Brigadoon Weekly: Millennials, NWA, Shake Shack, SoulCycle, Sweden

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Millennials, NWA, Shake Shack, SoulCycle, Sweden

Brigadoon Weekly
October 28, 2018
Curation and commentary from 
Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Brigadoon Weekly  = Enterprise + Culture + Sport + Policy

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There are no millennials

The marketing-advertising-consulting- industrial complex has been brilliant in persuading smart and well-read executives to embrace the idea that there are distinct generational cohorts.

The idea of distinct generational cohorts first took off about 50 years ago.

Madison Avenue created the phrase Baby Boomers to refer to people born in the high-growth postwar years. 

Then came Gen X for people (like me) born between the mid-1960s and 1980s. 

Then Gen Z emerged to describe those born after 1995.

Now we have the fashionable term Millennial used to describe anyone generally born between the early 1980s and 1996.

Factiva data suggests that the term has appeared at least 45,000 times in the global media in the past three months (four times as many as Baby Boomers.)

The use of Millennial has been so successful, the mere suggestion that you understand this cohort elevates you to a shaman-like status which has the answers to vexing consumer and social trends.

Listen, using age as a marker makes sense if you are operating in the communications environment of the 1960s - one marked my mass broadcasts of one product being pitched to many. 

Heck, there were just three channels, a handful of meaningful radio stations, and a major newspaper serving your city. It was a simpler, less competitive environment to capture attention and sell your way into the consumer's wallet.

Now there are 1,000 of channels, many podcasts, endless tweets, and thought leader commentary across the web.

In all seriousness, if you asked me to name who anchors any of the big three national newscasts and to name one local anchor, I'd fail completely.

I really have no idea.

Defining consumer habits, desires, and predilections by distinct generational cohorts makes sense if you are working in a selling environment marked more by mass commodity products (think Campbell Soup Company) and not today's direct to consumer marketplace of limited specialized products (think Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams).

Using age as a vehicle to sell is foolish.

Age doesn't exist.

What exists is how a consumer spends their day - what activities, what interests, what hobbies, what professions - this is what matters.

Understand where someone goes on holiday and you can get them to buy.

Understand where someone goes for groceries and you can get them to buy.

Understand where someone works and you can get them to buy.

Age works in a selling environment.

We are in an ageless time that calls for a buying environment.

-Marc A. Ross

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in thought leader communications and events for senior executives working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics. 


'A-T-L!': the soccer team outselling the NFL: In a state where the other football is practically a religion, the upstart Atlanta United are drawing huge crowds – and rewriting the story of a city of transplants.

Last Sunday I was at the Atlanta United - Chicago Fire match. 

End to end the experience was first-rate - excellent team, amazing atmosphere, and the venue is world class.

Brands and companies can learn a lot from what the Five Stripes are doing in The ATL.

The tiny Iowa college that changed the NFL: WSJ reports, the Air Raid offense, which produced Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield, has infiltrated the NFL. It traces its roots back to Iowa Wesleyan.

The moment N.W.A changed the music world

Tencent says there are only 300,000 AI engineers worldwide, but millions are needed: The Verge reports, a new report from the Chinese tech giant attempts to put a number on the AI talent shortfall.

SoulCycle is betting high fashion will get you spinning: The fancy workout chain has joined up with urban chic purveyor Public School, bringing a whole new level of swank to sweat.


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Tablet ownership peaked in 2017 and is now declining.

Thousands of Swedes are inserting chips the size of a grain of rice under their skin: You can open doors, spend money and share contact details, all with a swipe of your finger. 


Ordering in: The online delivery business is growing 20% every year and is forecasted to account for $75.9 billion in merchandise volume by 2022. 

Takeout and delivery is expected to represent 15% of restaurant sales in a decade...up from about 5% now.

e-Krona: Sweden’s central bank will next year seek to start a pilot project to develop an electronic currency as the Nordic nation grapples with how to secure payment systems in a future without cash.

Cash is wasteful and expensive.


Shake Shack, disruption, and leadership: Brian Koppelman, on The Moment podcast, interviews Danny Meyer, a New York City restaurateur and the Chief Executive Officer of the Union Square Hospitality Group. 


Pulp - Common People 

Marc Ross

Based in Washington, DC, I specialize in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

Clients hire me to ghostwrite, engage influencer networks, manage media relations, produce events, audit their communications infrastructure, consult on hiring, provide issue briefs and news generating talking points, as well as manage end to end communications projects where I assume a role of project leader and general contractor.

I work independently but provided access to a substantial global network of collaborators with expertise in websites, graphic design, audio, video, polling, data analytics, and research.

Using the latest tactics of an American political campaign with expertise shaped by being a practitioner of global business communications, I help clients tell their story and build trusted relationships with all necessary stakeholders.

Successful communications are all about STOCK = strategy, tactics, organization, consistency, and know-how.