Although it originated primarily as a social and political movement, the anti-Establishment ethos affected lifestyle habits and consumer behavior, changing the way American business works.
YouthNation: Building Remarkable Brands in a Youth-Driven Culture by Matt Britton argues that the counterculture of the Sixties has become the culture today.
In the past, adults were the source of information, knowledge and insight about the world, which was passed on to younger people. Until very recently. Now the principles of millennials are the driving force behind innovation, growth and competitive advantage.
As a result of American technological revolution, according to Britton, we are now living in a YouthNation or a “hyper-socialized, experience-obsessed marketplace” that is no longer an age group or demographic. It is a culture available to everyone spread by technology and social media.
That means every aspect of the modern economy is affected: the value of college education, definition of success, status symbols, customer behavior, etc.
Today, experiences drive an increasing significance in the identities of young Americans. The constant desire for experience has created trends that suggest negative connotation, such as DIFTI (Did it for the Instagram) or FOMO/FauxMo (fear of missing out), to name a few.
Conversely, that same addiction to a digital experience promotes sharing and widening access versus consuming and discarding. This desire for connectivity creates the peer-driven ecosystem, he claims, that is always hungry for shareable experiences.
That’s true even if the portrayal of reality is distorted through social media platforms.
This shift from consuming to experiencing has a profound impact on the way that brands approach their market. Essentially, shareable experience is what everyone, regardless of age, wants.
YouthNation is packed with numerous case studies, millennial trends and guidelines for brands willing to play the new rules of the game.
One caveat: most leaders of today’s large corporations grew up in a pre-Internet world. Their perspective, attitude and the subsequent course of action is characterized by bureaucracy and taking a tried-and-true path.
The cultural shift that Britton writes about is not unbridgeable, but rather “the belief structures… that are simply worlds away from Americans of prior generations.” And what really matters is the divide between those in the know and those on the outside.YouthNation offers a comprehensive and sound insight about the culture that has forever altered the American business landscape. Britton masterfully switches between painting the big picture and spelling out concepts and trends relevant to YouthNation brands and entrepreneurs.