wake up QUARTERLY
A STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE REPORT The Issue // Millennials
Letter From The Editor..................................................................................................... 4 Generation Why // Demystifying The Millennial.............................................................................. 6 On Love And Other Demons: Relationships & Commitment...................... 7 On Parenthood And Family: Pets Are The New Babies................................ 10 On Work And Careers: Do What You Like..................................................... 12 Opportunities For Brands................................................................................. 14 The New #Fan // Tribalism In The Age Of Beliebers.................................................................... 16 Insights For Brands............................................................................................. 18 I Am What I Share // Music As Social Currency................................................................................ 20 New-Stalgia // A Time For Analog............................................................................................ 25 Fair Trade.......................................................................................................................... 26 Summertime 2013 // More Work, Less Fun......................................................................................... 27 Opposing Outlooks......................................................................................................... 28 Millennial Snapshots........................................................................................................ 36 Millennials On Millennials................................................................................................ 40 Contributors..................................................................................................................... 41 Footnotes......................................................................................................................... 42
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR july 2013
Tracking the elusive Millennial. For years now, it’s been the subject of much scrutiny and debate among marketers. We study them from an outsider’s perch. Like
Chalk it up to my Compulsive Contrarian Disorder,
European anthropologists descending on the
but I’m not convinced that combing through Pew
rain forests of Central Africa to study the cultural
data for revelations into what sets this group apart
and somatic traits of pygmies, we search to answer
from previous generations is the most enlightened
the seemingly simple question: What makes them
path to understanding Millennials.
different? Maybe we can challenge entrenched assumptions And like the pygmies, Millennials refuse to acculturate
and discover an alternative perspective into this
to the world around them, prompting more bafflement
cohort’s behaviors and beliefs by asking a different
and the ensuing question: Why won’t they just adapt?
of series of questions, such as: What makes Millennials similar to previous generations? How can we adapt
What I’m saying, before I beat this rather thin
metaphor into the ground, is that perhaps we’re
searching for understanding within the wrong line
Sounds enlightened, right? When I floated this
integrationist approach by the strategists in our
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR July 2013
editorial kickoff meeting, I was met with a wall
importance. From there, it gets easier. Follow
of indifference. Cue eye rolls and other
the rules of engagement below and you're
non—verbal expressions of FML.
already ahead of the game.
See, our strategic brain trust here at Omelet is
Don’t just acknowledge that they need
comprised almost entirely of Millennials. It’s like
to feel unique; help them get there.
“Children of the Corn” meets Menudo (a reference that’s ironically lost on anyone under 30). And
Don’t just assume that they’ll engage with
much of our collective grey matter over the last
you because you’ve made something
year has been monopolized by “deep dives”
social; give them a real reason, something
into different Millennial segments and subjects.
to brag about.
So there was the expected intellectual fatigue
Don’t just tell them to buy your product
that comes with taking yet another cut at
or service; invite them to buy into your
this research. And beyond that, there was the
inevitable fear of self—mythologizing one’s own peer group.
Don’t just tell them what you do; help them understand why you do what you do.
But more than anything, there was a healthy dose of skepticism around the timing. Why, with
And never, ever speak like anything
the glut of information that already exists on this
but a human.
subject, do we need to burden marketers with yet another report about Millennials? Well, first, because volume is just one measure of substance. That is to say the sheer mass of information out there does not translate to meaning. And second, because there’s no time like the present; to document the story of where they are. Right. Now. This group is constantly shifting,
chief strategy officer
realigning, and contradicting itself. It’s a thing of unpredictable, chaotic beauty. The uncertainty of where it’s going next, or how it’s going to get there, is what it makes it such a timely and relevant subject today. So in these pages, you’ll find observations, insights, and opportunities on the Millennial audience, from the minds of Millennials themselves. If you’re ready to walk the talk, the first step to acting on this intelligence is to accept their
GENERATION WHY demystifying the millennial Millennials are pampered, overpraised commitment-phobes who refuse to grow up. It’s a familiar refrain, but is it true? If you take Lena Dunham’s semi—autobiographical Girls, or more divisively, Sofia Coppola’s based—on—a—true—story The Bling Ring, as anthropological gospel, then yes, these self—obsessed neurotics are ushering in the
TED Talk “30’s Are Not Really The New 20’s” examines the topic of generational procrastination, this Boomerang Generation (they always wind up back home) is squandering the most transformative decade of their lives.
decline of western civilization.
How about the Millennials
But we’re not convinced.
themselves? Well, they aren’t
According to many Boomers, these Trophy Kids (everyone’s a winner!) are shaking the cornerstones of a society their predecessors worked so hard to build—from the housing market to workplace dynamics to family values.
whose cogent but controversial
buying the whole entitled thing. Over 61% of them1 see themselves as thoughtful, respectful, smart, independent, and innovative— traits that stand in stark contrast to those their elders use to describe them. Millennials believe with conviction that they are different, just like everyone else.
If you listen to Gen Xers like
Does that make them narcissistic?
clinical psychologist Meg Jay,
Sure, but not much more so than
previous generations. So what’s the source of this intergenerational schism? It's simple—rather than adapting to the world around them, Millennials are going to force the world to adapt to them, on their own terms. And change scares a lot of people. To better understand what that means for marketers and brands, let’s take a closer look at the social and behavioral patterns that define how Millennials engage with relationships, work, and family.
OF MILLENNIALS CONSIDER THEMSELVES RESPONSIBLE, THOUGHTFUL & CARING 2
on love AND other demons: relationships & commitment Not surprisingly, Millennials have a very different
(On Love And Other Demons: Relationships & Commitment)
There’s no question that technology, now a potential
view on functional relationships than
catalyst or killer of relationships, has
previous generations. And they look at
forever complicated the post—dating
the roles of romance and fun, dates
landscape. At first blush, the casual
and group hang—outs, love and
nature of text messages and snapchats
commitment, through a very different lens.
may appear to diffuse anxiety from courtship, but it can actually have the
Much has been made of the
generational effect of the so—called “hookup culture” that has spilled over
After all, who’s to say whether a
from college years into adult life. It’s
late—night text is spontaneous or lazy?
tempting to dismiss this behavior as
Or what defines friendship with
self—indulgent exploration, but Millennials
possible benefits versus a potentially
are quick to clarify that the stereotypically
meaningful relationship? This pressure
regressive girls of Girls are not
is reinforced by a recent report by the
representative of real-world experiences.
