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In this issue:

Understand... the most powerful force in marketing today the 136 million Americans between the ages of 9 and 41 who make up the Connected Generation. Explore... the 10 consumer cravings that will generate big revenues and profits for the companies that know how to satisfy them. Build... compelling brands by giving customers personal recognition, providing a sense of adventure, and helping people to connect with each other. Appeal... to the Connected Generation by using clever designs, giving customers fewer choices, using wordof-mouth advertising, and letting people collaborate. Gain... customer loyalty by using brand theater, fulfilling your customers needs for spirituality, and helping people give back to the community.
Volume 15, No. 9 (2 sections). Section 2, September 2006. 2006 Audio-Tech Business Book Summaries 15-18. No part of this publication may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. To order additional copies of this summary, reference Catalog #9062.

Mind Your X's and Y's


Satisfying the 10 Cravings of a New Generation of Consumers
by Lisa Johnson
A summary of the original text.

THE RISE OF THE CONNECTED GENERATION Today more than ever, businesses need to understand how to reach the customers who have grown up in the Internet era. Generation X, which consists of people born between 1965 and 1979, and Generation Y, whose members were born between 1980 and 1997, together make up the most powerful force in marketing today: the "Connected Generation." We call them the Connected Generation for three reasons: 1. They are connected to technology 24/7. 2. They are connected to the people in their life in tight circles and large networks of loose connections. 3. They are seeking a powerful interactive

connection with brands they love.

the

The recent technologies that this generation has embraced are radically changing the way today's consumers think not just about what they buy but how they buy, how they act and react, and which products and services they find compelling. This shift has left thousands of companies scrambling to keep up. In five years, this Connected Generation will render many traditional business and marketing practices obsolete. In the next 10 years, most members of Generation X will turn 40. Historically, these are the peak earning and spending years. They'll be earning more than ever before, and they'll spend their money on their kids, spouses, and aging parents, as well as themselves.

At the same time, Generation Y, despite its youth, is proving to be a crucial demographic, based on its large numbers and proven brand loyalty. According to a recent study published in Harvard Business Review, this younger generation of consumers now wields the ability to make or break new brand-name products only a few months after they hit the market, thanks to the Internet and other information technologies that connect them. Unfortunately, the Connected Generation is not easy to reach. Generation X is fragmented, because it has an antagonistic relationship with the media and with overt brand labeling. Inundated with hundreds of thousands of advertisements over the years, Gen X has been called cynical, independent-minded, and difficult to reach with products and services. Generation Y, on the other hand, embraces the marketing process but presents a different, yet equally important, challenge: They have been studied only as teenagers, so marketers understand their attitudes and behaviors only through a very small brand spectrum. They have no idea how this generation will interact with a range of high-end products, such as real estate or insurance. However, we can anticipate what they will buy by understanding 10 consumer cravings of the Connected Generation. These are: 1. Shine the spotlight: Extreme personalization gives marketing a new face. 2. Raise my pulse: Adventure takes its place as the new social currency. 3. Make loose connections: People redefine the meaning of "families" and social networks. 4. Give me brand candy: Everyday objects get sharp, intuitive design. 5. Sift through the clutter: Editors and filters gain new prominence. 6. Keep it underground: The rejection of push advertising and the rise of peer-to-peer networks. 7. Build it together: Connected citizens explore their creative power and influence change. 8. Bring it to life: Orchestrating everyday activities to deliver a sense of theater. 9. Go inward: Spiritual hunger and modern media find common ground. 10. Give back: Redefining volunteerism and community contributions.
In order to understand the 10 consumer cravings that are driving this group, it's important to recognize the five essential criteria that underlie all of the cravings. They are: 1. Experience. Today's consumers want to get out there and test personal limits. They want to feel alive and shake up a stale routine.

