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.
“They acknowledge that technology can support their goals, but also that it can work against them,” Caruso says. “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.”
Millennials feel particularly bullish about their future: 60% are optimistic about their personal finances, compared to only 40% of the general population -- and 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 tells Marketing Daily.
“They are leading change through a different conversation around education, lifestyle and entertainment, purpose and politics,” she says. “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,” Caruso says. “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,” Caruso says. “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.
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) and “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.