American Psychological Association, which reveals
(On Love And Other Demons: Relationships & Commitment, continued)
that Millennials are significantly more likely to say
narrowly defined by a label, or validated by a
that relationship problems are a source of serious
piece of paper or census box.
stress than any other generation.4 That’s not to say that they reject the institution of Beyond the obvious implications of low—stakes,
marriage. The majority of Millennials do want to get
high—volume matchmakers, like OKCupid, Tinder,
married,5 they just want to get it right the first time.
and Grouper, lies a deeper implication about
They’ve experienced first hand the consequences
Millennials’ avoidance of commitment and disdain
of rushing into marriage and are trying to avoid the
for traditional labels. They believe, with good reason,
mistakes their parents’ generation made. This feeds
that each relationship is as unique as they are;
into the broader Delayed Adulthood trend.
that, like them, relationships don’t have to be
LINES BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE, ONLINE AND OFF-LINE, ARE BLURRING AT AN ALARMING RATE
dating in the digital age Courtship is dead. Time of death, according to the New York Times, was January 13, 2013.6 Holding the smoking gun? You guessed it—Millennials. Dating in the age of chronic over—sharing has become increasingly complicated. Lines between public and private, on-line and off-line, are blurring at an alarming rate. Apps like “Bang with Friends,” which is exactly what it sounds like, or web services like the dystopian “We Know Your House,” are pushing the boundaries of both taste and personal security. Finding "The One That Slipped Away" is just a few keystrokes away—a plot device used effectively in the recent film Safety Not Guaranteed. Screening prospective dates for deal breakers, whether that’s poor grammar or an arrest record, has never been easier. It remains to be seen as to whether we’ll collectively reach a point where we reconsider our embrace of living so transparently. We do see anecdotal evidence that privacy concerns will only escalate as we consume and produce more and more personal data. But where that breaking point lies is anyone’s guess. What we do know, however, is that the disclosure of so much information does create interesting opportunities for brands that can offer at least some semblance of control in protecting our public and private selves.
on parenthood and family: pets are the new babies As a broad generalization, Millennials don’t just get
of Millennials9 own a dog or a cat and, among these
along with their parents—they actually like them. So
pet owners, about 2/3 of them live with a partner.
much so that they often live at home well beyond the
Many businesses have adapted to the needs of
traditional cycle of post-collegiate independence. 61%
“the new baby.” Airlines like JetBlue saw a surge of
of Millennials ages 25—34 say they have friends or family
pet owners expecting to travel with their little ones,
members who have moved back in with their parents.
so they developed JetPaws™ to help meet pet
But it’s important to note that they’re not delaying
owners’ travel needs. Even automobile makers, like
these rites of passage because they lack confidence or
Toyota and Honda, are beginning to design
independence; they’re often driven home by
financial necessity. 38% say their current financial situation is linked to their parents’ financial situation.7
As Millennials continue to dote over their pets, it is
In addition to providing a roof over their heads,
those of their own helicopter parents. They are
many parents are also providing direct financial
caregivers of a “child,” which makes them adult
support to their kids well into their 20s. Does that
enough to be responsible for someone other than
make these kids spoiled? Not necessarily, given the
themselves. It’s a step in the right direction.
inevitable that their attitudes will begin to resemble
avalanche of student debt most are buried under, the high cost of housing, and a miserable job
market. 54% of Millennials say debt is their “biggest financial concern currently,” surpassing day—to—day expenses.8 But if they’re not getting married and not cutting the parental support chord, what exactly are they doing? We’re no strangers to the concept of growing up with “training wheels” to prepare us for the herculean challenges of adult life. The baby doll in high school health class, SAT prep courses, and internships were all primers to get us ready for the real—world versions of families, tests, and jobs. So it should be no surprise that Millennials, an inherently pet—friendly generation, are opting to raise pets as a proving ground before having babies. Over 76%
OF THEM LIVE WITH A PARTNER
76% OF MILLENNIALS OWN A DOG OR CAT
GENERATION WHY on work and careers: do what you like Nowhere is the generational divide more perceptible than in the workplace.10
estate bubble. No wonder they
the energy of Millennials will risk
have such lofty expectations—
losing them. Or worse yet,
both for themselves and for their
competing against them.
employers. They grew up in a golden age of entrepreneurialism,
big, small, and everything in
fueled by the success of start—up
between—are struggling with
demigods like Mark Zuckerberg
tensions between freshly minted
and David Karp.
Their motivations are as much
relentlessly disrupting entrenched
Add to that the distrust of
They want to be owners of their
workplace behaviors, and the old
traditional hierarchies and the
destiny and create a work
guard, who are skeptical of
constant affirmation and positive
environment where they can
bottom—up institutional change.
reinforcement they grew up
unleash their creative potential.
with—from their parents, teachers,
They believe that they win by
Let’s take a step back for broader
and coaches—and you’ve got a
being themselves, and that they
context on this gap. Boomers
high—maintenance, highly volatile
can make a real living from it.
experienced the post—war boom;
group to contend with.11 But you
Gen Xers came of age in the
also have high—potential, highly
A great example of this mentality is
shadow of Reaganism; Millennials
motivated agents of
Christine Hauer,13 the 25—year—old
grew up under Clintonism, the
Dot—com boom, and the real
Employers who cannot channel
wing-woman and founder of
college graduates, who are
To that end, 25% of Millennials12
Companies and organizations—
are thinking about breaking out and starting their own business. personal as they are financial.
