Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Are you hip enough to reach your next generation of bank customers?

Beloit College in Beloit, WI recently published its current Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural influences that shape the lives of students entering college this fall and will make up the class of 2014. The college began the Mindset List as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references. The List quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation.

This list will smack any bank marketer into customer reality and the differences among their varied audiences. Many bank marketing execs become complacent in addressing their audiences and often let their generational biases reign. While the Mindset List was meant to influence academia and how they engage with their current audience, it is also a good lesson for bank communicators to keep up with cultural experiences and trends. The List may even cause bank marketing departments to rethink how they communicate across generational lines. It could be a wake-up call to re-evaluate the methods and messages used to attract their newest customers.

If your bank is trying to communicate to the younger end of Gen Y (according to experts, Gen Y are those born 1980-1995), you’ll definitely want to put the 2014 Mindset List on your reading docket. By the way, the majority of the Class of 2014 was born in 1992.

Here are some insights into the Class of 2014 from the Mindset List:

- Since "digital" has always been in the cultural DNA, they've never written in cursive and with cell phones to tell them the time, there is no need for a wrist watch. Dirty Harry (who’s that?) is to them a great Hollywood director. The America they have inherited is one of soaring American trade and budget deficits; Russia has presumably never aimed nukes at the United States and

- China has always posed an economic threat.

- Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.

- “Go West, Young College Grad” has always implied “and don’t stop until you get to Asia…and learn Chinese along the way.”

- A quarter of the class has at least one immigrant parent, and the immigration debate is not a big priority.

- John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.

- They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

- DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.

- Leasing has always allowed the folks to upgrade their tastes in cars.

- Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.

- Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.

- They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.

- The first computer they probably touched was an Apple II; it is now in a museum.

- Czechoslovakia has never existed.

- Second-hand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.

- There have always been HIV positive athletes in the Olympics.

- American companies have always done business in Vietnam.

- The dominance of television news by the three networks passed while they were still in their cribs.

- Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.

- They may have assumed that parents’ complaints about Black Monday had to do with punk rockers from L.A., not Wall Street.

- Beethoven has always been a dog.

- They first met Michelangelo when he was just a computer virus.

- Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always sat on the Supreme Court.

- They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.

- The Post Office has always been going broke.

- The nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing.

- One way or another, “It’s the economy, stupid” and always has been.

The current Mindset List contains 75 items. Past years, from the Class of 2002 until the present, can also be accessed.