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2. Transparency. The Connected Generation wants and knows how to get full disclosure. The "push" model of marketing will no longer work. 3. Reinvention. The X and Y generations demand what's new, better, faster, and more efficient. If something doesn't work, they'll find something else that does. 4. Connection. The new market runs on cooperation. The hottest sites on the Internet, such as MySpace, eBay, and Craigslist, connect people to one another. 5. Expression. People are searching for new ways to define and express themselves.

Let's examine each of the 10 market cravings, and define the underlying reasons that drive them.

1. SHINE

THE

SPOTLIGHT

The Connected Generation is eager for personal recognition. The marketplace is waking up to an unprecedented national obsession, in which ordinary citizens desperately want to achieve celebrity. Whether it's singing on American Idol, writing a popular blog, or getting their videos played on Current TV, this generation longs to be recognized for who they are and what they can do. Acknowledging this trend, companies are waking up to the power of personalization and highly engaging tools that celebrate the individual's talents and potential. Personalized license plates and mailing labels were just a hint of what's coming. Today, a whole slew of products can put the customer at the center of the action. For example, a customer can order a bag of his favorite color of M&Ms, and have them printed with two lines of text. Other businesses will customize movie posters, comic books, or romance novels around the individual. What this means is that customers are leaving the audience and taking the stage, and brands that tap into this power with customized efforts will enjoy a whole new level of brand loyalty. There are seven reasons for this phenomenon: First, it's human nature to crave attention. Everyone wants to be recognized and celebrated. Second, they've seen what's possible. Everyone knows the almost mythical stories by now of the nerdy guy who makes billions, the obscure college student who invents MySpace, or the unknown who gains national fame on a reality TV show. And they all have new venues with which to launch their own personality into the public eye. Third, there's a sense of entitlement. Members of the Connected Generation believe they deserve their moment in the spotlight. They don't have the patience to build something slowly and methodically. They want it now.
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Fourth, every industry has a celebrity culture. From cooking to plastic surgery to landscape architects, people find famous gurus everywhere they look. This holds out the possibility that they, too, may find the spotlight through an obscure skill. Fifth, people want to become famous in familiar formats. In the past, only the wealthy got their names out there. Today the criteria for celebrity are random, quirky, and wide open. Consider Jared the Subway guy, who became famous for losing weight by eating Subway sandwiches. Sixth, youthful celebrities wield power. With so many kids in the spotlight, children begin dreaming about their own celebrity sooner and with greater specificity. By the time they have the tools, they're ready with a plan. Moreover, parents, teachers, and coaches are all there to give them a head start. Seventh, they want promotion without the appearance of self-promotion. There's a fine line between self-promotion and having others celebrate your contribution. The Connected Generation craves the spotlight, but frowns on shameless self-promotion. Currency comes from recognition by others.

To tap into these basic needs and drives, begin by dividing your customers into tiers. Your top tier should include people who will be most passionate about your brand. These highly influential customers are worth more than all the others in your market. Next, think about how to reward the top tier. Don't limit yourself to products or discounts. You can also provide full access to inside information or resources, create special events, and ask for feedback on early product design. Also, look for ways to connect your top-tier members. For example, a group of BMW motorcycle enthusiasts created a club that offers roadside assistance to BMW drivers. BMW gave those customers a way to contact each other, help each other, and share stories.