(On Work And Careers: Do What You Like)
Hifive!, a “personal brand
Christine is emblematic of a
consultancy.” For a fee, Christine
whole army of young, hungry
will join you for a walk in the park
entrepreneurs who are striking
or coach you through an alumni
out on their own. They’re not just
function; she’ll be your mentor,
chasing the start—up windmills.
sidekick, confidence builder and
They’re opening their own
restaurants, or better yet, food
Christine didn’t study network coaching at the University of South Carolina. She just knew that she had excellent people skills and a natural gift for connecting
trucks or artisan carts. They're building artistic co—ops; starting their own nonprofits, or, at the very least, consulting for one of their friends’ organizations.
people, so she set out to use her personality as her core asset. Like many other Millennials, Christine constructed a job to fit her persona, rather than the other way around.
the job is never done Work and play. Paycheck and passion. Commerce
environment. One that’s also more mobile,
and conscience. Autonomy and collaboration.
adaptable, casual, and social than ever before.
Coworkers and friends. Millennials’ refusal to compromise is breaking down walls—physically and metaphorically—in the workplace. They’re forcing businesses of all shapes and sizes to rethink the fundamentals of how they operate and giving rise to an iterative and open culture that more closely resembles The Social Network than it does Office Space. The generational changing of the guard, from Boomers to Xers and Millennials, is ushering in a more progressive and enlightened work
This emerging beta workplace shares many values with its new guard: the need for constant feedback, affirmation, stimulation, and new challenges; the demand for flexibility and customization; the universal disregard for sacred cows. Is it a boon or a burden for businesses? Depends on who you ask, but we believe that the rewards speak for themselves. Which scenario do you think produces greater innovation—role rigidity, homogeny, and hierarchical structure, or embracing the crowd-sourced ethos that great ideas can, and should, come from anywhere?
GENERATION WHY OPPORTUNITIES FOR BRANDS
Clearly, there’s no one—size—fits—all solution when it
because you have a bigger wallet is cheating),
comes to Millennials. They reject labels and refuse to
fake it, or shortcut your rise to prominence with
conform to the standards set by their predecessors.
gimmicks. Brands, artists, and pundits who’ve tried
They’re wary of brands that try too hard to win their
have been called out, named, and shamed.
love, or worse, force it. Also, try not to be afraid of making your brand
Millennials will embrace brands that are mindful of
somewhat liquid, so it can ebb and flow with the
Generation Y’s marketing-savvy nature; they are
unpredictable choices Millennials make along the
drawn to brands that work to win their trust and
path to adulthood. Or better yet, embrace your
loyalty. Just don’t try to buy it (cutting in line
brand’s inner Millennial and stop trying so hard to
mining millennial values
be liked. Be unique and unapologetic in your pursuit of answering the elusive question: Why? Theyâ€™ll get it. More than anything, let Millennials help shape your brand. When it comes to life, love, and the pursuit of greatness, Millennials are going to do it all on their terms. Donâ€™t tell them what to do. Ask them. And this time, really listen.
THE NEW #FAN tribalism in the age of beliebers
THE NEW #FAN
(Tribalism In The Age Of Beliebers)
Gleeks. Directioners. Swifties. Twihards. Potterheads.
and fund a feature film into production. A
Truebies. There’s no shortage of labels for Millennial
well-timed tweet or video occasionally earns fans
pop tribes—the communities of individuals bound
face time with their idol. Take the case of Jake
together by a shared love of cultural icons.15
Davidson, a high school senior who showed up to prom with a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model on his
Sound familiar? It should. Long before Millennials
arm after his video invite to Kate Upton went viral.
were a twinkle in their classic—rock—loving parents’
Granted, Kate Upton’s schedule was full—but
eyes, we had pop cults like the Beatniks, Deadheads,
21—year—old Danish model Nina Agdal volunteered
Punks and Mods. And their heirs apparent, Metalheads,
to go in her place. Would that have happened
Gangstas, Goths, Emos and Ravers. After all, it’s only
with Cindy Crawford twenty years ago? Not likely.
human nature to need to fit in, and youth tribes offer just that—a sense of belonging.
Emerging technology and greater connectivity may explain the “what” and “how” of new fan
So what makes Millennial fan
behavior, but it’s the
behavior unique? Boomers
underlying shifts in attitudes
and Xers passively
and beliefs that help us
engaged with their idols.
identify the “why.” And
From their haircuts to the
that’s where the richest vein
t—shirts on their backs to the
lies for marketers.
glossy shrines that adorned the walls of their bedrooms,
Not surprisingly, many
their fandom stood at a
Millennials associate with
distance, albeit a visible
a youth tribe to become
one. Millennials, on the
part of a community whose
other hand, do not
members then feed and
typically wear their fandom as
validate each other’s affinity.
a badge on their sleeves.
But unlike Xers, whose
They are far more
defining characteristic is
empowered to actively
irony (bordering on cynicism),
engage with the objects
Millennial fandom is proof
of their affection.
positive of the New Sincerity movement.
