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EURO RSCG WORLDWIDE Vol. 11, 2011MILLEnnIaLS:The ChallengerGeneration
Who Are Prosumers?They are today’s leading influencers and market drivers. These proactive and informed consumershave always been important, but they have grown even more powerful thanks to their skillfulembrace of new technologies and, especially, social media. Euro RSCG has been tracking Prosumers formore than a decade and in that time has interviewed well over 50,000 adults around the globe.Prosumers are important to us because, beyond their own economic impact, they influence thebrand choices and consumption behaviors of others. Simply put, what Prosumers are doing today,mainstream consumers are likely to be doing six to 18 months from now. We invite you to learnmore about Prosumers and our Prosumer studies at www.prosumer-report.com.
Since the century’s start, we’ve heard a profusion of terms usedto describe the generation born between the mid-1980s and early2000s: digital natives, coined by Mark Prensky to emphasizetheir break from the analogue generations that had gone before;millennials, to designate them as children of the new millennium;gen Y, to indicate they followed gen X, or gen why, in a nod totheir questioning natures; echo boomers, to underscore their largenumbers; and so on. Our inability to settle on a single monikeroffers proof that this is a generation difficult to pigeonhole — andeven harder to understand. Our trouble may well lie in the fact thatwe are attempting to view these young men and women throughthe prism of the baby boomer generation — using criteria of littlerelevance to those just now coming of age.TABLE OF CONTENTS3 Introduction4 Millennial Generation7 Stop Viewing Youth Through Outdated Stereotypes15 Millennials Seek a Compromise Between Continuity and Change18 The Rise of Soft Power24 How Millennials Will Change the Workplace28 How Does This Apply to Their Consumption Habits? The Millennial Generation 3
Millennial GenerationSo, how do we go about developing a firmer understandingof the members of this generation, whom Euro RSCG haschosen to call millennials? We must identify what sets themapart from earlier generations and what holds them togetheras a demographic — looking at their shared values, strengths,and points of promise. Three important differences areimmediately apparent:Millennials live in an ultra-connected WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR GENERATIONworld in which constraints of time and AND THE PREVIOUS ONE?space have all but disappeared.It has been said many times before, but it Age: The younger Age:bears repeating: Thanks to the Web andsocial media, virtually everything is but a 40 –55 generation is more digital My generation is more digital 18 –25click away for this generation. They don’t Worldwide Worldwideconsider the unprecedented period of 41% 40%technological innovation into which they Prosumers Prosumers N/A 47%were born extraordinary; it is simply “the Mainstream Mainstreamway things are.” This affects how they N/A 39% United States United Statesconceptualize and problem-solve. They are 51% 53%more iterative than linear, more prone to United Kingdom United Kingdom 61% 49%multitasking than monotasking. For them, France Francedigital is more habit than tool; it is simply the 48% 46% China Chinaway they interact with their environments, 28% 25%as natural as eating and drinking. A plurality India India 19% 28%of respondents to Euro RSCG’s Millennialssurvey — especially those in Westernmarkets — agreed that being “more digital”is the biggest distinction between the Prosumer Point: Across generations, Prosumers are moreyounger generation and their elders. technologically minded than the mainstream. Millennial Prosumers were significantly more likely than others to cite “being more digital” as the most important factor thatThey were born into a post-communist, sets their generation apart.one-model world.Too young to remember the Berlin Wall asanything but a pile of rubble, the SovietUnion, or the Cold War, millennials haveknown only the model of liberal capitalism.While conflicts and pockets of totalitarianismremain, these young people have grown upin an unprecedented period of political and4 Prosumer Report Vol. 11