2. RAISE MY PULSE
In the past few decades, the bar for what a brand must deliver to customers has been gradually rising. The Connected Generation is demanding not just products or even customer service, but compelling, exciting, interactive experiences. There is a new premium being placed on venturing into the world, collecting new adventures, and pushing personal limits. Ten years ago, an expensive new car or gadget was often the preferred status symbol; today, the Connected Generation turns to activities like international travel, extreme sports, and exotic hobbies. Adventure does not necessarily mean doing something daring, like skydiving. But it does mean breaking away from the realm of everyday experience. As a result, unusual, learning-based adventure opportunities are cropping up across the nation. Kids are losing interest in the traditional summer camps in favor of rock star camp or robotics camp. Restaurant customers can have a meal while taking sushi-making lessons. And home improvement stores are offering do-it-yourself workshops for women.
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In short, these consumers don't want a predictable routine they want to disrupt the routine with adventure. They want to engage their senses and emotions and have experiences they can share with family and friends. Where did this sudden hunger for experience come from? Why is everyone so eager to get out and explore? Here are eight reasons that explain why people increasingly crave adventure: First, people are bored. The Connected Generation is constantly flooded with information, images, and words, but with very little first-hand experience. This can spark a desire to jump into the center of the action. Second, there are great new creative tools available today. New technology has made it possible to become creators instead of observers. From fantasy football teams to digital video, people have the tools to create their own content. Third, behind-the-scenes access has whet their appetites. Reality TV, the Internet, and other media have erased much of the mystery behind every profession, from celebrity chefs to film directors. People can now see how something works, and envision themselves doing a better job at it. Fourth, learning has become the ultimate status symbol. People crave first-hand learning that engages all five senses. Saturday afternoons are no longer spent watching TV or mowing the lawn. There's an exciting line-up of workshops available, from creating digital family albums at the local camera shop to cooking classes at the gourmet grocery store. Fifth, external experiences trigger internal transformations. People are looking for a catalyst to give their lives a new direction. Changing careers, climbing a mountain, writing a book all these pursuits breed confidence and spur people on to new actions. Sixth, experiences are the new social currency. People like to share personal stories that highlight their own courage, creativity, and talent. This can be seen in the proliferation of blogs on the Internet. Seventh, the Internet makes everyone aware of these possibilities. Adventurous and offbeat exploits are now mainstream in all media, including the Internet. The constant exposure to wild journeys and experiences brings everything within the realm of the possible. Eighth, packaged adventures make it accessible. Even the most exotic kinds of adventure are now ready-made. Organizations exist to package and streamline the experience, whether it's kayaking among the killer whales or climbing Mount Everest. From adventure travel to exciting new classes, it has never been so easy for each person to do whatever it takes to raise his or her pulse.

To tap into this craving, create interactive test-drives so people can try out new experiences. A company that does this is VocationVacations, a business that gives people the opportunity to experience their dream jobs while on vacation. VocationVacations has packaged more than 200 vacations around 82 vocations, from
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pastry chef to golf pro to fashion designer to horse trainer. This allows people to experience their ultimate career ambitions without having to quit their day jobs or finance a new business. Another way to raise people's pulses is to think about what you want people to feel when they experience your brand. Make a list of the emotions you seek to evoke, and imagine all the environments where people tend to experience those feelings. From those emotions, you can create the kind of adventure stories that will get your message across. Make a list of five things your customers like to do for adventure, and link each one with your brand to create an adventure experience.

3. MAKE LOOSE CONNECTIONS


The Connected Generation is changing the nature of its social structures. People are increasingly seeking close friendships and forming tightly-knit, yet non-traditional communities that have been described as circles of peers or tribes. They are moving away from traditional associations like the Elks and the Lions in favor of loose connections that more accurately reflect their interests, lifestyles, and general lack of time. The new shape of social interaction demands less commitment and is more focused on specific goals. The Connected Generation is creating loose connections around brands, activities, and specific passions and interests. With traditional membership organizations on the decline, people are not just buying brands. They are interacting with them more deeply, and informally joining them as members of a new type of community structure. Let's examine seven reasons why this craving has emerged: First, new forms of media make new social structures possible. While older generations might read the newspaper or watch a morning news show while eating breakfast, younger generations will start the day by checking into sites such as MySpace or Friendster. Its how they feel connected and grounded for the day. Second, real life can be stranger than fiction. The new generation hungers for unscripted access to other people's lives. Online communities let people watch the drama of others' lives unfold. Third, new ways are emerging for existing circles to communicate. Online communities provide a looser, more free-form way to stay involved in one another's lives. Geography no longer matters to the cohesion of a group. Fourth, people want private space. A member of Generation X might tell a coworker about going for drinks at a nightclub, but may be less likely to explain the 30 minutes he spent chatting online about a new video game. It feels special, exclusive, and fun to keep it private. Fifth, people need flexibility. The membership in online communities is fluid. People move in and out through the days, weeks, and months, depending on their needs and desires. They crave community, but value the lack of commitment. The
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sites are on 24 hours a day, and the consumer decides when to participate. Sixth, the Internet allows for convenient centers of influence. Facebook and other virtual communities are now the preferred venue for everything from student council campaigns to politics. Seventh, there are no barriers. The Connected Generation has a much higher level of trust for strangers and feels little fear about meeting people online. In fact, they feel the layers of technology give them more control.

