Do you actually know how to speak to a Centennial?

We have heard a lot about Millennials, but are you familiar with the Centennials?

Well according to Jane Chang, head of marketing communications at Chan Brothers Travel, who was speaking during a recent Content 360 conference, this is the new audience you should be looking out for.

"Millennials discovered technology, but Centennials were born with it," Chang said. For Centennials, aged 15 to 22, screens come as a natural extension of themselves, with each young consumer having an average access of five screens including laptops, desktop computers, smartphones, television and other mobile devices.

Being born around the turn of the century also makes them the first mobile native generation. Unlike Millennials, they started with mobile devices, not laptops; and unsurprisingly, they expect instant access to information and are very impatient. Chang added:

If you don't manage to engage them in that short amount of time, they will move on to someone else who can.

“With their short attention spans we need to be brief, we need to keep our messages short, informal, reliable with the right call to actions and rewards,” Chang added.

Agreeing with Chang is Simon Cholmeley, CEO of Novus Asia, who added that Centennials alone are not subject to this trend. Today, most consumers are fickle and would most likely turn towards other brands.

“You need to nurture this relationship with your customers as it is going to be under constant threat. This is not just from your competitors, but from the water noise we see from content everywhere. As a brand you need to rise above that, and we all know that is not easy,” Cholmeley explained.

So how can brands engage with customers who may not want to engage?

“Your relationship with your customer should be a marriage and not one night stand. Just like a marriage, maintaining this relationship requires a lot of work and constant communication to make it work,” Cholmeley said.

Chan Brothers Travel’s Chang stressed the importance of understanding how your target audience works. In the case of Centennials much like Millennials, brands once again, need to emphasise on differentiation and uniqueness, as these consumers want to stand out from each other.

Getting creative is also important when it comes to fostering the right relationship, Chang explained. This is especially when it comes to building consumer journeys which are less intrusive. For example, the simple addition of the right filters can allow your brand messages much more relevant and so much less intrusive.

Because the consumer journey is no longer contained within a single mission, having omni-channel media synergies are also essential to tackle the fragmented shopper journey.

“There are so many micro journeys within one shopper cycle. A person can start online, but end up in a retail store trying an outfit and then going back online to buy it because they have a promo code,” Chang explained.

There is a lot marketers can learn from consumer segments such as Centennials and Millennials who exhibit different consumer patterns. However, Serene Goh, head of SPH Content Lab, is of the view that marketers should not be looking squarely at age groups.

Instead, marketers should look at how these behaviours and mindsets resonate with consumers of all ages. For example, they should look at the term ‘Millennial’ as a mindset and not a demographic.

“We all have an inner Millennial as we too share similar events and experiences such as 9/11, the proliferation of the Internet of Things. Different generations too, express individualistic post-material values when it comes to purchasing decisions,” Goh explained.

Echoing the sentiment is Chan Yi Wen, co-founder and head of content strategy at Bolt Media, who added:

“Today, the only way to win is creating content which will make the reader think ‘this was written specially for me’.”