economic standardization. And this impacts Our Methodologytheir relationship with the world and their Working with our research partners at MicroDialogue,notion of conflict: For the most part, they Euro RSCG Worldwide fielded an online survey in fivebelieve in continuity and gradual change countries — China, France, India, the United Kingdom,rather than ideological schisms born of and the United States — in summer 2010. In eachcompeting economic theories. There is little country, we questioned 600 respondents, equallynotion of “us vs. them” on a global scale. split between men and women and divided between two age cohorts: 500 millennials aged 18 to 25They live in a time of uncertainty, (average age 22.4) and 100 adults aged 40 to 55with a shifting geopolitical balance. (average age 47.1). Total sample: 3,004. All data in thisWhereas their parents grew up in a world report come solely from the millennials sample exceptlargely divided by the Cold War, today’s where otherwise indicated.young people live under the even lesspredictable and equally unsettling specter We included the older sample in our study of theof terrorism. Their reference points are millennial generation in order to better understand9/11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and intergenerational perceptions and distinctions. Thereligion-based enmities and uprisings. They inclusion of both developed and emerging marketshave no way of knowing where the next gives us insights into intragenerational differences inbomb will detonate, where the next atrocity Western countries (where everyone appears to havewill occur. And this means they value “been there, done that”) and the East (where so muchadaptation over planning, flexibility and remains to be invented and explored).compromise over intransigence. Long-rangeplanning has grown obsolete. Select charts are included in this report.As philosopher Antonio Gramsci noted abouthis own time nearly a century ago, we areliving in a period in which “the old world isdying and the new is yet to be born.” In anage in which the world seems hesitant andunsure, millennial youth represent a forcefor change and reinvention.In this study we explore the paradoxes of ageneration that is inventing, day after day,a way of living that embraces both continuityand change, a strategy not of revolutionbut of slow yet deep evolution. And we’llexamine how this applies in two specificfields: the workplace and consumerism. The Millennial Generation 5
Stop Viewing YouthThrough OutdatedStereotypesI DON’T HAVE ANY COMMON VALUES WITH THE YOUNG GENERATION Stereotype No. 1: “I say ‘no,’ therefore I am.”Age: Disagree Neither In the 1960s, being young meant being40 –55 Agree “against” — against bourgeois values, against the so-called military-industrial complex,Worldwide 52% 26% 22% against authority of all types, and againstUnited States the mores of the older generation. Youth 52% 25% 23%United Kingdom expressed themselves by adopting a 56% 31% 13% new, decadent form of music and sexuallyFrance 66% 21% 13% provocative clothing, at once shocking theirChina elders and establishing their individualism. 40% 27% 34%India Parents and youth lived in two very 46 % 26% 28% different worlds. Today, in contrast, young and old inhabit a single world, enjoying virtually the same things and sharing key values. We have entered what might be called the Reconciliation Age. The millennials in ourI DON’T HAVE ANY COMMON VALUES WITH THE PREVIOUS GENERATION survey sample firmly rejected the notionAge: Disagree that they don’t hold values in common with the older generations — a notion dismissed Neither18 –25 Agree by the 40–55 cohort as well. Young and old listen to much the same music, useWorldwide the same technologies (though there are 57 % 26% 17%Prosumers differences), and engage in many of the 70% 15% 14% same activities. We can see this connectionMainstream 55% 28% 18% in the advertising campaign of EuropeanUnited States fashion brand Comptoir des Cotonniers, 57 % 26% 17%United Kingdom which shows mothers and daughters 56% 28% 16% sharing everything — from clothes to secretsFrance 65% 24% 11% and social engagements. While young babyChina boomers in the 1960s and 1970s famously 58% 27% 14%India vowed not to trust anyone over age 30, 47% 25% 29% their children and grandchildren have no such qualms about the older set. The Millennial Generation 7
Stereotype No. 2: “They think ofparents only as their personal ATMs.”Smart phones and social media givemillennials all sorts of ways to communicateand socialize. And they make full useof that capability: 56 percent say socialnetworking sites are a main way they stayconnected with friends.This constant connectivity — includinginstant access to friends and entertainment— is how millennials communicate andsocialize, conduct business, and explorethe world. And, if they so choose, they canuse these same tools to minimize or evenavoid contact with anyone, including theirparents. They enjoy a level of freedomand control heretofore unknown to youth. