One can be 62, pump out Led Zep, Miki Theodorakis, and Kendrick Lamar, and still go to the coast for summer, if not Greece, Spain or Indonesia every few years.

“Most brands have got it wrong” says Foula Kopanidis, professor in marketing at RMIT, who has spent years researching Baby Boomers.

Much energy and money are spent trying to reach young people while a large and well-off market is ignored.

Evolving identities beyond stereotypes and ageism

Kopanidis says when her group conducted focus groups with Baby Boomers and one-on-one interviews, “the common view that came up – they hate current branding and see it as ageist.”

Ageist tropes populate screens and feed as 24 to 30-somethings pretend the world is born in their image.

“Baby Boomers hate stereotypes and being labelled the grey nomads or pigeonholed based on their age,” Kopanidis told Neos Kosmos.

Diversity may be the catch-all-cry among branding and communication agencies, but advertising has become less creative. It is cooky-cutter, tick-a-box and mechanical.

Those in their 50s to mid 60s’ see themselves as younger than they are.

“Baby Boomers perceive themselves as younger than their chronological age; they see themselves as prosperous,” Kopanidis says.

Also, according to the expert, there are “overlaps blurring of boundaries” for those born 1962- 1965, what she calls the “age cusp.”

Some GenX-ers meld with the Baby Boomers.

Baby Boomers hate being labelled the grey nomads or pigeonholed based on their age,” Kopanidis says. Photo: depositphotos

“We found the Baby Boomers on the age cusp refused to label themselves; they preferred to pick and choose how they identify themselves,” Kopanidis says.

According to her research, many of us who think we’re 35 but are 60 align with “values and attitudes” that align with us.

Kopanidis says brands have become “myopic” by characterising Baby Boomers as “pursuing traditional career paths or being loyal to one employer only.”

She says the emergence of distinct identities, “moulded by life experiences”, shows that this market has “evolving selves”.

“There’s a discrepancy between how Baby Boomers and brands see themselves.

“And they’re such a large cohort”, Kopanidis adds.

Australia has around 2.6 million Baby Boomers, “21.5 per cent of the national population.”

Brands get it wrong by focusing on selling their brand values, rather than trying to reach a sough-out target market, says Kopanidis.

There is a “misconception by brands” of how Baby Boomers are and “how they define their consumption behaviour”.

“Baby Boomers don’t see themselves as homogeneous; they see themselves as open to new experiences.

“Brands tend to think that Baby Boomers are loyal and close-minded.”

If brands want to succeed, they need to know how Baby Boomers see themselves, she says.

“That stereotypical image of the Baby Boomer who isn’t adventurous and is close-minded is outdated.

This generation sees themselves as different, Kopanidis says; the “normal ageing trajectory is quite outdated”.

“They’re reshaping their identities, and many are empty nesters who have ideas about reinventing themselves, and they’ve got evolving identities.

“Brands are missing out – they should be looking at a lifestyle analysis and should be asking: What is it that baby boomers like to do?”

Baby Boomers, as many of us know too well, have a love affair with technology and are “exploiting social media platforms”.

“They’ve become quite able to use these platforms to rediscover themselves.

Baby Boomers don’t stick to the same brands and are “open to new brands and them.”

Professor Kopanidis says brands need to do the work and begin thinking about “lifestyle psychographics and understand that Baby Boomers have evolving ideas.

“There is a whole communication strategy missing; brands should be talking their talk, and they should be letting boomers know that they’ve got options available in product or service offerings.

Greek Australian women want to explore options; they have gone beyond their mothers’ expectations says Kopanidis. Photo: despositphotos

Second-gen Greek Australian consumer behaviour

Let’s take a more “nuanced approach using a cultural lens”. About 424,000 Greek Australians, or those who identify with this Greek ancestry, are ” 1.7 per cent of the Australian population.”

“As a demographic, they’ve got this large consumption footprint.”Regarding Greek Australians, Kopanidis says that “customs are translated to brands, or how do brands recognise customs and traditions – parts of who we are?”.

She says that there are gender discrepancies as well.

“Greek men tend to be more conservative; they align to what is expected, whereas second-generation Greek Australian women are more open.

“Greek Australian women want to explore options; they have gone beyond their mothers’ expectations of being just housewives and mothers,” says Kopanidis.

She adds that Greek Australian women combine these roles, “so brands should come in and say, ‘we recognise that'”.

Regarding branding, advertising, and communications in Australia, Kopanidis concedes that Europeans are less risk-averse and possibly less puritanical.

“We position ourselves as being quite tolerant and quite open-minded in Australia, but we tend to have an underlying focus on what may be described as Anglo-Saxon value,” she says.

“We’re more open now, though, to how we define gender,” Kopanidis says.

“It’s not binary, just male and female; we’ve got a spectrum that brands have slowly recognised as an acknowledgment of change.”

Boomers, don’t despair; CYRIL reached no three on the Apple Hit List with a dance version of Suzi Quatro’s 1978 hit ‘Stumblin-In’ – crap song then, and as bad now.