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What Does Authenticity Mean To Different Generations of Shoppers?

What Does Authenticity Mean To Different Generations of Shoppers?

During a recent panel discussion Jennifer moderated during JCK Las Vegas, there was a very intense discussion of authenticity and how different generations determine when a brand is being authentic and when they’re not. It turns out that Baby Boomers view the world in a very different way than Gen Xers, and the both of them are different from Millennials and really different from Gen Z.

Authenticity is defined as being genuine and real. Customers of every age value brands that represent themselves accurately. It’s important that impressions formed in digital spaces are in alignment with what happens when shoppers visit the physical location.

Baby Boomers
learned to assess authenticity in physical spaces first: to this day, in-person relationships with sales associates and store owners remains very important to Baby Boomers. Content tailored to Boomers should be focused on the product or service; this generation prefers to read or watch short video to learn what they need to in order to make a purchasing decision.

Gen Xers’ relationship with authenticity is complicated. Gen Xers are the researchers: experience has taught them the wisdom of being skeptical of any brand’s promise. At the same time, Gen X responds strongly to messaging that reflects their own experiences: calm, sentimental, and family-friendly content works best. Gen X prefers real people, not air-brushed celebrities, in advertising, and values the opinion of friends and peers over celebrities and influencers.

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Millennials have had just about enough with being blamed for all of society’s troubles, and they’ll reward with fanatical devotion any brand they portray as ‘telling it as it is.” Sassy and irreverent works well – Wendy’s won legions of Millennial fans with their snarky social media – when balanced with content acknowledging the many facets of Millennial life. More than half of all Millennials are parents, and across the entire generation, there’s a strong tendency to prioritize experiences over material goods. When working with influencers, be aware of the fine line that separates genuine sharing and paid advertising: Millennials are pragmatic enough to realize both types of content exist and they want to know which one they’re looking at.

Gen Z doesn’t want to be sold to at all. This explains Gen Z’s preference for micro-infuencers: these YouTube and Instagram stars are more relatable and reachable for them. Brands aren’t selected by quality or even price point as much as the reaction purchases get when members of Gen Z share images with their peers via text or social media. These priorities may change as Gen Z enters independent adulthood, but as this generation commands over $44 billion in purchasing power, it’s good to pay attention to what they value right now.

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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office