Yesterday, I bought tickets to see the Fugees during their international tour. Wyclef Jean, Pras and Lauryn Hill – the trio that make up the Fugees – were part of the pop culture of my youth. I still remember the feeling of awe when I heard Lauryn Hill croon, “Killing me softly”, for the first time.
I once had a conversation with Pras, you know. It was the early days of social media and he DMd, out of the blue. I jokingly said it was his social media handler on the other end of the chat. But he convinced me he was the one, and that he was interested in connecting with people from the “motherland”. I recall the conversation. He probably would not. Significant people are remembered by millions but, they cannot remember millions of people.
It’s amazing how far Nigerian music has gone since then. There are more Africans who reckon with our stars than any American act. That’s how influential our music is now.
Similarly, when I was growing up, space meant NASA. Today, it’s Elon Musk and SpaceX. Financial services meant First Bank. Now it’s Kuda Bank.
As a young person, dream big and dream far. Stop fixating on the giants that exist now. Rather, imagine what the world would be like 20 years from now.
In marketing, there’s a phenomenon I call the Generational Window. It happens every 2 decades, when a new generation finally comes into their own financially and has disposable income. They reject legacy systems and flock to service providers who understand them.
Once you attract that market during the generational window, they are yours for many years to come. It’s a cycle. It’s why old brands constantly reinvent themselves for each generation, so they don’t lose custom. Coca Cola’s TV ads used to feature traditional sleigh bells and snowmen. Now, they are featuring gaming characters too, in a desperate bid to appeal to Gen Z. It doesn’t seem to be working.
It’s why there’s a remake of a Disney story like Cinderella, every few years. The latest one features Camila Cabello. The production company figures the current generation will be watching for the first time, so it’s new to them. As for the legacy generation, they watch out of nostalgia. Either way, it’s a win-win for the company.
While there’ll be remixes of good content, truly great companies introduce something new in their generation. Like Uber and ride-sharing or Robinhood and fractional stocks. These companies tap into the zeitgeist of their peer group and channel those things to build successful products. Uber and the sharing economy. Robinhood and the collective financial power of the middle class. More new products are emerging based on other concepts like decentralization, climate advocacy, celebrity cultism, rebellion against the establishment, online multiverses and so on.
In every generation, rookies can become kings and captains of industry. They can lead movements and also define culture. So, whatever you’re building, stick to it. Stop trying to win over legacy markets. Focus on the future. Create new trends and appeal to a whole new age group. Speak the language of your generation.
If you do so successfully, the possibilities will be endless and the rewards incalculable.
For more, please read Don’t Despair Yet.In every generation, rookies can become kings and captains of industry. They can lead movements and also define culture. So, whatever you're building, stick to it. Stop trying to win over legacy markets. Focus on the future. Click To Tweet