Gone are the days when having a “personal”
New Sincerity refers to fandoms that exist without
connection with your big-haired idols required
post—modern irony. When two psychology professors
waiting for hours in a cold parking lot to catch a
from the University of Georgia and Louisiana State
glimpse of Axl and Slash walking from the arena to
University conducted a study on “Bronies”—the
the tour bus. Technology has broken down physical
unlikely cohort of males 18—35 who are vocal fans
and psychological barriers and facilitated more
of the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic—
meaningful fan relationships.
they made a startling discovery. Bronies, a portmanteau of “bro” and “pony,” claimed to love
What’s more, social connectivity has enabled a
the show for one reason: it’s good. What’s even
whole new level of celebrity interaction. By donating
more astonishing is that Bronies don’t hide their
via Kickstarter, fans of the canceled television show Veronica Mars were able to resurrect the character
THE NEW #FAN
(Tribalism in the Age of Beliebers, continued)
love for a show designed for little girls behind camp or kitsch. They publicly embrace their fandom, turning preconceived age and gender roles on their heads. So again, we have to ask: Why? For starters, Bronies believe that the themes in the show—friendship and self—confidence—are worth celebrating. “ At BronyCon, there are people from all over the world and they all get along. That’s what the show represents,” explained Ed Goodwin, a thirty—year—old Brony. “I could never relate to people in high school. The friendships I’ve made [on Twitter and in Brony forums] are so much better.” This attitude points to a trend that’s best summarized by the mantra “geek is the new alpha.” Perfection and flawlessness, or aloofness for that matter, are no longer the ideal. Embracing your inner geek or fanboy is seen as a sign of confidence and authenticity. This celebration of individuality is not surprising, given that Millennials are the most ethnically diverse generation yet. Beyond a shared sense of open-mindedness, there exists a deeper yearning for optimism and escapism in the post—9/11, recession-ravaged world in which Millennials have grown up (more than half of them are unemployed or underemployed). After all, irony is exhausting, but sincere appreciation (without the smarmy undertones) can be liberating.
co—create the brand with Gen Y, from the ground up. They will be far more emotionally invested in its success—and more effective evangelists in spreading its gospel—if they feel like they were a part of the scene from the beginning. Finally, they’re interested in learning why you do what you do, not just what you want to sell. There are always conversations happening within a tribe. Foster them, encourage them—don’t try to control them—and learn from them. It’s some of the most valuable brand intelligence you can earn.
insights for brands Let’s face it. Millennials are addicted to validation. When it comes to building a tribe through shared experiences, brand values, “content,” and everything in between, they seek the practice, not just the promise, of a community of like—minded individuals who will validate their love without irony or judgment. To successfully build a tribe, brands need to open their doors early and welcome collaboration;
40% are non-white
MILLENNIALS ARE THE MOST DIVERSE GENERATION YET
rise of the participatory culture The insight is simple: make Millennials feel like they’re influencing your brand.
co-creation of the customer journey
Millennials have no shortage of opinions. They’re sharing them on-line, off-line, and in person— brands need to listen and respond. In fact, 64% of
The payoff? Rather than speculating about what
Millennials feel that companies should offer more
they think is cool, or worse yet, trying to tell them
ways to listen to their customers.17 Brands need
what’s cool, you can remove a lot of the
to channel that under-delivered need by
guesswork by just asking them.
crowdsourcing the customer journey.
You can also remove a lot of the heavy lifting by
co-creation of marketing
giving them an active role in creating, curating, and seeding stuff they love. That’s a textbook case of “social—by—design” marketing.
co-creation of products and services
Millennials don’t want to just come along for the ride. They want to help steer it. Empowering alphas to build and evolve each brand experience with you will not only capture the attention of their peers, but also keep them
When Millennials purchase a product or service,
engaged over time. This participatory ethos has
they consider it to be more than a transaction; it’s
to be a core tenet of the conceptual platform,
a direct reflection of their identity—their Brand Me.
not just a box to check for social extensions.
In order for them to truly buy into a brand (versus just buying a product or service), they need to feel as if they have a stake in its future success.
Content on pp. 18-19 sourced from Barkley EVP Jeff Fromm's book "Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever."
I AM WHAT I SHARE music as social currency
I AM WHAT I SHARE
(Music As A Social Currency)
Music doesn’t just define who we are; music defines who we want to be. Remember that European exchange student in high school who introduced everyone to Kraftwerk, Joy Division, and clove cigarettes? Back in Luxembourg, he probably fell at the bottom of the social pecking order, but here, all the guys wanted to be him, and all the girls (and probably some of the guys) wanted to be with him. Why? Because he discovered this incredible music first, and then inducted them into his post—punk world. You can’t buy that kind of social currency. This universal experience belies the relationship that every generation has had with music. But in recent years, there have been tectonic shifts in how Millennials acquire, store, listen to, talk about, and share music. For proof of how the music world has changed, look no further than the evolution of the mixtape. A$AP Rocky’s latest mixtape is a far cry from what Nick Hornby waxed poetic about in his 1995 pop novel High Fidelity. Liner notes have been replaced by band tweets; mindfully collecting records, cassettes, or CDs has given way to binging on unlimited access to compressed audio files that are just a click away. And all of this has reframed how Millennials use music to shape their identities. Or more aptly, their Brand Me. Like the Boomers and Xers before them, Millennials want to be the first to discover, the first to experience, and the first to share. But unlike prior generations, they’ve been wired since middle school; they can listen to whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. And that allows them to keep a cycle of music discovery, engagement, and activation spinning.
discovery When it comes to the search for—and discovery of—new music, Millennial tastes often reflect the shared emotions they’re experiencing as they grow up and go through the rights of passage into adult life: graduations, first jobs, first apartments. They’re embracing new music to accompany these milestones or, conversely, to escape from their new obligations and responsibilities. Look at the string of hits from Fun.—the breakout pop superstars of 2013. There’s a consistent narrative in “We Are Young,” “Some Nights,” and “Carry On” that marries existential angst with an optimistic vision of being young and free. What’s interesting about Fun.— beyond the idea that Millennials seem to be nostalgic for a sound that recalls Queen or Electric Light Orchestra—is that it was the first band that Glee broke. The show’s tried—and—true publishing model relies on covering existing pop successes, not new and untested tracks. But producers made an exception for Fun. when they heard “We Are Young” and in turn disrupted an entrenched A&R process. After the episode aired, sales of the single increased a staggering 1,650%.18 The Glee cover was followed by a Chevy Super Bowl commercial, which catapulted the band into the mainstream and helped score a couple of Grammys (in their acceptance speech they thanked their parents “for letting us live at home for a very long period of time”). The real story here, though, is that Millennials discovered Fun. through a network television show, not radio airplay or digital, mobile, or social apps.
