Boomer reinvention – it’s in our generational DNA
As most everyone in car-world has heard, Jeremy Clarkson, 55, lead host of the BBC’s long-running TV show “Top Gear”, was sacked recently. It seems he was, well, a Boomer behaving badly in what Auntie discreetly referred to as a fracas.
Clarkson’s irreverent style, the automobiles – the exotic to the bizarre – and the show’s goofy stunts made Top Gear a favorite on this side of Atlantic too, especially among marketing’s car guys. BTW, for the punctilious, car guys is a collective term – some of the smartest car guys in the business are women.
Down but not out, Jeremy has the Beeb back-pedaling after a million fans petitioned for his reinstatement and The Guardian says co-host James May won’t rejoin Top Gear without him. And, according to the UK Sunday Times, Clarkson is already reinventing himself, plotting a new show on a rival network (HT Jay Ramey, Autoweek).
Regardless of how things eventually play out, Clarkson’s career illustrates two of the DNA strands that bind the Boomer generation together, the Peter Pan syndrome, the refusal to grow up – ok, make that grow old – and constant reinvention.
Once on a par with a creepy Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! freak of nature, the idea of reinventing Boomer relevance is beginning to emerge as a new focus for innovative marketers.
For starters, thought leaders are discovering that, far from slinking off into obscure retirement, Boomers have been creating new businesses like never before.
Underscoring this new interest in Boomer adaptability is a 2014 study by The Kauffman Foundation. The research found while the Boomer share of America’s entrepreneurial activity grew dramatically 2003-2013, that of Millennials and Gen X actually declined.
The fastest growth rate of all was among Boomers aged 55-64. Believe it or not!
News from the Boomer frontiers: reinvention is a lifestyle
In addition to the Peter Pan syndrome and adaptability/reinvention, another strand of Boomer DNA is being uncool – so uncool, in fact, that on our 50th birthdays we disappear from mainstream brand advertising faster than Cinderella’s magic coach at the stroke of midnight.
Allegedly, we can no longer adapt, switch brands or respond to new ideas. Tell that to Kauffman’s legions of Boomers who reinvented themselves in businesses of all types. And grab a copy of Generation Reinvention by Denver-based consultant Brent Green. Be prepared to run out of Post-it notes tagging paragraph after paragraph, it’s that good.
Out on the Boomer frontiers, away from the centers of last century marketing dogma, the adaptability and economic power of the 50+ space is not news. It’s never been in doubt; we have adapted all our lives, why stop now?
For the Boomer-Plus Generation™ (official Baby Boomers plus those born 1940-1945) reinvention is a lifestyle, not a fad. There are 93 million of us – we don’t like to brag, but we have far more spending power than any European country.
It’s time for skeptical brands to learn from the Boomers: reinvent your thinking! We’ll show you how.