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM THE PREVIOUS GENERATION?Interestingly — and in contrast to the Moneyclichés of young people viewing their Adviceparents only as a steady source of cash Recognition— our study found that millennials in the That they leave me in peacefive markets actually want to interact with Worldwidetheir parents. They look to them less as a 7% 61% 19% 12%source of money than as a repository of Prosumers 3% 70% 18% 9%advice and information. Six in 10 millennial Mainstreamrespondents rely on their parents for 8% 60% 20% 12% United Statesadvice, while only 7 percent admitted their 7% 68% 14% 11%greatest expectation was to receive money United Kingdom 8% 69% 14% 9%from them. As significant, these young Francepeople are more apt to want recognition 6% 68% 18% 8% Chinafrom their parents than to want to be left 10% 45% 32% 13%in peace. India 7% 55% 19% 19%This is not a generation looking to tuneout its elders but to learn from them andbe guided by them. It might be expectedthat these digital natives would value Web-based information above all other sources. Prosumer Point: Prosumers are significantly more apt than their mainstream counterparts to value theirAfter all, with the Internet and social media, parents as dispensers of advice rather than money. Thisthe world is open. They can find what they is in keeping with their greater-than-average hunger forwant, when they want simply by clicking on information and knowledge.Wikipedia or Googling it. This generation’sentire approach to education — beginningwell before secondary school — haschanged.8 Prosumer Report Vol. 11
When I was at college I spent all my time at the library.Today my son, who’s a college student, is at home. He has everything accessible to him at the tip of his fingers. — Irene B., Internet publisher, New York TO TELL ME THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE WORLD, I TRUST... My parents Religious institutions Politicians Traditional media Books The Internet My friends Under 5% is represented with visual graphic only. Worldwide 25% 14% 18% 21% 7% 12% Prosumers 18% 16% 22% 26% 7% 10% Mainstream 26% 13% 17% 21% 7% 12% United States 23% 12% 20% 21% 6% 13% United Kingdom 25 % 12% 19% 20% 6% 14% France 11% 18% 18% 31% 8% 12% China 34% 10% 12% 21% 10% 8% India 30% 17% 21% 12% 5% 8% Prosumer Point: It is a strong Prosumer tendency to pursue multiple avenues in the search for information. Whereas mainstream respondents cited their parents as their most trusted source of information, Prosumer millennials give more credence to experts in science and to the knowledge they can cull from information sources online and in traditional media. These are men and women who dig deep and wide. The Millennial Generation 9
IT’S VERY IMPORTANT THAT MY PARENTS TRUST ME Age: 18 –25 Agree Worldwide 92% Prosumers 95% Mainstream 92% United States 90% United Kingdom 91% France 92% China 92% India 95% RELIGION WILL BE A MORE IMPORTANT PART OF MY LIFE THAN IT WAS FOR MY PARENTS Disagree Neither 18 –25 Agree 68%10 Prosumer Report Vol. 11
Yet in every single market other thanFrance, millennials were more apt to citetheir parents as their most trusted sourceof information, above the Internet, abovetraditional media, above their friends, andespecially above politicians and religiousinstitutions. Looking at the global sample,only science and scientists come closeto the level of trust parents engender,although there are differences by country:While the American and British respondentswere just about equally likely to trustscience and the Internet (with parents stilleking out a first-place finish), the Frenchand Chinese were significantly more likelyto trust science over the Web. In India, theInternet is considered significantly moretrustworthy as a source of information thanthe pronouncements of scientists.Further evidence of the respect this younggeneration accords its parents comes fromthe statement “It is very important to methat my parents trust me.” Whereas youngbaby boomers would have been loath toadmit they were interested in earning theirparents’ high regard, members of this newgeneration are almost unanimous in theirdesire for their parents’ trust, ranging froma (not at all) low of 90 percent in the UnitedStates to a high of 95 percent in India.The clear lack of trust in politicians andreligious leaders speaks to the currentdearth of respected authority figures insocieties around the globe. With thesetraditional sources of immutable “truths”removed from the equation, parentswield greater influence in this era ofdisinformation and suspect motives. Thedismal scores reaped by religious leadersalso are in keeping with what appears tobe a broad movement away from religiosity:Only 16 percent of the millennials surveyedsaid religion will be a more important partof their lives than it was for their parents,while nearly two-thirds (63 percent)disagreed, including 43 percent who disagreedstrongly. Just more than two-thirds of thesample (67 percent) believe the world willbe less religious in 2030 than it is today.