I AM WHAT I SHARE
That’s not to say that non—terrestrial channels like YouTube haven’t changed the game for many emerging musicians by breaking down barriers to exposure. Nielsen’s Music 360 found that YouTube is so popular with Millennials that over 60% say it’s the
first place they and their friends go to discover new music, and YPulse revealed that 47% of Millennials use Spotify to find and listen to music. Facebook and Twitter, never ones to miss out on an opportunity, have taken notice. Just two months ago, Facebook introduced its filtered music feed, adding tighter integration with streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, and Soundcloud. Twitter recently launched a Twitter Music app. These platforms have been re-engineered from the ground up to facilitate greater ease—of—discovery through friends and communities. And given that with these apps, whatever you’re listening to is broadcast in real time to a jury of your peers, they’ve also given rise to a new trend of deliberate curation.
engagement Music is inherently emotional. And the rituals speak for themselves. Obscure bands lure hundreds of thousands of music lovers to a remote location for an epic festival; perfect strangers voluntarily dive into a mosh pit together, entering the ring in the closest thing we have to a legal fight club. These are not things dispassionate people do, and Millennials have adopted them with gusto. But it’s important to note that the social conversations that surround these rituals hold greater value than the physical experiences themselves.
idols, as well as a candid glimpse into their lives and personalities. That certainly reinforces the Millennial values of authenticity and transparency. This direct line to fans has also enabled musicians to innovate ways to engage and reward fans. In March of 2012, after creating the song “The Veldt” during a 22—hour live—streaming session, Canadian electronic music producer Deadmau5 found a fan—made vocal rendition of the song via Twitter and incorporated the vocals into the final recording. DJ Kaskade just finished his “It’s You, It’s Me” tour. Dates and locations were announced just five days before the shows to Facebook and Twitter followers, with tickets available exclusively through a link in the announcement. Although Kaskade could have filled huge concert halls, he deliberately chose small, intimate venues, only seating 200 to 300 people at capacity. Not only was the tour a powerful way of rewarding fans for their social loyalty, but it also helped market Kaskade by giving attendees an exclusive experience that they bragged about to their respective circles of influence. Even in larger venues, social media provides a conduit between fans and the act. While touring with country
Case in point: four of the top five most—followed
superstar Carrie Underwood, up—and—comer Hunter
accounts on Twitter are musicians. What’s
Hayes encouraged concert goers to tweet
the draw? Simply offering news and updates is
#HunterIsWanted with their seat location for a
table stakes for the social conversation; the
chance to win meet-and-greet passes, with the ask
most—followed acts offer fans direct access to their
that they live-tweet their encounter to others.
activation Millennials are gatekeepers to new content and kingmakers for emerging musicians. Their experiences with artists, during live shows or on-line interactions, can be immediately shared with their peers through social media or streaming services like SoundCloud, Spotify and Rdio. With this power comes a perceived responsibility to help others succeed. In addition to being more entrepreneurial than any other generation, Millennials genuinely want to see their peers do well, and go out of their way to help up—and—coming artists with their every “like” and “share.” Consequently, there is virtually no stigma around “selling out.” When a favorite YouTube singer gets signed to a major label, her fans rejoice alongside her; both at her accomplishment, as well as their own efforts to help make it a reality. So getting credit for being an active fan from the beginning motivates Millennials to co—opt content and take collective ownership of its success.
believe the hype Yes, social media has dramatically altered the way we consume and share music, but it has also changed the way new music is promoted and released. Gone are the days when carefully tested singles hit radio waves first and music videos premiere on MTV. Artists and labels are continually breaking marketing conventions and innovating new and creative ways to get their music heard. Yeasayer threw a digital scavenger hunt to celebrate the release of its new album, Fragrant World. The campaign hid music videos of all eleven tracks on various websites, leaving fans to decipher tweets to gain access. To tease the release of its highly anticipated record after an eight—year hiatus, French electronic duo Daft Punk released only snippets of tracks or trailers,
I AM WHAT I SHARE
(Believe the Hype, continued)
generating a social frenzy that lasted for months.
teased and surprised. In exchange, they will do a
When the album, Random Access Memories, was
lot of heavy lifting to spread the gospel.
finally released, it streamed free on iTunes and fans tuned in across the world to take part in a global
As marketers, thereâ€™s much we can learn from this
relationship. As we architect experiences that steer Millennial interest towards our conversations, we
When it comes to music and the cultural
have to make those experiences bragâ€”worthy;
conversation, Millennial fans not only demand to
thatâ€™s one of the most powerful tools in recruiting,
be informed and updated, but also expect to be
recognizing, and rewarding engaged fans.
2.7 million mentions 109k mentions
2.5 million mentions 38k mentions 1 million mentions 33k mentions
125k mentions 32k mentions
Image Source: Instagram, @cnast & @jadelind
NEW-STALGIA a time for analog
To have and to hold. No matter how much of our lives migrate up to the great digital cloud in the sky, there’s a visceral sense of connection that only the physical can evoke.
today.20 Research shows that 62%
on-line. They are cases of physical
read e—books digitally, but that
experiences, enabled by digital
78% yearn for the smell and feel
Humans are hardwired to find
renouncing digital technology;
meaning in tangibles, and the more we’re removed from them, the more we long for them. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, it’s easy to relate to how the young—and the young—at—heart— are fetishizing film cameras, typewriters and hand—written notes on letter—pressed stationary. We miss them too, after all. Nostalgia is a powerful trigger, and Millennials are far from impervious. In fact, they’re the most nostalgic of all age groups
of paper books.