To leverage this craving, start by linking like-minded people with similar goals and interests. MySpace lets users search for people by interests. Traditional businesses can use the same approach. A pet food manufacturer can use its Web site to help owners of various types of pets, from ferrets to hamsters to cockatiels, find each other, share advice, and exchange photos of their pets. It's essential to give people the freedom to express themselves in their own way. Don't add unnecessary rules or try to stay in control of the community. Let it evolve naturally. Also, give people insider peeks and perks. If you create an online community around your brand, give them the first opportunity to preview new products online and to sample them first-hand.

4. GIVE ME BRAND CANDY


Design has become a core competency for being in business, as the Apple iPod and the Motorola Razr phone have demonstrated. More than 50 million iPods have been sold, and the Razr met its lifetime sales projections in its first three months on the market. Design makes people want products. It creates an emotional and physical connection. Everyday objects are being redesigned to give them more functionality and make them more pleasing to look at and use. Design includes not just the product itself, but the entire experience. For example, when people speak of their iPods, they aren't just talking about the music player. They're talking about the iTunes Music Store, the iTunes system, and the iPod software that ties it all together. Design-driven strategies are helping companies connect with customers at a deeper level. Here are seven reasons why design is so important in addressing the Connected Generation: First, design makes life easier. It makes technology more usable and intuitive. It simplifies products, spaces, and experiences. Second, design is a key differentiator in a sea of choice. Design is often the only way to stand out in the crowd of look-alike products that jam the shelves. Loyal fans quickly spread the word.
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Third, people want to feel that they are in good hands. Nearly half of all respondents in a study done by the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab based the credibility of Web sites on their design appeal. Fourth, good design makes a product's use transparent. Good design helps a person immediately figure out how to use its full capacity. Fifth, design adds beauty to everyday life. It's no longer enough to offer a good product. Design today must create a detailed experience that feels memorable from start to finish. Sixth, design helps consumers evaluate quality. It's a shorthand form of communication. The fit and finish the elegance of a design sends a clear message that quality lies within. Seventh, design choices shape personal identity. People define themselves in part through aesthetic choices and symbols. Clothes, cars, shoes, jewelry, and furniture all of these possessions communicate essentials of identity.

To take advantage of this craving for design, make sure that your organizations leaders and decision makers actually experience the brand. For example, an interesting thing happened recently when the chief marketing officer for Philips Semiconductors which makes a range of audiovisual products gave each member of the board of directors a collection of Philips products to try out over the weekend. On Monday morning, many of Philips' leaders had to confess that they could not work some of their own products. It's also important to get your team out of the office and into the homes of your users. Watching users in real-world situations sparks ideas that would never come to life if the designers simply sat in their cubicles.

