorts of characteristics more likely to generate excitement and engagement.

You don’t need to abandon your core — but give it some life.                                            

To read the other articles in our Millenial Wealth Insights series, see the related content below.

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