For the last decade, marketers and retailers have chased Millennials and more recently, Gen Z. But, according to Daniel Langer, chief executive officer of Équité, a luxury and consumer brand development company, many still don’t have it right. Langer, the former senior vice president and general manager of Henkel Beauty Care North America, discussed the challenges and the opportunities presented by the consumer cohorts.
WWD: What are brands missing when they pursue Millennials and Gen Z?
Daniel Langer: When Time magazine ran a title story about Millennials, they were described as the “me, me, me generation” and “entitled narcissists.” Other descriptions were the most self-focused generation ever, the generation that invented the selfie and a group always posting curated stories of their lives on Instagram. In my view, their strong desire to express individuality makes Millennials the most appealing generation ever for premium and luxury brands. But there is a catch. Being always connected to the Internet, today’s consumers typically are better informed than those who try to sell them things. And in an ever-changing world, they look for guidance and authenticity. The biggest mistake many companies still do is to behave “corporate” — too sterile, too controlled, too predictable — which