Tammy Erickson’s speech on “The Influence of the Generations on the Kitchen and Bath Industry” at KBIS was an enlightening discussion on how to cater to and attract these various generations.
Erickson, CEO of Tammy Erickson Associates, a firm that specializes in helping clients build smart organizations, defines people of the same generations as those of the same age who have experienced some of the same global events, therefore sharing some of the same impressions.
Her generations included:
Traditionalists – accepting of institutions, accustomed to using money as a metric of success
Baby Boomers – competitive, appreciative of encouragement
Gen X – focused on task completion, not time spent; accustomed to using technology in the workplace
Gen Y – want to broaden their options, family-centric, appreciative of leadership development
Re-Generation – the savvy generation that is gearing up; one that saves money, rents, improvises and compromises
As far as how to work with and gain the trust of the first four generations that already apply, Erickson stressed how each is vastly different and what kinds of things they respond to.
This generation, Erickson said, enjoys cooking and appreciates good kitchens. As far as work ethic, they respect the rules and want you to play by the rules. They are big on good manners, logical communication and face-to-face relationships.
As money is their recognition for success, this generation would rather stay and invest in their homes rather than move to a different location. They desire beautiful, functional homes, which are often multi-generation homes. Boomers appreciate positive feedback, appreciate community involvement and believe that winners choose winners.
According to Erickson, money is still tight for this generation, but housing is important and they will spend money on remodeling. They are family-oriented, and time spent with friends is important. Their kitchens are the hub for cooking, recreation, kid time and socializing. Bathrooms are important for taking care of child-care needs and can also offer a brief moment of relaxation after a busy day. This generation appreciates choices and options – as Erickson said, “They want you to tell them six ways a certain project can be done.”
According to Erickson, this generation is not purchasing kitchen and bath design services in huge numbers just yet; they are just starting to think about money and are eager to make their mark on the world. For them, convenience trumps aesthetics. Their dream kitchen would have ample storage and be crafted and authentic. They are big on technology, but will most likely consult with their parents on any major remodeling decisions.