- Heightened Expectations Of Business
NEW YORK, April 20, 2011 - it’s time to dismiss the notion of disengaged youth. Euro RSCG Worldwide has released the results of its latest global study in the Prosumer Report white paper entitled “Millennials: The Challenger Generation.” Contrary to outdated stereotypes of youth apathy, the study reveals a generation intent on creating meaningful change - only through social media and pragmatic day-to-day consumer actions rather than traditional political channels.
The study surveyed a total of 3,000 respondents across China, France, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, exploring the habits and perspectives of the millennial generation with regard to the workplace, consumerism, family, and views of the future; “What we’re seeing is the rise of a unique generation - powerful not just as a consequence of their sheer numbers but because of their abiding sense of personal responsibility to their communities and world, their knowledge of global issues, and their fluency with the tools, especially social media, that allow them to act individually and also to join together to effect positive change,” says David Jones, global CEO of Havas and Euro RSCG Worldwide and cofounder of One Young World, the premier forum for young leaders across the globe. Jones adds, “As we’ve witnessed through One Young World, this generation believes deeply in the power of individuals and collective action. The digital revolution has empowered them to map out the future without regard to generational and geographical divides. They have the will, the motivation, and unprecedented power to act. In this year of the ‘Arab Spring,’ there can be no question about how important it is to understand young people’s views and have the foresight to engage with them in meaningful ways.”
Highlights of the study include:
You broke, we fix: This new generation has a deep sense of responsibility and pragmatism. Rather than blaming other generations or cultures for the planet’s afflictions, they are ready to shoulder responsibility for creating achievable solutions. Eight in 10 millennials (85 percent) consider it their generation’s duty to change the world. No passing the buck here. And this is by no means limited to youth in the developed world. One Young World delegates and candidates are taking action in all corners of the world. In just two examples, students in Ghana have organized a climate change program and are pushing for stronger government regulation. In China, architecture student Xiaochen Wang is actively promoting historic preservation and urban revitalization.
What generation gap?: In stark contrast to the baby boomers’ credo of “Trust no one over 30,” the millennials cite their parents as their most trusted resources. Six in 10 say they rely on their parents for advice and information, and 90 percent desire their parents’ trust. In fact, parents rank as the most trusted source of information for this generation—above friends, traditional media, and even the Internet.
Realistic, but still hopeful: Millennials are keenly aware of the issues the World faces and will continue to face—more than seven in 10 think the World will be more dangerous, less peaceful, and more polluted in 20 years. But that hasn’t made them cynical. Nearly all millennials surveyed (82 percent—with a high of 91 percent in India) believe their generation has the power to change the world.
“Power for this generation isn’t about wealth and celebrity (though neither hurt),” says Kate Robertson, U.K. group chairman of Euro RSCG and cofounder of One Young World. “Today’s heroes are individuals who have broken through the data glut and societal inertia to help others, to push for change. Their role models are people like Blake Mycoskie and Wael Ghonim.”
In the lead-up to the inaugural One Young World forum in London in February 2010, event organizers worked with Survey Shack and YouGovStone to survey more than 15,000 young people aged 23 to 28 in 38 countries. Drawing on this survey and the more recent Millennials study by Euro RSCG, Robertson says, “What comes through loud and clear in the results of the original survey and this new follow-up is that this generation believes time is running out and the world can no longer wait for governments to provide solutions. They are particularly concerned about the state of the environment and human rights. The vast majority consider themselves environmentally conscious and insist that individuals—and businesses and countries—need to be doing more to curb their carbon footprints. Human rights were of particular concern to our respondents in the Middle East and North Africa; in these last few weeks, we’ve been seeing what the power and passion of youth can do in this area.”
A 21st century change agent: 61 percent of millennials think social media is the “new power of youth” and 70 percent consider it a force for change—a telling statistic in the aftermath of the revolutions in Egypt and elsewhere, which were organized and to some extent fueled by the power of social media.
Women will one day “rule the world”: 55 percent of millennials around the world said the changes of tomorrow will be driven by females.
Power of consumerism: Nearly half of those surveyed said they wield greater power to effect change as consumers than as voters. They also believe in effecting change on a personal level, with 63 percent saying “less driving” and 62 percent saying “less consumption” are key to solving some of the world’s crises.
“Radical change isn’t about controversy and conflict in 2011,” says Jones. “Whereas the baby boomers rebelled and the 68ers revolted, today’s young people are all about community, collaboration, and interconnectedness.”
Counting on corporate change leaders: Millennials believe strongly in the power of businesses to do good. In fact, 40 percent of them say corporations have a greater capacity than governments to create change, while only 27 percent say the reverse. That’s an astonishing move away from the long-held notion that corporations need be concerned about nothing more than their own interests and shareholder profits. Further, 86 percent of respondents to an earlier Euro RSCG study said it’s important that businesses stand for something more than profit-making. Where government has failed, businesses are now expected to step in. Sustainability is one of the areas in which this generation sees businesses taking a leading role; two-thirds believe the most successful businesses in the future will be those that practice sustainability, according to the Euro RSCG survey, while only 7 percent disagree. These young men and women are looking to partner with businesses that are taking the lead on social and environmental issues, both as consumers and prospective employees.
The new workplace: Contrary to stereotypes, the millennial generation considers effort and attitude the most important ingredients for success: 73 percent cited “being hardworking” as key to achievement, and 63 percent said “having self-confidence” is vital, indicating their overall meritocratic worldview. Millennials’ emphasis on creativity and collaboration means they work better when allowed to choose the tools and pathways they consider most effective in moving them toward their goals. They are obsessed with continual learning, to the extent that they may well choose to leave a company once they feel they have tapped out the base of knowledge available to them there. Supporting ongoing professional growth and constant learning is key to keeping top millennial talent.
Searching for “compass” brands: Despite a reputation for flitting from one brand to another, a majority of millennials believe it’s important to find brands to which they can be loyal. And that makes sense given the more personal approach this generation takes to brand relationships. They want to find brands in which they can believe—and that will reflect positively on them—over the long term. 58 percent are looking for brands that reflect their personalities.
Prosumer Reports is a series of thought leadership publications by Euro RSCG Worldwide—part of a global initiative to share information and insights, including our own proprietary research, across the Euro RSCG network of agencies and client companies. For more information about Prosumer Reports and to download the “Millennials: The Challenger Generation” white paper, please visit www.prosumer-report.com.
For more information on One Young World and to learn more about the upcoming summit in Zurich, go to http://oneyoungworld.org.
About EURO RSCG London:
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Euro RSCG London includes Euro RSCG PR (formerly Biss Lancaster) and we are the biggest UK agency to integrate conversational media into the core of the agency, alongside channel strategy, digital, Social Media and advertising. We also have offices in Manchester and Edinburgh.
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