5. SIFT THROUGH

THE

CLUTTER

In a world that gives consumers more choices than ever, it's becoming harder than ever to decide among all the options. That's why some successful businesses are now being built around giving customers fewer choices. Consider "roll:" bike stores. Entrepreneur Stuart Hunter founded the chain of bicycle retail shops when he tried to buy a bike and felt bewildered by all the choices he encountered at traditional stores, which typically stock at least 100 models. In a roll: store, there are only four bike categories divided by lifestyle: road, mountain, trail, and family. In total, the shops carry 18 product styles, and each bike has a clear difference, such as best in class or best in value. Hunter sifted through the best products each bicycle brand has to offer and carries the top picks. This is a technique he learned when he worked with Circuit City, overhauling the digital camera department and reducing the offerings from 24 cameras to six. The result? Circuit City reported higher sales volumes with the six carefully selected
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cameras than they had with 24. This is when Hunter first realized the power of editing in action. Because choices can lead to confusion and frustration, consumers rely on editors and filters to sift through all the raw data and identify the best selections. Savvy brands are learning to build editing mechanisms into their brands, products, and Web sites. There are six reasons that underlie this craving for filters and editors: First, people want a range of choices to meet their needs and match their sensibilities. Faced with too many possibilities, people become overwhelmed. They simply want the best. Second, no one has the time or know-how to undertake due diligence. Anyone can go online and research anything, from laptop computers to energy drinks. But that can quickly become a daunting task. Relieving customers of that burden can drive them to your brand. Third, the Connected Generation wants to make the right choice with confidence and avoid expensive, time-consuming mistakes. Selecting from a trusted list of top picks makes life simpler. Someone else has already done the time-consuming work and narrowed the options, leaving the consumer free to follow his own intuition. Fourth, technology makes editing easier. From blogs to collaborative filtering to RSS feeds, it's simpler than ever to do the editing for the customer. Fifth, people long for a sense of community. Editing defines a position, a point of view, and communicates a sense of style. This creates loyalty and passion. Communities develop around trusted filters. Sixth, personal growth is built into filtered experiences. Ongoing relationships with filters require that the entire community take the journey together. Personal development and discovery keep the experience fresh, and ensure that editors and their followers evolve over time.

To apply the lessons from this consumer craving to your business, begin by taking a position. Decide who will be your target customer. At roll: bike shops, its the recreational cyclist, not the hard-core athlete who is training for an Ironman triathlon. Next, provide context. Hunters concept would have fallen flat if he had simply cut 290 of the 300 possible models and opened a store with only 10 bicycle models. There has to be context and purpose to the filtering. Roll: works because its attached to four lifestyles: road, family, mountain, and trail. All of the bikes and accessories are chosen because they will help customers experience these four styles with fun, ease, and value. In your own business, evaluate your offerings by asking two questions: 1. If you had to decrease your inventory by 75 percent, what criteria would you use to edit the mix, and what products and services would be left in your lineup?
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2. How could you edit and filter all of the content on your Web site so that customers could make simpler and faster buying decisions?

6. KEEP IT UNDERGROUND
The Connected Generation has grown up saturated by marketing and advertising. They're suspicious of ordinary "push" campaigns and crave integrated, contextual offerings that emerge from trusted friends and members of their own networks. As Malcolm Gladwell explained in The Tipping Point, today's consumers follow "The Law of the Few" a select group of people discover something new, from shoes to bands to politics, and translate it in a way that becomes acceptable to the mainstream. To understand this craving, consider the following seven insights: First, people are sick and tired of advertising. Peer-to-peer and word of mouth are the future. People are more interested in learning about products they've heard about from other people than those they see on television. Second, the Connected Generation craves authentic interactions. The most effective brands simply capture what's real and authentic about the product or service and present it in a straight-up manner. Third, there is power in the act of discovery. People dont want to be told whats cool. They want to feel as if they've stumbled upon your brand by themselves, and they want to share it with their networks. Fourth, the new consumers want to embrace roles as independent brand owners. When customers are thrilled about their experiences with your product or service, they can become outspoken evangelists for your company. Fifth, people want respect. The Connected Generation responds to honesty. They want to be treated as peers, not targets. Sixth, the model for creating awareness has rotated 180 degrees. "Big, loud, and often" used to be the formula for advertising success. Today it's better to quietly seed a group of influencers and have them naturally spread the word. Seventh, today's customers are smart and in control. Your messages will be effective only if you stay true to the underground culture. Ten years ago, McDonalds alienated the skateboarding community by using unknown athletes performing skate tricks that true enthusiasts knew were impossible. The question is no longer, "What can we sell to the consumer?" but "What can we learn from the consumer about his or her needs, and how can we help to satisfy those needs?"

