Corporate Eye

Generation C Redefines Media Consumption

Americans born between 1978 and 1994 are now between the ages of 18 and 34. This is a generation of people that grew up with VCRs and may never have seen a black and white television let alone a television with a dial instead of a remote control. Even the oldest members of this generation spent most of their lives with mobile phones and Internet access. Many have never had the need to use a pay phone and have never seen a corded telephone with a rotary dial.

According to a new study by Nielsen, this generation has been dubbed Generation C — the Connected Generation, and they’re changing the world of media consumption in ways previous generations saw only in Star Trek episodes and James Bond movies.

As Nielsen explains, this generation “is taking their personal connection—with each other and content—to new levels, new devices and new experiences like no other age group.” Members of Generation C make up 22% of the population of the United States, and their preferred media consumption habits are changing the way brands communicate with consumers.

This generation of people might only make up approximately one-fifth of the U.S. population, but they represent a large segment of consumers who watch online video (27%), visit social networking sites and blogs (27%), own tablet devices (33%) and use smartphone devices (39%). They truly are “always connected” and they expect everyone else in their world to be connected at all times, too.

Brands have to find new ways to stand out in the clutter of media messages that members of Generation C filter through each day, and brands have to learn how to break through that clutter through new media opportunities.

The need to redefine marketing for a new generation of consumers isn’t new. Advancing technology and communications and evolving social and political views play a large role in redefining each generation and marketing has to change as a result. If your brand wants to connect with Generation C, you need to start thinking and living like them. They’re unique, just like every generation before them.

You can get more details in the complete report: Nielsen and NM Incite’s U.S. Digital Consumer Report.

Image: Martin Abegglen

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.