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In Part 1 we discussed how some of the most recent cultural touch points—groups riding the underground buzz on YouTube; MySpace selling music from indie bands; and the "skinny jeans" fashion trend—show a new market code at work. The young, tech-savvy members of the Connected Generation are rewriting the rules and changing how everyone will do business.

In our new book, Mind Your X's and Y's, we outline 10 cravings that are driving this renegade new generation of consumers. Part one explored the first five cravings: for extreme personalization, adventure, loose social networks, brilliant design, and smart editors. Before we move on to the last five, there are two critical principles to understand about the Connected Generation.

Reconstructing the Market

When a band goes from dancing on treadmills in a low-budget video clip to performing for the MTV Video Music Awards in a matter of weeks, you know there's a change in the air. Clearly, underground trends and finds have always filtered their way from the fringes into the mainstream—especially if you're talking fashion or music. What's different today is that the Connected Generation is completely sidestepping the mainstream. Thanks to tightly knit peer networks and online technology, indie bands, for example, don't need to sign record deals. They can build a fan base on MySpace, pack their local shows, and post pay-per-download digital files. No middleman, no loss of control.

The new marketplace favors connected brands with three essential components—community, content, and commerce. Think about MySpace again. This popular networking portal has content (teens and young adults posting their profiles, uploading photos, writing blogs, and sharing messages), community (a dedicated group of users who visit multiple times each day and conduct vast portions of their lives online), and now, with its music sales, commerce. The brand is unstoppable.

Breakaway Brands

To crack this new market code and understand the 10 cravings, we studied hundreds of brands that are experiencing runaway success. From Toyota's Scion to Jones Soda to Wikipedia and beyond, these are the products, services, and organizations that are attracting an unprecedented degree of buzz and customer loyalty.

We found that the most successful brands not only complete the three-part business model—community, content, and commerce—but also have implemented a "pull" philosophy in their sales and marketing efforts.

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image of Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson (lisa@reachwomen.com) is the CEO of ReachWomen (www.reachwomen.com). She is also a coauthor of Don't Think Pink: What Really Makes Women Buy—And How to Increase Your Share of this Crucial Market (AMACOM, 2004).

Cheri Hanson is cofounder of the Reach Group (www.reachgroupconsulting.com), a boutique consultancy that provides fresh insights and clear thinking about the Connected Generation. With three divisions—ReachWomen, Reach X and Y, and Content Strategy—the Reach Group provide tools for engaging the modern marketplace.