Surprisingly, Millennials have a love/hate relationship with technology, according to a study from Zeno Group and research firm CEB Iconoculture.
Teens and 20-somethings have a more balanced relationship versus the dependency that generations before them have, says Therese Caruso, managing director, global strategy + insights for Zeno Group.
Therese Caruso says.
“There has never been a youth generation that looks and acts like this one, and that wields more influence. They are shaping the global conversation and workplace of the future. The only way for brands to connect is to act like a best friend – the values young people assign to their deepest relationships are the same values they want to see in brands. The Human Projectconnects brands through shared values and beliefs and tells the story about what compels this audience to become advocates and evangelizers.”
“They acknowledge that technology can support their goals, but also that it can work against them. Since youth are hyper-aware of health/wellness and the connection between health and tech overuse, they do put their tech down in a less ceremonious, more practical way than Millennials.”
Barby K. Siegel, CEO of Zeno Group said.
“The goal of The Human Project is to challenge marketers to view key audiences not as targets or even consumers, but as real human beings. It is no longer enough for marketers to understand category-specific behavior, but must now tap into a deeper set of core values.”
Kate Muhl, Research Director, CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights, said.
“It’s urgent that marketers understand today’s global youth. Not just because they’re important consumers in their own right, but because youth are reshaping the culture in which brands are operating. It’s time for brands to take the level of research focus and priority they’ve given to Millennials and apply it to this new generation of consumers.”
According to the global study, "The Human Project," Millennials feel particularly bullish about their future:
- 60% are optimistic about their personal finances, compared to only 40% of the general population.
- 67% are optimistic about their jobs compared to 40 % of the general population, according to the global study, “The Human Project.”
The biggest takeaway for marketers is how influential and different global youth are from past youth generations, Caruso tellsMarketing Daily.
“They are leading change through a different conversation around education, lifestyle and entertainment, purpose and politics. Their influence and vast differences in values and behaviors are two aspects that feed into other key insights.”
It’s really important that marketers understand global youth now, she says.
“Not only are they influencing everyone, including the purchase decisions of their own parents and siblings, but they’re reshaping the culture in which brands are operating,”
“And it’s not enough to study what they’re reading or purchasing because simple demographics are not a reliable measure. The only way for brands to really connect is to act like a best friend — the values young people assign to their deepest relationships are the same values they want to see in brands.”
Youth are extremely health aware and guided by a life of balance. They know how to indulge and practice prudence/integrate foods and habits that can live together in a healthy body and mind, she says.
“Today’s youth views happiness differently — there must be a mix of success, balance and purpose. Happiness is more practical and personal: being informed/connected, achieving goals, feeling good mind + body, indulging and practicing prudence, choosing to live their own life of purpose.”
Ultimately, their favorite brand is themselves — they use brands to build their own personal brand, she adds.
The report also lays out what Zeno Group has branded as the “7 Global Truths” about this generation -- what brands and businesses believe to be the most important consumer constituency, from the influence they will wield in the upcoming election, to their relationship with technology, to how they are redefining the role of leader, and how they are connecting with the world's top companies; and maybe most importantly, how the world’s most successful companies are connecting to them.
- Youth Wield Powerful Influence. There has never been a generation with more influence both inside and outside the family and this has changed the dynamic of the modern family. Seventy-eight percent of parents with children in this group feel that their kids are more involved in their family’s decisions than they themselves were as children.
- The New Leadership Paradigm. Global Youth do not view leadership by the traditional, top-down mode. Rather, they prefer a lead-by-example, collaborative model – “leaders bring people together to get things done.” On a scale of 92 values, leadership is ranked extremely low at 65 or high, while equality is ranked number two by the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia.
- Friendship Built on Values vs. Shared Interests. Global Youth build friendships not on proximity or convenience, but on shared values, like morals, ethics and beliefs, and priorities. Thanks to this group’s strong sense of identity, peer pressure is also starting to fade.
- Technology + The Love/Hate Paradox. Global Youth work to maintain a balanced relationship – not a dependency – on technology. They are keenly aware that technology can support their larger goals, but also know it can work against them.
- Youth Are Health Aware, Guided by Balance. Global Youth research and educate themselves on all-around health and wellness, and they aren’t interested in “traditional diets.” Out of 92 values, health was ranked number one among Chinese youth – differing greatly from the values of their parents.
- Happiness Re-Defined: The New WE/Z Happiness Equation. Global Youth view “happiness” as equal-parts balance, success and purpose. Success tops the list as the highest-ranking value among Global Youth in the U.S., Canada, U.K., India and Australia. Purpose is overall a high-ranking value among Global Youth with parents in Canada, Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. ranking purpose significantly lower than youth.
- A Brand Called “Me”: Youth vs. Brand as Status Symbol. Global Youth are passionate about brands that help to enhance and build upon their own, personal brand. In order to earn this group’s trust and loyalty, brands must understand their mindset and personal goals.
The study gathered data from more than 5,000 individuals in the United States, Canada, China, India, Australia and the United Kingdom. The study defines “Global Youth” as those born between 1991 and 2001 and divides them into two distinct groups:
- “Gen WE” (14-20)
- “Gen Z” (21-25)
Examining the nuances into how Youth think, act and behave is imperative for companies and brands as they look to maintain relevance with today’s most digitally intuitive generation, Caruso says. Gen WE and Gen Z are masters of platform, more self-aware, success-driven, socially responsible and more global-minded than any generation before them.
About Zeno Group
Zeno Group is a global, integrated communications agency, born from PR. The award-winning agency is committed to work that delivers true business value for clients across consumer, corporate, health and technology industries. Zeno is the unprecedented three-time PRWeek US Mid-Size Agency of the Year winner (2011 – 2013), winner of PRWeek Malaysia New Consultancy of the Year (2015), recipient of the SABRE Silver Anvil (2015) and most recently recognized at PR Cannes Lions (2015). Zeno Group is a DJE Holdings Company.