Stereotype No. 3: “They are I CONSIDER MYSELF HAPPYdisenchanted and cynical.” Age:Millennials are made to suffer for the sins oftheir forebears, it seems: Many older adults 18 –25 Agreeassume this generation is marked by the Worldwidesame sort of apathy and cynicism ascribed 68%to the “slacker” gen Xers. And young people Prosumersdo have plenty to complain about, after 78%all, what with having had their childhoods Mainstreampunctuated by terrorist atrocities and their 67%young adulthoods taking place in the midst United States 74%of a global recession. And yet we have United Kingdomfound that millennials are able to distance 65%their own lives from the daunting problems — Francesocioeconomic, political, environmental — 67%they see all around them. Despite an abun- Chinadance of uncertainties and fears, more than 61% Indiatwo-thirds of young people (68 percent) 73%consider themselves happy, while only 13percent take the opposing view. Prosumer Point: Is Prosumerism a key to happiness?Declarations of happiness were remarkably Perhaps so. Prosumers scored higher on the happinessconsistent across all five markets, with statements across each of the five markets.Americans and Indians only slightly morelikely than the rest to be happy. Least I CONSIDER MYSELF HAPPIER THAN OTHER PEOPLE MY AGEhappy: Chinese youth, but, even there, sixin 10 are living on the sunny side. Four in10 millennials — and a majority of Indians Age:and Americans — consider themselves notonly happy but actually happier than other 18 –25 Agree Worldwidepeople their age, while only two in 10 43%believe they are less happy than most of Prosumerstheir peers. 56% MainstreamOn an individual level, millennials are able 42%to appreciate the positives in their lives. For United Statesthe most part, they were born into a world 52% United Kingdomthat desired them, and they are not locked 37%in battle with their parents. Their countries Franceare relatively stable, and their prospects are 30%encouraging — even if, in the Western Chinamarkets, they are unlikely to surpass the 43%standards of living enjoyed by earlier India 53%generations.12 Prosumer Report Vol. 11
IN 20 YEARS, THE WORLD WILL BE MORE DANGEROUSAge:18 –25 AgreeWorldwide 74%Prosumers 77%Mainstream 74%United States 70%United Kingdom 74%France 85%China On a societal level, however, millennials 67% are keenly aware of the many issuesIndia facing their cities, countries, and world. So 76% while they are optimistic about their own prospects, they worry about the future in general. They believe, for instance, that in 20 years the world will be more dangerous (74 percent agree overall, including 85 percent in France), more pollutedIN 20 YEARS, THE WORLD WILL BE MORE POLLUTED (79 percent), and less peaceful (63Age: percent). And, while a majority (54 percent) expect the world to be wealthier in 2030,18 –25 Agree nearly as many (52 percent) believe it will also be less egalitarian. In other words,Worldwide the divide between rich and poor will 79% continue to grow. (As might be expected,Prosumers 79% the emerging markets of India and ChinaMainstream went their own way on that last statement, 79% believing the world will grow both richerUnited States and more egalitarian.) 75%United Kingdom 80%France 87%China 74%India 80% The Millennial Generation 13
Millennials Seek aCompromise BetweenContinuity and ChangeToday’s youth are unequivocal about the need for change:92 percent of millennials believe the world must undergoreal change, as do 82 percent of older respondents.While change is something millennialsseek, they are mindful of the challengesahead: Half the global millennial sample(51 percent) admit to feeling powerless inthe face of the world’s problems. However,there are two important qualifiers: First,only 16 percent agreed strongly with thatstatement. Second, the global figure isskewed by the French response: Nearlytwo-thirds of French respondents admit toa sense of powerlessness, compared withjust four in 10 Americans, Indians, andChinese. French youth are also significantlymore likely to believe the world cannotchange because power is concentrated inthe hands of the few and the rich. Slightlymore than three-quarters of Frenchmillennials feel this way, whereas less thanhalf of the more optimistic Americans andChinese do so.Whatever their doubts and concerns,millennials are determined to overcomethem in order to help build a better future:84 percent believe their generation has aduty to change the world, and 82 percentare convinced they have the power to do so. The Millennial Generation 15
Why the strong sense of empowerment? We see two key factors at play:MY GENERATION HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD They have faith in themselves and the trust of their elders. Nearly all the millennials surveyed — 93 percent — consider it very important to18 –25 Agree have faith in themselves, and they clearly do in this regard. Faith in their generation’sWorldwide 82% power to effect change is particularly strong in the emerging market of India 89% (91 percent believe the millennial generation has the power to change the world) and in 81% the can-do U.S. (88 percent). Once more, 88% France emerges as the pessimist in the group, with only 68 percent of millennials 80% expressing faith in their generation. 