The world is far more global and interconnected. That’s clearly an understatement. But consider how much things have changed since the 1960s and ‘70s. New technologies and media formats have transformed how we interact, learn, and are entertained. Family dynamics have changed dramatically.
So, what kind of impact have these shifts had on youth marketing? How have young people’s expectations of brands evolved since the dawning of the new millennium? And what should brands be doing to establish themselves as trusted, dynamic partners in the lives of young people in this very different, youth-dominated era?
To start, Generations Y, Z and millennials are big on brands.
Brands aren’t just names on the products consumers buy; they’re tools that help establish young people’s senses of identity and social connections. It’s no wonder, then, that nearly half of today’s youthful generation (ages 16-34) think brands are an “essential” part of their lives. The majority of young people actively encourage their friends to use certain brands, and say that it makes them feel good to see the brands they own being used by people they admire.
Today’s newest generations have a more intimate and interactive relationship with brands. They are far more marketing savvy than their parents were at their age, and they’re keenly aware of their value as consumers. This means they expect to be treated as equals, to have their opinions matter, and even to be involved in brand building.
It was tough enough growing up before the Internet. Imagine the social pressures created by social networking and having one’s life online, where it can be picked apart and commented on by strangers near and far. In response, young people have become adept at creating individualized sets of digital tools that help them navigate the social waters. They may use Instagram to create an idealized version of their home lives, or create Vines to establish their artistic side or sense of humour.
Brand passion is increasingly digitally based.
Whereas their parents may have grown up with Coke vs. Pepsi or McDonald’s vs. Burger King, today’s digital natives are more likely to align themselves with tech brands: Xbox vs. PlayStation, Spotify vs. Pandora, Apple vs. Samsung, and on and on. Loyalty goes to those brands that aren’t just considered cool but that make life more fluid and less expensive.
With files from a study by Havas Worldwide and fielded by Market Probe International via online surveys.
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