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Prosumer Reports

Millennials: The Challenger Generation

Millennials: The Challenger Generation

Havas Global Comms

Havas Global Comms

April 20, 2011

58% of millennials say it is important to find brands they can be loyal to.

It is time to dismiss the notion of disengaged youth. Contrary to outdated stereotypes of youth apathy, this study reveals a generation intent on creating meaningful change—only through social media and pragmatic day-to-day consumer actions rather than violent revolution or traditional political channels. This is a generation made powerful not just by their sheer numbers but by their abiding sense of personal responsibility to their communities and world, their knowledge of global issues, and their fluency with tools—especially social media—that allow them to act individually and also to join together to effect positive change. For brands, it is essential to understand young people’s views and have the foresight to engage with them in genuinely meaningful ways.

Snapshot:

With this survey of 3,000 people aged 18 and older across China, France, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Havas Group explores the habits and perspectives of the millennial generation, with a particular focus on the workplace, consumerism, family, and views of the future.

Key findings include:

You broke, we fix. The millennial generation has a deep sense of responsibility and pragmatism. Rather than blaming other generations or cultures for the planet’s afflictions, they are ready to shoulder responsibility for creating achievable solutions. More than 8 in 10 millennials consider social media the “new power of youth.”

Their power also lies in consumerism. Nearly half of those surveyed said they wield greater power to effect change as consumers than as voters. They also believe in effecting change on a personal level, including by driving and consuming less. Whereas the baby boomers rebelled, today’s young people are all about community, collaboration, and interconnectedness as a force for change.

What generation gap? In stark contrast to the baby boomers’ credo of “Trust no one over 30,” the millennials cite their parents as their most trusted resources. In fact, parents rank as the most trusted source of information for this generation—above friends, traditional media, and the internet.

They are realistic, but still hopeful. Millennials are keenly aware of the issues we all face and will continue to face, with most believing the world will be more dangerous, less peaceful, and more polluted in 20 years. But that hasn’t made them cynical. Nearly all millennials surveyed believe their generation has the power to change the world. And power for this generation is not necessarily about wealth and celebrity (though neither hurt). Today’s heroes are individuals who have broken through the data glut and societal inertia to help others and push for change. Their role models are people like TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie and pro-democracy activist Wael Ghonim.

They are counting on corporate change leaders: Millennials believe strongly in the power of businesses to do good. In fact, 40% of them say corporations have a greater capacity than governments to create change. These young men and women are looking to partner with businesses that are taking the lead on social and environmental issues, both as consumers and prospective employees.

They will recreate the workplace. Millennials’ emphasis on creativity and collaboration means they work better when allowed to choose the tools and pathways they consider most effective in moving them toward their goals. They are obsessed with continual learning, to the extent that they may well choose to leave a company once they feel they have tapped out the base of knowledge available to them there. Supporting ongoing professional growth and constant learning is key to keeping top millennial talent.

They are searching for “compass” brands. Despite a reputation for flitting from one brand to another, a majority of millennials believe it is important to find brands to which they can be loyal. For most, that means brands that reflect their personalities.

Havas is one of the world’s largest global communications groups, and committed to creating meaningful connections between people and brands.

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