68% And that pessimism extends to older respondents as well: Only around one-third 83% of French respondents aged 40 to 55 91% believe today’s youth have more power than their own generation to change the world. This compares with a global total of 63 percent and totals of 84 and 75 percent, respectively, in India and China. Interestingly,I HAVE MORE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD a majority of millennials believe it isTHAN MY PARENTS DID AT MY AGE women, not men, who will lead change. (ForAge: additional insights, see the Prosumer Report “Gender Shift: Are Women the New Men?”18 –25 Agree at www.prosumer-report.com.)Worldwide 50% They have the right tools for change.Prosumers The millennial generation is convinced it has 68% what it takes to change the world because itMainstream believes in the power of individuals, working 48%United States together, over the power of governments 53% and entrenched political institutions. This isUnited Kingdom a generation that perceives being involved 46% with an NGO or charitable organization asFrance 32% a faster pathway to change than workingChina within a political party. They are also keenly 60% aware of the power accorded them by socialIndia media and consumerism. They are rejecting 62% the traditional “hard” power (e.g., politics, violent protest) in favor of a softer approach that emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and community.16 Prosumer Report Vol. 11
IT’S VERY IMPORTANT FOR ME THAT I HAVE FAITH IN MYSELFAge:18 –25 AgreeWorldwide 93%Prosumers 99%Mainstream 92%United States 91%United Kingdom 91%France 93%China 98%India 95%TODAY’S YOUTH HAVE MORE POWER THAN MYGENERATION TO CHANGE THE WORLDAge:40 –55 AgreeWorldwide 63%United States 65%United Kingdom 53%France 36%China 75%India 84% The Millennial Generation 17
The Rise of Soft Power Revolution was the rallying cry of the baby boom generation, many of whom sought the wholesale overturning of governments and cultures. For their millennial grandchildren,“Burn baby, burn” has given way to something more moderate and considered.What do millennials regard as the most WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT QUALITIES YOURimportant quality they need to improve GENERATION NEEDS TO POSSESS?the world? Coming in dead last out ofa selection of eight possible responseswas “armed fighting.” And even “peaceful 18 –25 Determination Creativityprotest” was second to last. Looking at the Shown in Courage Determinationoverall sample (not shown in chart), the order of importance, Creativity Couragemost important “weapons” today’s youth from topbelieve they possess are determination Faith Kindnessand creativity, followed by courage, Energy Faithkindness, faith, energy, and empathy.No raised fists here. Kindness Energy Empathy EmpathyFor this first post-ideological generation,change is a lot less political and a lot more Peaceful protest Peaceful protestpersonal. Personal because millennials Armed fighting Armed fightingsee a myriad of ways in which they canmake some small contribution to change I DON’T BELIEVE IN REVOLUTION; CHANGE IS GRADUAL,on their own — through their spending, WITH MUTATION AND SLOW-BUT-DEEP ALTERATIONSeco-conscious behaviors, and persuasiveblogging, for example — and also because Disagreethe change they seek has everything to Neitherdo with people and very little to do withpolitical ideology. Their concept of change 18 –25 Agreeis not about rioting and power grabs butabout gradual improvements brought aboutby incremental changes in behaviors andattitudes. Only 39 percent of millennialsagree “there will be no change without arevolution,” while 29 percent disagreewith the notion and 32 percent are neutral.A plurality (42 percent) say they don’tbelieve in revolution at all. For them,change is something that’s gradual —slow but enduring. They adhere to theGandhian notion that you should “bethe change you want to see in the world.”18 Prosumer Report Vol. 11
What steps do they believe people shouldtake in order to bring about change? While58 percent (ranging from 48 percent inFrance to 70 percent in India) believe“starting new political movements” is key,the most popular responses were decidedly SOCIAL MEDIA IS A FORCE FOR CHANGEmore personal and aimed squarely ateconomic and environmental sustainability:63 percent believe people should drive less, Age:and 62 percent say people should consumeless. The idea of reducing consumption is 18 –25 Agreeparticularly valued in the hyperconsumerist Worldwide 70%cultures of the U.S. and U.K. (chosen by Prosumers75 and 78 percent of those samples, 79% Mainstreamrespectively). Not surprisingly, respondents 69%from India — poised to overtake China as United States 72%the world’s most populous country — were United Kingdommost likely to agree (85 percent) that 73% Francehaving fewer children is the most important 62%change people can make. China 58% IndiaTwo increasingly powerful tools are 86%being called into play by change-focusedmillennials:Social MediaSixty-one percent of millennials think socialmedia is the “new power of youth,” and 70 Prosumer Point: Prosumers are a driving force behind thepercent consider it a force for change. In growth and new uses of social media, and that is reflectedfact, they consider “the people, empowered in their survey responses. They are far more likely than the mainstream to be convinced of social media’s powerby social media” a greater agent of change and utility. And a majority believe social networking will bethan politics — by a margin of more than the most powerful agent of change — above politics, abovetwo to one. Having witnessed the influence corporations, and above consumerism.and power of social networking in Iran’sGreen Revolution, the ousting of Egypt’sHosni Mubarak, and other events, youngpeople understand this new medium’scapacity as a tool for organization, protest,and, yes, change. And they are also awareof the pivotal role their generation isplaying in growing and developing newsocially and politically active uses forsocial media. Millennials are spearheadingaction campaigns aimed at everything frompreserving the natural world to protectingthe victims of abuse. For additionalinsights, please see Euro RSCG’s whitepaper “Millennials and Social Media” atwww.eurorscgsocial.com.20 Prosumer Report Vol. 11