This convergence of digital and physical surfaces an interesting tension point. Millennials aren’t they’re simply balancing the
Perhaps it’s simply a matter of evoking positive feelings of a safer and simpler time, but brands, artists, and products with high nostalgia value are finding ways to realign themselves with
rational benefits of digital
technology, such as efficiency,
It’s worth noting that those who
value, and convenience, with the emotional connections of analog experiences. For evidence of the bridge
are doing it most effectively never lose sight of what works best for real people in both the physical and digital worlds.
between these two worlds, look no further than the exploding popularity of Etsy among Millennials. Or the new Polaroid camera, currently in production. Or the resurgence of vinyl
62% OF MILLENNIALS READ E-BOOKS
records, many of which are sold
Going to that new 4-star restaurant downtown on Saturday. Bring lunch to work this week. Need to save up for Coachella. No more Starbucks coffee runs. Want that new Alexander Wang bag. I’ll put off the front bumper repair on my car until next month…
forgo something lower on her list (“Do I really need
Welcome to the mind of the Millennial. She knows
willing to bend when it comes to building it. But
exactly what she wants and what she’ll do to get it, even if that means making a few sacrifices along the way. She’s a master at prioritizing and quick to
cable?”) in favor of what’s currently at the top (“Girls trip to Napa!”) We call this phenomenon the Trade-off Mentality. Millennials work brands into their lives as if managing a portfolio. Every logo, name, and brand ethos adds to a Millennial’s own personal brand, and she’s not today’s youth know that they can’t have it all. They make calculated decisions about when or what to buy from their list of pre—approved brands, and once they set their sights on a certain product or experience, they relentlessly pursue it until it's in their
hands. So the car repairs fall by the wayside for now. They go to Target for staple products. They put the gym membership on hold. Sometimes skimping on the “necessities” feels like a fair trade to our determined Millennial. Whereas previous generations would spend months, or even years, saving up for that down payment, new television, or vacation, Millennials aren’t waiting around. They want what they want —and they want it now. 59% identify themselves as “Spenders” as opposed to “Savers,” which can work in a brand’s favor if they know how to capitalize on the Millennial’s fickle sensibility and need for instant gratification. But marketers beware: think of Millennials as fair—weather fans—fiercely loyal until the next big thing comes along. Willing to make a trade and take advantage of what’s in front of them right now. So give them what they want: added value, new experiences, and a reason to keep buying in.
SUMMERTIME 2013 more work, less fun Oh, to be young and in college between the halcyon months of May and August. When long days of doing nothing are followed by longer nights of Pabst—soaked fun, and the liberating feeling of losing track of the date is eclipsed only by the
that leisure time is becoming more
Conversely, those who experience
limited; that our work—to—free—time
a surplus of leisure time, or “time
ratio is more imbalanced than
affluence,” are generally happier.
it was for previous generations. However, data from major time—use surveys suggest that Americans today actually have more free time than previous
There’s an opportunity for marketers to flip this perception on its head and to embrace a new measure of success that’s less tangible
and more accessible than money
there again in the fall to pick up
So where does the skewed
hard-working Millennials for their
right where you left off.
perception come from? It’s partly
dedication to their personal and
a function of our “always—on”
professional growth, while giving
culture with fewer boundaries
them an outlet to pack fun,
between work and play. But it’s
memorable experiences into a
also a result of that fact that we
condensed period of time, can
are working more hours, although
build real affinity.
reassurance that real life will be
Not this summer. According to a recent survey of college students,22 2013 marks the summer of austerity. Millennials are buckling down and getting serious about advancing their academic and professional careers. Rather than wasting days at the pool or beach with friends, they’re working hard to pay off financial obligations and get a jump on the
and power—time. Recognizing
not significantly so, and that the net time savings come from spending fewer hours on tasks at home. There are real consequences to
impending transition to the real world.
perceived Time Scarcity,
This reinforces a broader theme of
stress and diminished
time scarcity. That is, the perception
satisfaction with your life.24
OUTLOOKS generation y vs. generation z
gen y Even though the job market has been (and
(Gen Y vs. Gen Z)
OF MILLENNIALS SAY THEY EARN ENOUGH MONEY NOW
still is) rough for most, Millennials are highly optimistic about the future. Their Boomer parents have assured them that they can (and should) do anything they want. They’re bound for success no matter what—at least in their minds.
IS HIGHLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE
OF GEN Z FEEL PRICE PRESSURES WILL GET WORSE
Events like 9/11, the Recession and mass school shootings welcomed Gen Z to its formative
OF GEN Z IS CONCERNED ABOUT HAVING A JOB AFTER GRADUATION
years. Because of this, they (rightfully) have a somewhat pessimistic view of the future. They’re very worried about jobs, money, geopolitical issues and macro bullying. They’ve got the bright eyes of babes but are cautious realists at heart.
(Gen Y vs. Gen Z, continued)
gen y Millennials care about global issues, but often
Even though most people still consider this
not enough to really get involved in the
group to be “just kids,” Gen Z is acutely
traditional sense. They have a great affinity
aware of the fact that the world isn’t all roses
for obtaining their “activism” badge with their
and sunshine. They realize the need to address
wallets or social media votes. Those tendencies
global issues and are big proponents of
have given this group the not—so—great title
actively confronting them.
of “slacktivists.” It isn’t that they don’t want to help, they just do it their own way. For example, they feel like they’ve fully done their part by “liking” a cause on Facebook.
