Noticing the word “together” showing up in advertisements and newly crafted company slogans? If you haven’t yet, put some attention there, and I’m betting you’ll see this theme popping up.

Come + Together – Macy’s

Let’s Build Something Together – Lowe’s

Build Together – Lego

Come + Together, says Macy’s (via AGrinberg on Flickr)

And there are many, many others.

But the questions to ask are why is this happening nowwhat does it speak to and where is the opportunity to tap into this cultural shift?

See, about every 20 years, a new generation is born. And when this happens, it naturally becomes the new generation in childhood. That means the prior generation in childhood is now the generation rising into young adulthood. And connected to that, the generation thathas defined “young adulthood” for the most recent 20 years, now starts to define what it is to be in mid-life. And so on.

Millennials (born 1982 – 2002ish) are rising into young adulthood and bringing their core personality traits into America and the markets that wish to serve them. Who are these Millennials and why are they so different? Where their predecessors, GenX (born 1961-1981), were hardscrabble, pragmatic free agents in young adulthood, Millennials are team-oriented, achieving and confident. For a deeper exploration into what makes this generation tick, I recommend going straight to the source of generational theory and read, Millennials and the Pop Culture, by Neil Howe and William Strauss.

Another cultural pressure on this “come together” thing is that GenXers, “their fringes more powerful than their core,” (Strauss and Howe) are now in mid-life. And if you failed to notice the profound hypocrisy that Boomers (born 1943-1960) displayed when they hit mid-life and created “zero tolerance” for drugs and kids, and other such things they’d have rebelled against in a New York minute in their own youth, GenXers (as all generations) have to shift as they grow up. GenXers, by archetypal definition “the nomad,” now has to reverse their isolation and pull tighter together their tribe. GenXers will aways be more powerful in their fringes than in their core, but the X in their X-treme behaviors shifts direction in this era, which runs approximately from 2005 – 2025 (ref. The Fourth Turning).

So, if you’re still waiting for The Recovery (cue: angelic trumpets) and for things to go back to how they were, go ahead and wait. But, if you’re looking to tap into the natural energies of cultural change and the deep, archetypal forces of generational marketing, I say, “come together, right nooooowwwweehhh … ” Oh, and make it snappy.


This post appeared originally on Network Solutions’ Grow Smart Business blog.