Conscientious Consumption As noted previously, nearly two-thirds of millennials believe reducing consumption is an important pathway to global change. And nearly half believe the things they consume have more power to changeI BELIEVE THAT THE THINGS I CONSUME HAVE MORE POWER things than the people they vote for. InTO CHANGE THINGS THAN THE PEOPLE I VOTE FOR other words, product choices trump politics. Disagree And so do corporations: 40 percent believe corporations have a greater capacity than Neither governments to create change, while18 –25 Agree only 27 percent disagree. These figures show a real disaffection between youth and politics; there is little sense of faith in politicians and governmental leaders to solve the world’s problems. That explains why at the global youth forum One Young World in 2010, the most applauded guest was not highly respected former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan but Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and champion of the microcredit movement. Youth understand that business solutions can very often be more expedient and successful than political devices. What’s the greatest obstacle youth face in their quest for change? Lack of generational unity — cited by 30 percent — was the most popular answer. By coming together through social media and acting collectively as a consumer force, this generation, we believe, has the potential to change the world in meaningful and positive ways. The Millennial Generation 21
GOVERNMENTS HAVE LESS POWER THANCORPORATIONS/COMPANIES TO CHANGE THINGS Disagree Neither18 –25 Agree Prosumer Point: Prosumers are opinionated and decisive. Forty of the statements in our survey included a “neither agree nor disagree” option, allowing respondents to avoid making a commitment in either direction. In every single instance, Prosumers were less likely to choose that “safe” choice — and typically by a sizeable margin.WHAT ARE THE YOUTH OF TODAY LACKING MOST IF THEYWANT TO BE A GREATER FORCE FOR CHANGE?18 –25 Under 5% is represented with visual graphic only.22 Prosumer Report Vol. 11
How Millennials WillChange the Workplace HOW DO YOU THINK PEOPLE BECOME SUCCESSFUL?We live in a world of superficiality andinstant fame. Celebrity is conferred on Doing well in school Being hardworkingthose who do nothing more than post Being lucky Having self-confidence 18 –25 Having parents with high Being healthy and beautifula silly video on YouTube or appear on a social status Worldwideso-called reality show. In what seemed 31% 40%to be no time at all, the heavily 24%(fake) tanned and hard-partying 73% 63%Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi went from an 22% United Statesappearance on an episode of MTV’s 44%“Is She Really Going Out with Him?” to 38% 29%being a cast member on “Jersey Shore” — 82% 65%to ringing the opening bell at the New 29%York Stock Exchange, being one of the United Kingdom 34%most popular Halloween costumes 49%in the U.S. (2010), and being signed 33% 79%to write a book. A lack of substance 62% 22%reigns supreme. France 31% 32% 17% 64%In this atmosphere, one might presume that 63%young people would be disinclined to work 14%hard and pay their dues, expecting instead Chinathe sort of instant fame and fortune they 31%see bestowed upon their media-magnet 47%peers. In reality, the millennial generation 23% 68%considers effort and attitude the most 59%important ingredients for success: 27%73 percent cited “being hardworking” as Indiakey to achievement, and 63 percent said 12%“having self-confidence” is vital. In sharp 35%contrast, the way one looks and the social 17%status of one’s parents were cited as 71%important by less than a quarter of the 67%sample. No matter how much evidence they 20%see to the contrary, the young still believein the meritocratic model.24 Prosumer Report Vol. 11
WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT FIRST WHEN CHOOSING A JOB? Age: 18 –25 Under 5% is represented with visual graphic only.This doesn’t mean they are naïve.Millennials have developed a pragmaticand utilitarian approach to the workworld. For them, work is primarily aboutearning money (45 percent chose thisresponse) rather than such “softer” aims aspersonal fulfillment (25 percent) or being aproductive member of society (12 percent).They live, after all, in a capitalist societyand understand they must earn a living tosurvive. That said, salary is only one factorthey look at when considering a job offer —and, for nearly three-quarters of them, it’snot even the most important one. Whenasked to choose the single most importantfactor in a job, 37 percent cited the abilityto balance work and life, while just 28percent cited salary and 23 percent saidwork atmosphere. Combining the scoresfor life-work balance and atmosphere, itis clear that millennials expect at leastsome degree of happiness in their worksituations. Money is not a sufficientcounterbalance to misery.The unique way in which this newgeneration interacts with and views theworld will bring about three importantworkplace shifts. The Millennial Generation 25
