Who’s Gen C and Why Are They Important?

2021-01-12 by Ronn Torossian

While much has been written lately about millennials and Gen Z, often forgotten is Gen C.

Unlike its age cohorts, the moniker Gen C was born 20 years ago at the research firm’s Inaugural Consumer 360 Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia. And while the term has taken on different definitions since then, it stands today for connectivity. According to Nielsen, more than 274 million Americans have internet access. This number more than doubled between 2000 and 2011. In addition, social media engagement accounts for more than 81 billion minutes annually. 

Since the pandemic, numerous reports and studies showed that traffic on all social media platforms increased. Consumers came to depend even more on these platforms to browse and shop and all indications point to most continuing to do so even in the new normal.

Nielsen reports that the majority of Gen C are millennials and women. The firm also stated that Gen Cers are multitaskers. Even when viewing something on their phone, 57% are also checking emails. 44% are social networking, while another 44% are surfing the web. Simple funnels no longer work in reaching Gen C. Consumer behavior alone is not the key. Amplified strategies that engage and cater to this demographic based on their needs, expectations, and platforms they frequent are key. To best reach Gen Cers, CMOs might consider these four steps.

Key to a successful campaign is a strategy that grabs and keeps the interest of Gen C. Prior knowledge about the brand’s customers is critical in identifying key things like their most frequent social media platforms, including the most popular days and times. Also important is discovering their most popular needs, concerns, and expectations. Ideally, this data should be readily available from earlier comments, surveys, and feedback from the brand’s customer service department. Nielsen found that ads that deliver real value are more apt to be seen by Gen C. Similarly, the firm reported that ads with music and humor are also highly popular. The next step is delivering what was learned and discovered to be of prime interest to Gen C when and where they frequent. Displaying empathy and an understanding of customer concerns in today’s environment can also be powerful. So, too, is asking for feedback and comments as well as requesting recommendations. Asking for the sale is the third step. Oftentimes an advance notice to loyal customers with a special limited time offer of a discount and/or free shipping can generate the momentum leading up to a great sale. New customers would also find such offers appealing.

Sometimes forgotten in the wake of a successful digital PR campaign is the follow-up. Even a simple acknowledgment and thank you are important. What’s also helpful and powerful is alerting Gen C about what their purchase enabled the brand to accomplish either in the community or for a cause they embrace. And again, asking for feedback and recommendations is always good. Nielsen reported that Gen Cers are nearly twice as likely to be influencers because others often flock to them for purchasing advice.

Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 250 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities