Last Wednesday, February 20th we held the most recent edition of BE VIACOM Talking Shop, launching THE NEXT NORMAL, a definitive guide to the evolution of the Millennial consumer in 2013 and beyond to media agencies and advertising clients in London.

Research is where we begin and brand opportunities are where we finish. And this is why we have some added some leading trends and futures thinking to our Millennials insight study.

We have overlaid trends and futures thinking to help project the likely directions our insights will take. As part of this we have identified emergent consumer expressions we can see on the ground and, in our opinion, brand opportunities for those wishing to engage with Millenials.

Key Findings:

The economy is the #1 influencer on the Millennial generation

This is a generation facing up to harsh reality and you might expect this to lead to a general feeling of despondency – but on average three quarters describe themselves as very happy.  In fact, happiness levels outweigh stress levels by a factor of over 2 to 1 (33% describing themselves as stressed).

It leaves a legacy of fear around future job security:

  • Globally, half of the world’s Millennials believe job security will continue to get worse
  • We have seen a steep decline since 2006 in the belief that youth today will earn more than their parents (just over a quarter strongly agree now)
  • Little wonder then that 78% globally say it’s better to have a job paying minimum wage than to have no job at all

Our macro-trend for the economy is…Winning not Whining

Millennials are honestly and practically facing up to reality and preparing themselves for the future.

  • They have accepted tough times.
  • So they have a desire to regain control and prepare for uncertain times.

Based on this trend there are some consumer expressions evident on the ground that illustrate it well:

  • Taking Control – positive and proactive pragmatism applied across life
  • Braining Up – finding skills and knowledge from new sources
  • Brand Aid – enabling, upskilling and providing support

Despite this, we are seeing high levels of happiness among Millennials

Happiness is a key indicator of success (it ranks #1, way above material riches, good looks or fame); and the key drivers of happiness are spending time with family and friends.

Our macro-trend for happiness is…Seeking Meaning

Millennials are consuming experiences to get more out of life and seeking the real and authentic.

  • Recalibration of what matters, what makes them feel good and what they can afford to experience.
  • Brand literacy and marketing savvy means rejection of spun or shallow in favour of deep and real.

Based on this trend there are some consumer expressions evident on the ground that illustrate it well:

  • Storytelling – looking for experiences to share
  • Digital Detoxing – technology being turned off in order to regain balance
  • Love Brands – delivering authentic experiences by connecting to passion points

Family, friends and community matter most

Confirming findings from previous research, we can confirm that Millennials put people first, and particularly family – this has now been proved to be true and consistent across the globe.  In a world where trust in society and authority figures is extremely low, family provide a sense of closeness and inspiration.

  • 45% of all 9-30s globally say their #1 best friend is someone within the family

Our macro-trend for family, friends & community is…Trust Networks

Millennials have narrowed their networks to the family and those friends closest to them, while at the same time renewing an interest in their community and region.

  • Falling trust levels mean Millennials are choosing to invest time in those closest.
  • Renewed interest in regions, locality and neighbourhoods as these offer the generation the reassurance of roots in changing times.

Based on this trend there are some consumer expressions evident on the ground that illustrate it well:

  • Local Heroes – interest in community and community-level consumption
  • Network Fertilisation – smaller, more niche social communities
  • Brand As Family – facilitating close connections and personal interactions

Glocalness is a generational definer

Looking beyond their immediate world, we see that Millennials are also increasingly expressing a sense of affinity with their country.  Their sense of national pride is growing stronger and they are more likely than 6 years ago to believe it’s important to maintain their country’s traditions. But this doesn’t mean they want to close themselves off from the world or take a narrow view:  73% think it’s great to have people from other countries coming to live here – an indication of the tolerance and flexibility which are key defining traits for this generation

We see this emerging world view as “connected and curious”. They are actively curious about the world (87%) and they want to share and connect (87%).  They demonstrate a strong tendency to think about community – real and virtual – both at national and international level.  We often talk about glocalisation in terms of brands; here we see a truly positive display of glocalisation in action at a deeper level.

  • 84% agree “my age group has the potential to change the world for the better”
  • 73% agree “having access to the internet changes the way I think about the world”

Our macro-trend for glocalness is…Open Source

Millennials are open-minded and inclusive: feeding off the global community and thriving on change.

  • They are a naturally communal generation – open to the new and able to embrace change.
  • Serious interest in global issues and connected to global trends.

Based on this trend there are some consumer expressions evident on the ground that illustrate it well:

  • Going Global – glocalism driving trends and brands faster around the world
  • Communal Culture –  communal events reflecting a desire for WE not ME
  • Brand New – provide provide inspirational glocal content and experiences

Partner take-aways

  1. Brand Aid: enabling, upskilling and providing support
  2. Love Brands: delivering authentic experiences by connecting to passion points
  3. Brand As Family: facilitating close connections and personal interactions
  4. Brand New: provide inspirational global content and experiences

We enjoyed presenting our findings to the industry, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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