RATHER THAN HIDE FROM THEIR PROBLEMS, THEY WANT TO UNDERSTAND & CONFRONT THEM
OF MILLENNIALS WILL BUY A PRODUCT IF IT IS ENGAGED IN A CAUSE THAT IS RELEVANT TO THEM 27
WOULD RECOMMEND A COMPANY THAT IS ENGAGED IN A CAUSE
OF GEN Z BELIEVE THAT VIOLENCE & SCHOOL SHOOTINGS WILL HAVE THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON THEIR GENERATION 28
AMERICAN TEENS VOLUNTEER AN AVERAGE OF 3 HOURS PER WEEK 29
(Gen Y vs. Gen Z, continued)
thoughts on smarts gen y While Millennials are one of the most educated generations to date, they’re also one of the most overqualified and underemployed. Because they entered the
OF MILLENNIALS SAY THAT THEIR HUSTLE IS WORTH MORE THAN THEIR MBA
job market just as the Recession was in full swing, they’ve developed a negative view of the ROI on the higher education.
gen z Gen Z was born into an overabundance of
OF GEN Z BELIEVES IT’S COOL TO BE SMART 30
access to information. They’ve never had to wonder about anything for long. It’s just a Google search away. They’ll admit to sometimes taking that for granted (if you push them), but for the most part, they put a high value on education. And they realize that the job market will be packed with more qualified candidates than ever before when they finally get there, and their competitive spirits drive them to learn everything they can—about everything.
digital divide gen y
(Gen Y vs. Gen Z, continued)
While they’ve been called Generation
Gen Z is the true Digital Native generation.
Wired, Millennials weren’t born into a world
They were born into a world where social
ruled by the Web. They watched the wires
networks were already becoming the primary
grow and evolved with them. They were
form of communication. They’ve never known
around for the creation of social networking.
a time when the Internet didn’t exist.
And they’re the last generation that’ll be able to tell their kids about a time when “you had to have a college e—mail to get on The Facebook.”
GEN Z SAYS THEY AREN’T ABSORBED IN TECHNOLOGY LIKE MILLENNIALS BECAUSE THEY GREW UP WITH IT 31
(Gen Y vs. Gen Z, continued)
gen y Millennials are known for having “liberal” tendencies. They largely believe in equal rights for all humans and in the government taking care of its constituents, whatever the cost. They’re an “instant gratification” generation, so they’re okay with spending
OF MILLENNIALS BELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD SPEND MORE ON HIV & AIDS RESEARCH 32
now and paying later.
GEN Z’s MOST PRESSING CONCERN IS THE ECONOMY
FAVOR SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IN 2013 33
THEY ARE UNWILLING TO INCUR LARGE AMOUNTS OF DEBT
gen z Surprisingly, the primary concern for Gen Z is the health of the economy. They’re already displaying conservative fiscal tendencies, expressing their desire to “do more with less.” And they’re largely anti—debt. They’ll defer getting what they want until they can actually pay for it, and they believe the government should do the same.
MILLENNIAL SNAPSHOTS omelet employees under 35
Watching: Mad Men,
Watching: True Blood,
Game of Thrones
On what: I donâ€™t have cable,
On what: Netflix
so I watch using my iPad through HBO Go,
Comcast Xfinity and Netflix Listening to: Muse, Imagine Dragons, Alt-J On what: Radio, Spotify, Pandora
Listening to: Yeezus, Japanese 60s/70s group sounds and podcasts (Nerdist, WTF with Marc Ma-
Reading: Wired for Story, Y: The Last Man
On what: Hard copy
On what: Spotify, CD, iTunes Reading: Man Ray Autobiography On what: Paperback book
Watching: Pretty Little Liars,
Watching: Mad Men,
Revenge, Dexter, Shameless,
Man of Steel, Arrested
Nashville, True Blood
On What: Apple TV, Hulu, HBO Go, DVR
On What: Computer – Netflix and Onechannel.com
Listening to: Country Music
Listening to: The Smiths Playlist
On what: Spotify
On what: Pandora
Reading: The Green Mile by Stephen King
Reading: Lolita by Valdimir Nabokov
On what: When at home, I use the paperback
On What: Paperback book
version. While at work or on-the-go, I read it through the Kindle app on my Macbook Pro.
STRATEGY INTERN Watching: Scandal, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Man of Steel, Teen Wolf On What: I don’t have cable right now, so I stream on-line through Hulu and network sites like ABC
MATTEO, 26 STUDIO
Watching: Man of Steel, The Bachelorette, The Office, Masterchef, House of Cards On What: DirectTV, Netflix, Hulu, Playstation 3, Roku, Live TV (just sports)
Listening to: Coldplay, Tiesto, The Strokes, The Cure,
Listening to: Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, IconoPop,
On what: Spotify
Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke On what: iTunes, YouTube, Spotify
Swedish House Mafia, Jovanotti
Reading: Dante’s Inferno by Dante Alighieri On what: Paperback book
Reading: The Fall of Giants by Ken Follett On what: Paperback book
MILLENNIAL SNAPSHOTS omelet employees under 35
of Thrones, House
Newsroom, New Girl,
of Cards, Shameless,
House of Cards, Modern
Family, Standâ€”Up, Family Guy, Chopped, Game of
On what: Live TV, DVR, HBO Go, Netflix
Listening to: Hipster International Playlist on Spotify On what: Spotify Premium Reading: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
On what: HBO Go, DVR, Netflix Listening to: Kickstarts, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore, Lana Del Rey On what: Pandora, car radio
On what: Paperback books
Reading: The Lover's Dictionary
Men, Falling Skies,
Men, Game of
Thrones, New Girl
The Office, Parks
On what: Amazon
& Rec, 30 Rock, House
Instant Watch, HBO Go,
and Netflix on my computer
On what: Paperback book
On What: Live TV, DVR, Netflix, iTunes Listening to: NPR Podcasts, Radiohead, Passion Pit, Listening to: Fall Out Boy, new Black Sabbath
Hipster International Playlist, Parquet Courts, Neil
album, Nero, Zed, Lorde. Podcasts (Joe Rogan
Young, Pavement, Katy Perry
Experience, Nerdist, The Indoor Kids)
On what: Spotify
On what: Spotify, iTunes Reading: Unbroken by Laura Hilldenbrand, This Reading: Mostly articles on-line on the following
Much I Know is True by Wally Lamb, and I Thought
websites: PopularScience, Wired, Gawker,
My Father Was God by Paul Auster
Buzzfeed, Huffington Post
On what: I always have a hard copy of the book
On what: Websites
on me at all times in case my iPad dies, or for airplanes. I also use iBooks.
