Reading the stream of marketing newsletters
about younger people (or GenZ if you must), you'd think they are all utterly obsessed with social activism and eco-activism and think about precious little else.
I often wonder about the difference between my online reading (which is predominantly UK/US or other English language media) and what I observe around me here in Germany. So I was interested to come across the organisation More in Common
who are dedicated to looking into the divisions in society, finding the source of these and working towards more social cohesion.
One report concentrates on Germany. The received wisdom in Germany is that society is divided politically (Right vs Left), geographically (former East vs West) and probably by age, although there isn't quite the obsession with Boomers, GenZ and the rest, which I find refreshing.
Instead of political views and demographics, More in Common
groups people on the basis of values and beliefs - for example, authoritarian tendencies, perception of threat, personal responsibility and ability to take action and so on. Six groups emerge (I do question whether grouping people in this way and creating new "tribes" as well as talking about "fault lines" is possibly counter-productive, but I guess it's a means to an end). And what's interesting is that these 6 groups fall into three layers.
There are the Polarised, who are the loud and opinionated ones who dominate public debate and social media.
There are the Stabilisers, who are generally satisfied and optimistic, and could be called the backbone of society.
And then there are the Invisible Third - less integrated, less visible and less engaged.
There's little evidence of an East/West split, contrary to popular opinion.
How can marketers
and brands use this? Well, instead of doing the easy and obvious thing, and getting embroiled in a debate with the polarised, through a "social experiment", for example
, maybe brands can look to engaging and involving the Invisible Third, or harnessing the optimism and community spirit of the Involved and Established.
Going back to the young people, 45% of those aged 18 - 29 belong to the Invisible Third (Detached and Disillusioned).
Rather than listening to those that shout loudest, perhaps we should tune in to those on a different wavelength to see what they really care about.