Jane Buckingham is a best-selling author and one of the most notable experts on marketing to Generations X, Y, and Z. Before founding Trendera, she founded Youth Intelligence, The Cassandra Report, and Trend Central, all of which she sold to CAA in 2003..
From an early age (her first book was published at 17), Jane hoped to provide a true "voice of the consumer," using groundbreaking research techniques to better understand the emerging generations.. In both Youth Intelligence and Trendera, she has built companies that help educate brands about the differences in the generations as the brands develop strategies and tactics.
Listen to the full interview of Adam Torres with Jane Buckingham on Mission Matters Marketing Podcast.
What mission matters to you?
Buckingham says her goal is to bridge gaps between generations; her primary focus involves understanding generational trends and conveying them to brands in ways they can understand and respond to, meeting audiences where they are.
How did you get started on your path?
At 16, she wrote the book Teens Speak Out, and started her first company, Youth Intelligence, a decade later at the age of 26. A member of Gen X herself, she says she realizes that the stereotypical perceptions people from generations have about one another have a tendency to increase the gaps between them. Seeing the need for insights that could bridge those gaps through understanding is what led to the launch of Trendera, her second company.
What trends are you noticing in the Gen Z and Millennial groups?
Buckingham says today's younger generations will fundamentally redefine and reinvent much of society. From how we work, shop,, relate and define ourselves. We are at a critical time when these generations will no longer accept the ways previous generations have done things..
As a result of the pandemic, for example, the younger generations will no longer accept jobs that demand in person 9-5 schedules, or the traditional work environment. Forget "work-life balance" it will be life first, work second.. She notes that the workplace is shifting rapidly, and in the next five years, workers will dominate society. Intelligent business leaders will hire people from remote areas and spend less on their infrastructure as a result, she says.
Buckingham also talks about the importance of "Mood Marketing" how brands, entertainment companies and others will look to provide products and services based on what mood we want, rather than a product benefit. She points to current platforms like Spotify or Netflix, which offers song-streaming based on mood; similarly, she says, other products and services will focus on mood-specific offerings.
Tell us more about Trendera.
In the 1990s, when she started Youth Intelligence, the idea of Trend Forecasting was barely understood, and Buckingham says clients wanted to know the hottest colors, actors or products, yet as the idea of trends, trendsetters and influencers have become more widespread and everything can be found online, companies need to understand the 'why' of a trend even more.. Today, people have more access to information, with people getting most of their answers from Google and other search engines. Seeing this shift, Trendera looks to provide more actionable advice, context and understanding with it becoming even more important for older generations to try to understand and connect with upcoming generations instead of letting preconceptions and stereotypes drive them apart. Today, when a brand is trying to find out why it isn't performing well, Trendera gathers information through thousands of in person interviews, online surveys, digital diaries and other methods to let them know what consumers think and how they will behave.
Tell us how brands receive and implement information like that.
Since the world is evolving so quickly, Trendera's reports are updated often to stay ahead of the curve on rapidly developing trends. Last year, for instance, she notes that the Trendera survey was done ten times to keep tabs on extreme trend fluctuations due to the pandemic.
What's next for you? What's next for Trendera?
Buckingham says she'd love to continue offering Trendera's insights and predictions as long as she feels she and her team can authentically represent what young people are thinking. Trendera's free newsletters also share information about the latest trends Trendera has uncovered through its research. To sign up for the newsletter or learn more about Trendera, visit www.trendera.com.
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