MILLLENNIALS ON MILLENNIALS
We’re self—identifying hoarders of intelligence. And
Each session is tailored to the audience, with a depth
even if we wanted to, we couldn’t possibly stuff all
of knowledge that ranges from basic training for the
the grey matter we’ve accumulated on Millennials
uninitiated to category—or—segment—specific
into a single report.
consultations for those looking to slice the data thinner.
So for those companies, organizations, and individuals
In every session, we cover trends, behaviors,
who want to get deeper inside this mindset, and up
and opportunities; we bust myths and challenge
their Gen Y IQs, we hold Millennials—on—Millennials
assumptions; we use tangible cases and
pop-culture examples to break down simple
In these sessions, Omelet’s resident Millennials and
and actionable insights.
audience experts tap into our reserves of intel and
If you’re interested in learning more about our
firsthand experience to help you crack this group.
workshops, just send a note to:
Not by talking at you, but rather by talking with you. By putting our expert witnesses on the stand for you
to cross—examine. We’ve found that this participatory
approach helps quickly surface tension points and insights.
CONTRIBUTORS strategy Morgan Aceino, Brand Strategist Whitney Anderson, Director of Strategy Sarah Ceglarski, Director of Business Development Jas Gill, Junior Strategist Sean McNamara, Chief Strategy Officer Kevin Mernin, Strategy Intern Cristina Pedroza, Senior Brand and Business Analyst Liam Schaefer, Strategy Intern
creative Lauren Albee, Art Direction Intern Sarah Anderson, Executive Creative Director Sam Bauer, Copywriting Intern Clemente Bornacelli, ACD Christine Call, ACD Amanda Younger, Art Direction Intern
production Dena Gonzalez, VP, Production Michele Pappas, Designer
The Millennial Generation: Pro-Social and Empowered to
Hot 100—fun. Delivers: http://www.billboard.com/articles/
Change the World: http://www.greenbook.org/market-
The Millennial Generation: Pro-Social and Empowered to Change the World: http://www.greenbook.org/marketing-research.cfm/millennial-cause-study
Stress in America Findings: http://www.apa.org/news/press/ Study Finds Kids Take Longer To Reach Adulthood: http://
The Boomerang Generation: http://www.pewsocialtrends.
More than Half of Millennials Say Debt is Their Biggest Financial Concern: https://www.wellsfargo.com/
lennials-more-work-less-fun 23. You Have More Time Than You Think: http://www.cnn. com/2013/06/21/opinion/dunn-norton-time-famine 24. America's Real Deficit Crisis: http://www.huffingtonpost. com/news/time-famine 25. Young, Underemployed and Optimistic: http://www.pewso-
Mintel - America’s Pet Owners, March 2013
10. The Boomer-Millennial Workplace Clash: Is it Real?: http:// www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2013/06/04/theboomer-millennial-workplace-clash-is-it-real/ 11. The 'Trophy Kids' Go to Work: http://sec.online.wsj.com/article/SB122455219391652725.html 12. More than Half of Millennials Say Debt is Their “Biggest Financial Concern,” According to Wells Fargo Survey: https:// www.wellsfargo.com/press/2013/20130522_MorethanhalfofMillennials 13. This Woman Wants To Be Your Networking Wingman: http://
26. Meet Generation Z: http://gettingsmart.com/2012/12/ meet-generation-z/ 27. http://www.ibtimes.com/marketing-teens-and-millennalshow-turn-social-consumers-change-makers-697461# 28. Generation Z: Rebels With A Cause: http://www.forbes.com/ sites/onmarketing/2013/05/28/generation-z-rebels-with-acause/ 29. Generation Z – The New Philanthropists: http://koodooz. wordpress.com/2010/09/09/generation-z-the-new-philanthropists/
31. Another Generation Rises: Looking Beyond the Millen-
14. 72 Percent Millennials Want To Be Their Own Boss: http:// zeenews.india.com/business/news/companies/72-percentmillennials-want-to-be-their-own-boss_79006.html 15. How Millennial Parents Will Change Families: http://www.
nials: http://www.workforce.com/article/20130412/ NEWS02/130419988/another-generation-rises-looking-beyond-the-millennials# 32. Millennials: Diverse, Connected, and Committed to Sexual
Health and Rights: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/press-
16. Popular Vote 2012: Millennials Remain Underrepresented in Congress: http://www.policymic.com/articles/19355/pop-
33. Pew poll (New York Times, 5 April 2013) 34. Another Generation Rises: Looking Beyond the Millen-
17. Why Facebook May Not Be Enough For The Next Generation: http://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2012/02/06/whyfacebook-may-not-be-enough-for-the-next-generation/ 18. Covered on 'Glee,' Synched for Super Bowl & No. 3 on the
log-physical-hot/#ixzz2XxNW8rLa 22. New Fluent Survey Reveals Summer 2013 Forecast For College Millennials: More Work, Less Fun: http://visual.ly/
The End of Courtship?: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/
21. Q&A on ‘Embracing Analog: Why Physical Is Hot’: http://
a737-938b93f57ac3.html fashion/the-end-of-courtship.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 7.
twitter-music-app-100-most-followed-musicians 20. As Millennials Get Nostalgic, Brands Can Take Advantage:
The End of Courtship?: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/
19. The 100 Most Popular Musicians On Twitter: Get The Full List:
PHOTO CREDITS Front Cover
Photo credit: 55Laney69 / Foter / CC BY
Title: 21-06-10 Cause I'd Rather Pretend I'll Still Be There At The End
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~ Explored #1
Title: Fly away
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March / Gay Pride New York 2007 / SML
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Title: Argh! Wheres my phone?!
Title: Walking Home
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Title: Washington Monument - Washington, DC. (Explored!)
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Title: Wardrobe mirror
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Photo taken by Clemente Bornacelli.
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Tracking the elusive Millennial. For years now, it's been the subject of much scrutiny and debate among marketers. In these pages you'll f...