In order to thrive in the underground, you must have a great product. In today's vast marketplace, you have to really differentiate your brand with excellent products to maintain the high standards of the underground. You also need to care about your customers' opinions and what's important to them. To do this, get to know the most powerful underground community that uses, or could
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use, your brand. For Vespa, it was fashion leaders and designers. BMW turned to filmmakers, and Toyota Scion targeted urban trendsetters. Select a group that represents your brand's core. Then leave your desk and go for a walk, a drive, or a subway ride. Visit the places where your brand is used, and build a portfolio of underground spaces and communities that deserve more of your attention.

7. BUILD IT TOGETHER
There are currently 1 billion people connecting online around the world. With so many people conducting large portions of their lives online, they've begun to tap the power of Web-based networks. The most popular sites are now based on engagement and user-driven activities, from posting profiles on MySpace, to buying and selling on eBay, to jointly editing an encyclopedia entry on Wikipedia. There are at least 10 million blogs read by 32 million Americans. People will increasingly use the Internet to connect with each other in order to build everything from social networks to political campaigns to shopping centers. That's why it's important to understand six reasons behind this craving: First, customers, technology, and broadband have evolved. The Web has advanced to the point that it's easy for people to participate in almost any effort. With today's savvy citizens and supercharged computers, the Net can connect millions like no other medium. Second, the Connected Generation is comfortable with online strangers. They are now at ease mingling with, buying products from, and even dating people they meet online. Third, customers have increased access to information. With this new knowledge, they've become co-creators and partners, not just consumers. If you don't let people help you build your product, they'll go somewhere where they can. Fourth, consumers will create content without reward. From Amazon's reading lists for fourth-graders to Wikipedias entries on stem cells, online content is being created daily by millions of people who happily participate in the new social economy without incentive. Fifth, everyone is accountable. Consumers can easily sniff out fake blogs and products that don't stand up to claims. They'll hold your products and your advertising to a new standard. Sixth, there's a new form of volunteering and community contribution. In the Connected Generation, giving opinions on a car or toaster, or reviewing a movie or hotel, is a new form of volunteerism and a recognized way to give back to the community.

To take advantage of this craving, work to accommodate a varied group of consumers, from the active to the passive. Think of ways to expand the opportunities for each
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group of consumers to get more involved in your brand. Keep in mind that customers are not interested in helping just any brand that comes along. The most active participants are invested in the outcome because it will affect their lives in some tangible way. What is motivating your current brand community to participate actively with your company? What can you do to increase their participation? Also, what would it look like if your company developed a formal process for reaching out to customers and integrating their intellectual capital? Blogs, wikis, and peer reviews provide ways for your customers to support and swap ideas about your products. Finally, think about a major challenge that your brand is facing that could benefit from the input and ideas of your customers. Many members of the Connected Generation are eager to solve problems for companies and for the community.

8. BRING IT

TO

LIFE

To reach the Connected Generation, companies can't just sell products and services. Instead, they must offer experiences in the form of brand theater. Brand theater is popping up in virtually every industry, from beverages to designer fashions, as companies deliver compelling and entertaining experiences. Starbucks used brand theater to transform the act of drinking coffee into a lifestyle statement. The company elevates an everyday activity to a deeply textured experience, with exotic drink names, comfortable furniture, and thought-provoking comments on the cups. To understand this craving, let's examine the seven reasons that underlie it: First, consumers have abundant choices. Customers have so much choice that they're starting to pick products and develop loyalty not just based on service, price, and quality, but on the entire buying experience. Second, pioneers have raised the bar for everyone. Early leaders such as Disney have raised the brand experience stakes. Innovators in all industries are finding creative ways to design compelling experiences, and customers have come to expect it. Third, price is not the only factor. Many brands are as lean as they can get from cost-cutting efforts. They are focusing on brand theater as a way to differentiate themselves. Fourth, people are turning to brands for richer emotional experiences. Brand theater is where goods and services intersect with emotions. Refrigerators may be a boring category. Sub-Zero infuses the category with fresh life. Fifth, people want royal treatment and exclusive privileges. Consumers want to feel important. They want to feel that the brand has anticipated their needs, solved their problems, and attended to their every whim.
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Sixth, consumers appreciate the brands that go the extra mile. When companies step up the pace of innovation and stand out by creating a truly differentiated experience strategy, they quickly attract a loyal following. Seventh, the Connected Generation responds to the magnetic pull of brand theater. Forum Research found that 80 percent of customers who switched suppliers expressed satisfaction with their previous vendor. They left because they could get the same service with exciting extras.

