We all know that audience insight is crucial to connect brands in a genuine way to consumers, but the truth of it is, none of us like to be stereotyped.
Sometimes, the danger with audience projects is it can box people in. What’s brilliant is when you are genuinely surprised and inspired by a piece of authentic insight and it actually connects with you and those around you.
There is nothing more engaging than that, "but of course" moment when you recognise yourself in what you have unearthed.
Our latest Bauer Knowledge chapter, The Luminaries, has uncovered an audience that is awash with preconceptions and we’re here to smash them. The Luminaries are a 35- to 54-year-old group – with nearly 10 million of them in the UK – and are a significant yet misunderstood generation.
In media and advertising we must remember to continuously re-evaluate what we think we already know, otherwise we risk losing out on valuable audiences – especially with this group of individuals.
We looked at their behaviours, attitudes, spending power, media habits and you might be surprised by the findings.
Firstly, we learnt the differences between this group and the generation before them – previously named the Juggling Generation. Whereas this generation had young children, were interested in celebrity culture, food and healthy living, were high-users of social media and were known to have many households with stay-at-home mums, this new insight showed a big shift to an entrepreneurial, confident and aspirational group with vastly different behaviours.
It’s key with this group to reflect attitudes, not age. What was really clear from our discussions was that The Luminaries are vibrant and active. One female said "They should ban the words ‘middle-aged’", while another told us "I feel like I am entering my second wave of life and I am enjoying the ride".
Brands need to reflect this by being bold and sharing positivity, as well as remaining authentic. People always perceive it’s only millennials wanting experiences – but it’s critical to remember this is a generation who have the money and the desire to plan their precious free time and invest significantly in it.
The Luminaries want to go out and try new things, with 85% saying they love having new experiences. The group also made it clear that a work/life balance is important, with one man saying "I spent my 30s on the hamster wheel. I want to spend my 40s doing a job I genuinely love".
People always perceive it’s only millennials wanting experiences – but it’s critical to remember this is a generation who have the money and the desire to plan their precious free time and invest significantly in it.
That change in attitude and priorities is something advertisers should take notice of. Of huge importance is of course consumer spending power – a very dominant factor for The Luminaries. This group have more disposable income than they did in their twenties and thirties, with 22% of their current income available for spending. Good news for brands then.
Even more important is the confidence in spending. One woman told us "There are items that I lust after, and usually I can justify buying them for myself as essential". They find plenty of reasons to treat themselves and are happy to spend their disposable income. This, coupled with their appetite to build strong relationships with brands, makes them hugely valuable.
They also come with a sophisticated knowledge of the digital world – there is a real concern from this group regarding media filtering. They have a growing relationship with technology which has changed their day to day habits, particularly when it comes to the home. "Fifteen years ago, I had an ashtray on my bedroom table. These days, it is various devices", said a 40-year- old woman.
How can you discover new things when you’re not exposed to them? One female participant said, "I worry that my media choices are constantly being filtered whether I like it or not". The antidote to this in the media world seems to be radio, as it is perceived as a particularly strong medium to broaden horizons – 35% of The Luminaries listen to the radio to discover new music.
"The difference with radio is it can surprise you", said one female. All variety of music is embraced by this group, with 91% not feeling guilty about the music they enjoy listening to.
For us, understanding the audience informs our content creation. Taking on board their adoption of technology, change in consumption of media and their embracing of wider choice, Magic has already created a network of stations offering different music and mood mixes, has begun experimenting with pop-up stations and plans to create more on-demand content in the form of lifestyle videos and podcasts.
What we need to take away from this is that we can never rely on our assumptions – this deep understanding plays a huge part in creating culturally impactful and interesting advertising messages, which is only a good thing for brands and consumers.
Abby Carvosso is the group managing director, advertising, at Bauer Media.