The Future of Generations: Myth 5


Ever turn to your mum and dad for advice?  Sure you do and so do many others.  With personal recommendations and the targeting of the influencer becoming more prevalent in our media plans, the identification of influencers is something that needs to move beyond the Hipsters that we all think about when we hear that term.

With online allowing us to reach these groups more easily than ever and in a world where personal recommendation and referral are one of the most powerful ways to reach consumers, it’s imperative that we understand the power of digital platforms and social networks, because it’s here where we can easily find them across all generations.

With the success of today’s dot.coms resting on ability to harvest the power of the influencer this is a group which should be looked at for every brand and every campaign.

 “People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.  A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message.  A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”  Mark Zuckerberg

The term ‘Influencer Marketing’ is almost synonymous with digital, in particular, social media, and, by definition, have tended to be thought of as younger individuals.  In 2015, Campaign wrote:

 “By working with social influencers, young teens and 20 somethings with audiences who love them for their talent and personality, brands are able to move away from disrupting what people are interested in and can become what people are interested in.

Not only does this suggest that only those who are young are influenced by this kind of marketing, but it also suggests that the influencers themselves are more likely to emerge from the younger demographic.

While it may be true that the younger age groups can and should be reached effectively by social media and influencers including vloggers and bloggers, our research provides compelling evidence that perhaps our definitions of influencers should be broadened and we need to think carefully about who does the influencing and how we reach people.

Our Future of Britain Generations research shows that older age groups may be much more effective influencers than previously thought – they are social individuals.  In fact, 74% of the over 65’s socialise with their friends once a week or more often.  And those surveyed in our study talked about how important friendship is to them and how strong the bond you build with your friends is over the years.

The older age groups also have the power of being the hidden influencers. Older age groups are seen as a voice of wisdom and experience, with 84% of the younger generations arguing that they can learn from the older generation.

To support our findings, we, in partnership with Keller Fay, analysed WoM influence data and saw that there are certain categories where people from this older audience have more of an influence:


Over 65s influence purchase decisions. Source: Keller Fay

Our Future of Generations research has demonstrated that age may not always be a reliable predictor of behaviours and attitudes and that mindsets play a key role in targeting audiences.  This provides opportunities for brands to talk to older audiences under the premise that they can be influencers and not just grandparents.


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