Brand theater takes the customer deeper into the experience. Pottery Barn is an excellent example of how this works, with its room vignettes that encourage people to purchase an entire 10 square feet of creatively coordinated furniture and accessories. At the Apple Genius Bar within the Apple retail store, perplexed customers can pull up a stool and talk to friendly computer experts who can solve their problems. This faceto-face support is a critical differentiator between the Apple and Windows worlds. Dell and Hewlett-Packard, the dominant Windows PC manufacturers, charge $35 for telephone tech support after a warranty has expired. But problem solving with an in-store Apple Genius is free. Identify the stale categories in your customers' lives and consider how you could go deeper into the experience you are currently creating. Visit three brands in different industries and make note of all the ways they deliver a sense of theater. Then compare it to your own brands customer experience. Shop your own stores, order something from your company's catalogue, or call your brand's customer service department. Use the fresh inspiration you've gained from shopping in other industries to imagine five changes that will enhance your brand experience for customers.

9. GO INWARD
Spirituality is becoming a dominant value among today's consumers. In fact, the number of people in the U.S. who say they prayed to God during the previous week grew to 83 percent in 2004, up from 77 percent five years earlier, according to the Barna Research Group. Spirituality is particularly important to young Americans. According to a new study conducted by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute, four out of five college students say that they have an interest in spirituality. Three-fourths of the freshmen at 236 colleges surveyed say they are searching for meaning or purpose in life. More than three-quarters say they believe in God, and more than 80 percent attended religious services. Entertainment and media with spiritual themes are thriving. Spirituality is the fastest growing book category in the country. Television shows about God are proliferating. Christian music sales now exceed those of classical, jazz, and new age music combined. More and more, the Connected Generation is embracing non-traditional spirituality and faith-based communities for the following six reasons:
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First, many formal church-based religious organizations are designed for families and teenagers, not young adults. That's why the Connected Generation is turning to non-traditional gathering places and creating its own faith-based communities. Second, faith-based offerings have a dated feel to the new generation. The traditional trappings of religion don't resonate with this group. Just as they design and control the rest of their lives, they want to do the same with their spirituality. Third, this raises the possibility of less formal venues for faith-based activities. According to a recent survey, many 18-to-25-year-olds have highly informal, communal, or personal ways to express their faith, such as praying before meals, talking with friends about religion and spirituality, and reading religious books and magazines. This group finds spirituality in all aspects of life. Fourth, mainstream media shies away from spiritual content. Despite the data showing that the Connected Generation wants spirituality, traditional companies seem to fear it. This creates a vacuum that cries out for innovation. Fifth, people are seeking their own favorite blend. They tend to make custom blends of multiple-faith beliefs and religious practices. Their core values are a mosaic of feelings, facts, principles, and experiences. Their lifestyles represent an eclectic combination of traditional and alternative activities. Sixth, traditional institutions' efforts to reach this generation have been more style than substance. Many churches that attempt to be hip wind up alienating this group with light shows and loud music. The Connected Generation is looking for something much deeper.

The first place to begin in meeting this craving is to conduct a social and moral inventory of your company. What is your brand communicating through its actions and words to the marketplace? Talk to members of your brand community to learn what message is really being transmitted. Begin to explore spiritual themes in your creative messaging. Examine brands that you feel are successful in incorporating spirituality in their message, and analyze how they do it through emotion, storyline, and context. Finally, envision a new product, service, or media offering that would powerfully attract and meet the needs of today's spiritually hungry generation.

