Power to the Seniors: how to communicate to this collective
It goes without saying that communication is essential for any human being. Traditionally, we’ve conveyed information through oral communication, writing, and gestures. However, the digitization of our current world has given rise to a new form of interaction: online communication. While those known as millennials were born at the dawn of digitization and Generation Z during the massive expansion of the Internet, the preceding Generation X and Baby Boomer collectives lived through completely different historical circumstances.
Whereas the former two were practically immersed in the world of technology and online communication from birth (so-called digital natives), the latter, today’s seniors, had accumulated experience in traditional methods of human interaction… But that has changed.
Inevitably, with the installation of the Internet and technology into our daily lives, the senior collective is becoming increasingly connected: grandparents who keep up with current events through the web, parents who shop online, and aunts and uncles with Facebook and Twitter accounts—the older generations are getting into the Internet at a googolplectic rate. What’s more, as the population ages progressively and indefinitely, it’s evident that the senior demographic will be one of the most powerful and numerous in Spain, gaining a significant heft in the country’s economy and market.
This is why brands and companies must learn to communicate to a profile which has perhaps not been sufficiently accounted for: seniors. This is a specific target requiring a specific type of communication, as they have clear preferences and a philosophy of life shaped by their experience. They are a very interesting and heterogeneous target, because their demands vary in function of their purchasing power, cultural stratum, and health status. Moreover, a mature user between 50 and 60 years of age is not the same as one who’s 75 or 80, as their interests and needs shift. For these reasons we’re going to walk through some suggestions of how to communicate correctly to seniors.
The nomenclature of the senior collective is perhaps one of the main problems. How we refer to people going through the process of aging is important when generating subjective constructs and social representations. Hence we should avoid using terms like “grandparents”, “retirees”, or “sexagenarians” and “octogenarians”, unless we’re specifically referring to a social role or, as per the latter case, it’s necessary to mention chronological parameters.
On the other hand, the communication itself should be clear and specific, straight to the point and filler-free. As for the information being offered to them, it should pertain to their interests and be relevant and useful content for them; topics such as health, food, financial aid, or leisure. Senior audiences will reject all information they don’t consider useful and beneficial.
As for the tone, we recommend an upfront and direct communication style, informal, but always from the classic perspective, without using overly modern jargon or particularly teenage-sounding expressions. Finally, when it comes to the website and online resources, the typeface should be larger and the interface intuitive and user-friendly.
You may be asking yourself, “How do they know all of this?” It’s because at EDT we recognize the importance of this collective and it has led us to work on two projects in different areas, both highly useful. First is 60ymucho+: a reference point for every senior where they’ll find information and news about the issues that are most relevant to them, with the objective of improving their quality of life and supporting them in this new and challenging phase of life. The other is Generación Savia, an Endesa Foundation project we’re collaborating on for the integration of professionals over 50, promoting training opportunities, growth, and employability.