Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Generational Bias

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
When you’re in the communications business, you need to reach people in ways that are most effective. That means you have to know your audience and use proven methods to reach them. However, we’ve seen a growing trend among all age groups we work with to only want to communicate in the ways they personally get their information. We’ve dubbed it generational media bias.

Now, I know this probably has you thinking, “Yah, those over 50 CEOs always want to go to the newspapers or local TV to distribute their news.” Sometimes that’s true. In the past, we used to hear that a lot; especially when social media wasn’t widely used. But what’s been surprising to us is that we are now seeing generational bias more frequently coming from younger professionals who believe the only way anyone is getting their news these days is via social media. If you’re not new and innovative, you’re old news. That way of thinking is as dangerous as hanging on to “old school” approaches that may no longer work for your audience.

The truth is, traditional, online and social media, plus other methods of communication, should all be considered when you’re trying to reach your target audience. The ultimate decision as to what you actually use should be tailored to how your target audience gets its information. It’s that simple.

If you don’t know, do your research. Ask your clients, customers and target audiences, conduct surveys or polls and review best practices in the industry. Remember, just because you get your information one way, or you think it’s the latest and best method of communication, it doesn’t mean your target audience thinks the same. As communicators, we all have to put generational biases aside if we want our messages to be heard.

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