10. GIVE BACK


A new spirit of volunteerism is emerging, led by the Connected Generation, which has different ideas about how to give back. In 2004, 65 million people performed volunteer work, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In many cases, what motivates people under 40 to give back is very different from what inspired Baby Boomers. Today's volunteers want to give their time and talent instead of just writing a check. Members of Generation X are demanding more information before providing a cash
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gift. They tend to distrust large organizations. They have shifted the model toward grass roots, hands-on, episodic volunteering. Meanwhile, with a passion for social justice and a burning desire to make a difference, Generation Y is donating more of its time to charitable causes than perhaps any other generation in history. The Connected Generation embraces organizations and missions that are close to their hearts and that provide highly interactive ways to participate. That attitude is influencing their career choices and shaping how they spend their down time and vacations. For example, many college students spent their spring break helping victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Tapping into this craving requires an understanding of eight factors that motivate the Connected Generation to give back: First, they want a chance to make a difference. The Connected Generation has a growing desire to use their lives for the greater good. Globally aware and technologically fluent, they find new ways to make contributing more tangible and more fun. Second, they have a heightened awareness of the world. With always-on media at their fingertips, they can't ignore how much need exists in the world. This generation is hyper-aware of everything from social justice to natural disasters. Sitting back comfortably with their material blessings is not an option. Third, people they admire are making a difference. Giving back is more highprofile than ever. Celebrities of all sorts are putting social contributions in the spotlight. Fourth, they see a chance to lead and to step into more skilled positions. By volunteering, they can gain professional skills, enhance their rsums and prepare for new careers. Fifth, they are looking for meaningful adventure. This generation believes that if you give your time and effort in a selfless way, not only will you make a difference, but you will return from the journey changed in some important way. Sixth, they have more free time and resources to give. By marrying and having children later in life, the Connected Generation enjoys more opportunity to volunteer than previous generations. Seventh, they are desperate to find meaning before transitions such as graduate school or a new career. More and more, the Connected Generation is taking time off before going on to graduate school or to their first jobs. In many cases that so-called "gap year" is spent volunteering, often in an exotic foreign locale. Eighth, they hope to find their true calling. There's a growing hunger among this generation to identify their unique role in this world and to make life-altering contributions. They will continue to find fresh ways to fulfill that vision.

To tap into this deep craving, identify the cause that stirs your own staff and customers. This can help you to vault ahead of the competition, especially when customers
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are willing to pay more or travel farther to a store because they feel better about their purchasing decision. However, avoid being too commercial in marketing your cause. The Connected Generation can immediately recognize an attempt to cash in on a worthy cause, and they'll reject any brand that puts its own pursuit of profit ahead of the charity it supports.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Lisa Johnson is an expert on consumer behavior and an acclaimed author. She is the founder and CEO of the Reach Group, an international marketing consultancy that helps companies create more compelling brand experiences for women (ReachWomen.com) and the connected generation of 18-40-year-olds (ReachXandY.com). A leading authority on marketing to women, Lisa is the co-author of the highly acclaimed book, Dont Think Pink: What Really Makes Women Buy and How to Increase Your Share of This Crucial Market. It was featured in Harvard Business Schools Working Knowledge, The New York Times Magazine and on NPRs Marketplace.

HOW TO ADD THIS BOOK TO YOUR LIBRARY To order this book, please send check or money order for $25.00, plus $3.50 shipping and handling to: Audio-Tech Business Book Summaries 825 75th Street Willowbrook, IL 60527

Mind Your Xs and Ys, summarized by arrangement with Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., from Mind Your Xs and Ys: Satisfying the 10 Cravings of a New Generation of Consumers by Lisa Johnson. Copyright 2006 by Lisa Johnson. 825 75th Street, Willowbrook, Illinois 60527 1-800-776-1910 1-630-734-0600 (fax) www.audiotech.com