Are Millennials more trusting?

With so many headlines focusing on privacy concerns, last week we decided to ask CultureQ participants what they thought. And, here’s the overview of what we learned: •Overall, Millennials are either more trusting or just less concerned about privacy issues than Xers and Boomers; •Facebook is of greater concern to Millennials and Boomers than Google; and of equal concern to GenXers; and, •More people are concerned about the news media accessing their data than we...

Gen Y: Then there’s the reality

Lazy, obese, and pampered. A few choice myths bandied around about my generation (Millennials). And, of course, then there’s reality. Our latest round of CultureQ (December 2012) reveals we’re actually a pretty earnest lot. Because we’re so uncertain about our futures we’re intent on staying healthy, completing our education, doing our best and working hard towards getting a job. So based on the insights I’ve gleaned so far from our Millennial panel I thought I’d let you know some of the things that are really going through our minds.  Keep your eyes open because there are more insights to come…. 1. Health and Sickness Generation Y’s overall health is marked by obesity, with figures such as Michelle Obama decrying the health issue as a “national security threat.” However, despite this epidemic — or perhaps because of it — many participants of our CultureQ survey named personal health as an important goal of their lives. Almost 20% of both females and males aged 16-30 cited weight loss, exercise, or simply general fitness as a goal. “My goal is to lead a healthy lifestyle, by not eating fast food or drinking soda at all.” Gen Y, also known as the Millennial generation, has grown up in the information era. With access to comprehensive product information thanks to the Internet, Millennials have the ability to find the best services and items to promote a healthy lifestyle. Millennials’ age and life stage are also likely factors in their willingness to participate in fitness pursuits. Many of them are are high school and college students and therefore have access to team sports, free campus...

Brands: nurturing deeper connections is good business

Insights from our CultureQ study this Fall revealed technology brands are setting expectations for brand leaders across categories. From industries as diverse as confectionery, retail, home cleaning goods, to make-up we’re seeing evidence of this. And speaking as a fluent digital native, or in other words a Millennial, I see opportunities out there for brands to deepen their relationships with people, based upon how my generation thinks about and utilizes technology. So here my thoughts… We all have two identities. No, I’m not talking about some creepy AOL chatroom alias circa 1999; I’m referring to identity that members of my generation casually contrive on technological platforms. We no longer just maintain our “real-life” identities, comprised of personality, race, religion, and gender. We feel we must also maintain a current, faultless digitized image; the tweets we post daily, the Linkedin information we share weekly, and the Facebook defaults we update monthly.  While it’s not written in law, maintaining a presence on these platforms has become a kind of generational mandate, something necessary to remain socially acceptable. Statements like “I deactivated my Facebook months ago,” are usually followed by a gasp of disbelief and the immediate question of “why?” While older generations integrate technology in their lives, many are frustrated by it and some remain highly suspicious of it. They often view it as intrusive; as my Gen Xer cousin says of my unceasing email texts; “it’s enough!” Yet, how we use technology and the technological identities we carve out are much more meaningful than the superficial activities they appear to be.  As we discovered in our CultureQ study, people want...

What’s next for brands? Seven lessons from 2012.

As we’re awaiting the final results of our end of year study to gain a more in-depth understanding of the Zeitgeist, we’ve been discussing what’s next for brands in 2013 based upon our learning from CultureQ over the past Summer and Autumn.  As always, we’ve been reviewing the data from our research in the context of socio-cultural and political events. The highly anticipated IPO of Facebook, the largest in the technology sector and the second biggest offering ever, kicked off Summer. Surely, there was no clearer symbol of Facebook’s market dominance. Anticipation quickly led to speculation about the integrity of the offering, Facebook’s revenue strategy, and many of the company’s policies and strategy, and the public became more cynical about the extent to which Facebook values the people it connects. Consumers are growing notably more frustrated and less forgiving of brands they judge as taking more than they give Although participants in CultureQ respect brands such as Facebook as leaders, they are growing notably more frustrated and less forgiving of those they judge to be taking more than they give. Facebook is one of the few leadership brands that our participants did not also name as a top favorite brand. Increasingly, people’s favorites offer a mutually beneficial relationship that recognizes their contributions to brand development as well as their role in bringing a brand to life. Engaging with users as people rather than just consumers is especially important for brands that want to connect with Millennials. As summer wore on, Chick-fil-A aptly demonstrated the danger of a brand being associated with views that are misaligned with many of its...

Millennials: Humor them

It was Nick Shore’s MTV Insights Article “Q: What’s the Opposite of Nirvana?” that led me to question the role humor plays in the lives of Millennials and explore a bit more about how marketers are using comedy to capture our attention. “As someone charged with studying Millennial behaviors, motivations, insights and trends I have, of course, bandied about a lot of rhetoric about the generation using optimism, fun and unity as their way of pushing back on Gen X values. Of a generation bullishly refusing to go to the dark side, even in the face of, say, a trillion dollar pile of student debt,” Shore writes. We’re all pushing hard to stay afloat through challenging times. And, well, humor is the perfect antidote to our overwhelming everyday struggles. We bond equally over dim-witted Internet memes (they’re really inside jokes for our generation) and intellectual, witty humor on shows like The Colbert Report, The Office, and New Girl—just to name a few. In the run-up to the 2012 election, Comedy Central partnered with TRU Insights and Insight Research to analyze the role humor plays in Millennials’ political beliefs, behaviors and capturing their vote. According to the study, “62% like it when politicians use their sense of humor; 55% want politicians to show their sense of humor more often; and 54% agree the funnier a politician, the more likeable he/she is.” Obama apadted a looser, more easygoing demeanor than Romney throughout his campaign, and often relied on jesting to undercut his opponent. While I’m by no means attributing Obama’s success in the Presidential race to his comical advantage, it’s interesting...

Good Brand Citizenship, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

October 29th 2012. No power. No cell phone reception. No water – we’re on a well. This is our situation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. It could have been so much worse. Whole communities across the North East of America have been devastated, thousands of houses arbitrarily rearranged, businesses forced to close, not to mention cars and transport links submerged as Sandy did her worst. And at her most uncompromising she took multiple lives. The number of people who lost everything in the storm is still somewhat unclear but growing. On Wednesday I began to slowly reconnect with the outside world through email. (Thank goodness for the beneficence of the local gym, which has become the temporary home we share with countless other families from across our community.) As I fired up my laptop, hundreds of unread emails leaked into my inbox. As I scanned their headings and abruptly selected the delete command it struck me how many of these messages did not acknowledge the events of the past 48 hours, let alone empathize with the people who have suffered in some way. The message was, it’s business as usual; 10% off for outerwear, a great deal on hair color, coupons for holiday gifts, and so the list went on. Does a certain outdoors apparel brand really believe most people in the affected States will be whipping out their credit cards and ordering snow boots when they haven’t got water, some have lost their income, or their worldly possessions? For me, one email stood apart from the rest: J Crew had sent it’s heartfelt condolences to the affected...
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