Novelty and Learning as Major Drivers COMPARED WITH PREVIOUS GENERATIONS, IIt’s hardly news that millennials are BELIEVE MY GREATEST CAREER STRENGTH IS...multitaskers, switching easily betweentechnologies and topics, and quickly bored.Their proactive, nonlinear approach to their Age:personal lives extends into the workplaceas well. Millennials value variety and 18 –25learning; they like to pick through a widearray of sources to pull out the informationof most interest and relevance to them,and they prefer to take an individualizedapproach to organization and planning.Their work style relies heavily on thefour Cs of customization, communication,collaboration, and creativity. When weasked what their biggest career strengthswere vis-à-vis older generations, they weremost apt to cite their greater creativity(33 percent), followed by their skills as The flipside of the need for constantcommunicators (26 percent), and speed feedback is millennials’ unwillingness to(25 percent). For millennials, work is go along with the notion that expertisemore of an ongoing process than discrete is something earned over the courseprojects with clear beginning and end of decades rather than years or evenpoints. And, rather than work in isolation months. This generation came of age inand start any project from scratch, they a time of rapid change and technologicalare more likely than their elders to advancement. Growing up, they were aptadapt existing work to their own needs, to be the family technology experts, andcollaborating with others both online and so the idea that they might know moreoffline along the way. about something than their elders — that they might actually qualify as “experts” onSmart employers are making changes in specific topics — is not at all foreign to them.their processes to get the most out of They want to be accorded the respect theythese young workers. For example, GE feel is their due and to be appreciated forhas created an internal social networking their contributions. They know full wellsite — MarkNet — to allow its thousands of that, with new disciplines and categoriesmarketing professionals around the world emerging every day, sometimes it is youthto work together, regardless of location, job who are the “old hands.” When asked whatlevel, or discipline. Participants can engage would be the best sign they are doing wellin conversations, ask questions, and share within their company, 46 percent of ourlinks to information. millennial sample said “being recognized as an expert in the field,” while only 25 percentMillennials also have been found to require said “a promotion” and 20 percent saidmore feedback than earlier generations, “a raise in salary.”part and parcel of having grown up in anera of helicopter parenting and trophies-for-everyone. They expect regular inputand praise. A 2008 survey by Ernst &Young found, for instance, that 65 percentof millennial workers consider it importantthat they be provided “detailed guidance indaily work.” In response, the firm institutedan online “Feedback Zone,” whereemployees can solicit input and advice.26 Prosumer Report Vol. 11
A Switch from “Toolbox Management”to “Goal Management”Millennials think in terms of objectivesrather than restrictive recipes andstandardized approaches. Being creativeand collaborative means they work betterwhen allowed to choose the tools andpathways they consider most effectivein moving them toward the goal. Smartbusinesses will give their young employeesclearly stated missions, the tools andfeedback they need, and let them blazenew trails. We can expect more companiesto make the most of entrepreneuriallyminded millennials by allowing themsufficient time and latitude to pursueprojects of their own choosing. Googlehas derived much success from its policy THE MOST SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES IN THE FUTURE WILL BEof permitting its engineers to devote 20 THOSE THAT PRACTICE SUSTAINABILITYpercent of their time to company-related Disagreeprojects that interest them. This hasserved not just as a valuable recruitment Neitherand motivational tool, but also as a 18 –25 Agreefertile source of ideas. Gmail and Google Under 5% is represented with visual graphic only.News have both been cited as results ofindependent projects.Purpose Beyond ProfitsJust as consumers are seeking to partnerwith brands that have some greaterpurpose than churning out profits, so,too, are millennial job-seekers gravitatingtoward companies and organizations witha more socially minded purpose. Researchby Experience, Inc. in the U.S. found that Prosumer Point: Prosumers have been leaders in the81 percent of college students and recent green movement, paying closer attention than averagegraduates said it’s important to them to to the environmental impact of the products they buywork for a company that is green-friendly, and the companies with which they do business. This study shows that they are also far more likely than theirgreen-conscious, or green-certified. And mainstream counterparts (90 percent vs. 63 percent) to79 percent said that, faced with two believe that sustainability, going forward, will be a keysimilar offers, they would be more likely determinant in a company’s success.to accept a position with the organizationthat is greener. It may not be entirelyaltruistic: 67 percent of our millennialsample believe the most successfulbusinesses in the future will be thosethat practice sustainability, a notionwith which only 7 percent disagreed. The Millennial Generation 27
