At an event at the Art Gallery of NSW this morning, Pollinate launched its 2023 Australian Pulse Research results.
Opening the event, Pollinate CEO Howard Parry-Husbands shared the report’s key findings. This was followed by a panel discussion featuring Parry-Husbands alongside The Social Soup founder and executive director Sharyn Smith and The Hallway CEO Jules Hall.
“This year’s The Australia Pulse study shows the generational tensions that have surfaced and with it some strong lessons and opportunities for brands,” said Pollinate research director Kirsty Bloore.
The report broke down Australia’s main points of concern, mapping how this has evolved over the last few years. Today, in the midst of a cost of living crisis and with overall concern at an all-time high, economic concern is just 1 per cent of its highest recorded level, which was back during the pandemic.
“In a nutshell, right now, Australians are pretty bothered, and they are bothered by everything, all at once,” said Parry-Husbands.
The report highlights several generational similarities and differences, including Gen Z being the only generation that is more concerned about the environment than anything else.
The panel unpacked how these differences are crucial for brands as they develop campaigns and target marketing toward different groups and contexts.
“You have to be talking to your audiences in a way that feels familiar to them. You have to understand how they see themselves to know how to talk with them,” said Hall. “You have the ability to tailor the message to audiences and context so much more than before, but you have to have a central idea; you’ve got to know where you stand”.
The cost of living was considered the worst thing about living in Australia, with the crisis being the top economic concern. Financial security was the top driver of happiness, with 43 per cent of respondents acknowledging this as something that makes them feel happy and optimistic.
From a brand perspective, the panel discussed how these concerns can impact marketing and advertising management. Smith highlighted that while it is important to look at the long-term issues, brands can’t ignore the short-term issues impacting Australians in the present.
“The biggest short term there is the cost of living; that is something brands have to address to build that connection with consumers and prove they are worth paying the money for,” Smith said. “In the content creation space, there are a lot of money hacks… I think brands can participate in that,” she said.
Interestingly, Gen Z was the only generation that considered our Indigenous heritage one of the best things about living in Australia. On the flip side, Baby Boomers were the only generation to name our Indigenous heritage as one of the worst things about living in the country.
The panel discussed the possibility that this generational difference impacted the results of the recent Voice Referendum, with a great deal of advertising not understanding the needs or desires of their target audiences about the issue in question.
“There was very emotive messaging being used, pushing one side or the other. It was one of those rare moments where it wasn’t about emotion; it was about explaining what it was. An approach would have been to have a piece of film explaining the argument for and against, and you could have quite easily taken that and done it in a way that reached generationally different audiences,” Hall said.
“I feel like we ran campaigns to people who were already voting yes, and we didn’t really understand the nuances behind the no across any generation,” said Smith.
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