How Does This Apply toTheir Consumption Habits?The best way to describe millennials’ relation with brandsis personal. They see the brands and products they buy notjust as utilitarian but as reflections of themselves, includingtheir personalities and values. When asked what they expectfrom a brand, millennials were most apt to say they want itto be useful in their daily lives, followed by its having theability to allow them to express themselves. The extent to which they see the brands WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM A BRAND? they buy as an extension of self can be seen clearly in responses to the question That it is useful“When deciding between two brands, what are the most important considerations?” 18 –25 in my daily life Faced with six possible responses, Shown in order That it allows me to millennials’ first choice was “It has a of importance, express myself from top solid reputation and reflects positively on me,” followed closely by “It listens to That it brings me status me, asks my opinion and takes my views into consideration.” What came in dead That it makes last? Special offers and preferred-customer me dream benefits. Millennials are more concerned with the substance of a company and how it comports itself than with any short-term incentives it might be able to provide.As a consequence of this more personalizedapproach to brands, millennials flockto businesses that help them expresstheir creativity and feel good about their Prosumer Point: Our decade-long study of Prosumerspurchases and usage: Apple, BlackBerry, has shown that they are more than averagely interestedeBay, Facebook, YouTube, to name a few. in brands and expect more from them. This new studyBrands such as these help young people confirms Prosumers’ affinity for brands and, specifically,build their social identities, and that’s their desire to find brand partners that reflect theirof great importance to them: 58 percent of personalities (a factor of importance to more than three- quarters of Prosumers but only slightly more than half ofthe sample agreed, “It is important to me the mainstream).to find brands that reflect my personality.”28 Prosumer Report Vol. 11
WHEN DECIDING BETWEEN TWO BRANDS, WHATARE THE MOST IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS? That it has a solid reputation and reflects18 –25 positively on meShown in That it’s innovative and offers something neworder ofimportance,from top That it listens to me, asks my opinion, and takes my views into consideration That it respects people in its manufacturing processes That it respects the environment That it gives me special offers and preferred- customer benefitsIT IS IMPORTANT FOR ME TO FIND BRANDS IT IS IMPORTANT FOR ME TO FIND BRANDS THATTHAT REFLECT MY PERSONALITY I’M LOYAL TO Disagree Disagree Neither Neither18 –25 Agree 18 –25 Agree The Millennial Generation 29
Additional InsightsMillennials are searching for “compass” Millennials want to be connected tobrands. brands that boost their social status.Despite a reputation for flitting from one This means brands need to communicatebrand to another, 56 percent of mainstream reasons their customers are set apart.millennials and 69 percent of Prosumers Apple has done this brilliantly with itsbelieve it’s important to find brands to emphasis on creativity and (noncorporate)which they can be loyal. And that makes individuality. With its “Most Interesting Mansense given the more personal approach in the World” campaign, Dos Equis taps intothis generation takes to brand relationships. young men’s desire for both status andThey want to find brands in which they can pleasure.believe — and that will reflect positively onthem — over the long term.They want brands that make them feel Brands must build ongoing relationshipsgood about themselves. and points of connectivity.This and earlier Euro RSCG surveys show Millennials want to be able to connectthat millennials want to partner with brands with brands — and receive help andthat respect the environment and the information from them — instantaneouslypeople they touch (customers, employees, and easily. They want brand partners to fitsupply chain). It is part of the broader seamlessly into their social worlds. Bestconsumer movement toward conscientious Buy’s Twelpforce is a great example ofconsumption. (For additional insights, see how to do it right. A collective force of thethe Prosumer Report “The New Consumer company’s technology professionals offersin the Era of Mindful Spending” at www. advice and information and solves problemsprosumer-report.com.) around the clock via Twitter. Nike Running involves customers and others in a global running community, offering everything from motivation and training advice to information on local running clubs and races.3026 Report Vol. 11 Prosumer Report Vol.10
The millennial generation is going to change the world,including how we work and consume. Our industry —indeed, every industry — would do well to learn from themand adapt to them. The extended era of the baby boomersis drawing to a close. The Millennial Generation 26
Prosumer Reports is a series of thought leadershippublications by Euro RSCG Worldwide – part of a globalinitiative to share information and insights, including ourown proprietary research, across the Euro RSCG networkof agencies and client companies.Euro RSCG Worldwide is a leading integrated marketingcommunications agency and was the first agency to benamed Global Agency of the Year by both Advertising Ageand Campaign in the same year. Euro RSCG is made upof 233 offices in 75 countries and provides advertising,marketing, corporate communications, and digital andsocial media solutions to clients, including Air France,BNP Paribas, Charles Schwab, Citigroup, Danone Group,Heineken USA, IBM, Kraft Foods, Lacoste, L’Oréal,Merck, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Pernod Ricard, ReckittBenckiser, sanofi-aventis, and Volvo. Headquartered inNew York, Euro RSCG Worldwide is the largest unit ofHavas, a world leader in communications (Euronext ParisSA: HAV.PA).For more information about Prosumer Reports, please visitwww.prosumer-report.com or contact Naomi Troni, globalchief marketing officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow us on Twitter @prosumer_report.