Global Research Findings and Insights into the World’s Most Influential Generation and How Brands Can Connect With Them
From international CMOs to election strategists, everyone is seeking the attention and support of today’s Global Youth (ages 14-25). Today, Zeno Group is releasing global findings from its proprietary research, The Human ProjectÔ, which provides an intimate and insightful portrait of this generation of men and women who are vastly different and more complex than previous youth generations. The study, conducted in partnership with CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights, gathered data from more than 5,000 individuals in the United States, Canada, China, India, Australia and the United Kingdom. The study defines “Global Youth” as those born between 1991 and 2001 and divides them into two distinct groups “Gen WE” (14-20) and “Gen Z” (21-25).
Examining the nuances into how Youth think, act and behave is imperative for companies and brands as they look to maintain relevance with today’s most digitally intuitive generation. Gen WE and Gen Z are masters of platform, more self-aware, success-driven, socially-responsible and more globally-minded than any generation before them.
“There has never been a youth generation that looks and acts like this one, and that wields more influence,” said Therese Caruso, Managing Director of Global Strategy and Insights for Zeno Group. “They are shaping the global conversation and workplace of the future. The only way for brands to connect is to act like a best friend – the values young people assign to their deepest relationships are the same values they want to see in brands. The Human Project connects brands through shared values and beliefs and tells the story about what compels this audience to become advocates and evangelizers.”
This year’s The Human Project uncovered seven global truths which uniquely characterize the Global Youth generation and how they are shaping the world.
- Youth Wield Powerful Influence. There has never been a generation with more influence both inside and outside the family and this has changed the dynamic of the modern family. Seventy-eight percent of parents with children in this group feel that their kids are more involved in their family’s decisions than they themselves were as children.
- The New Leadership Paradigm. Global Youth do not view leadership by the traditional, top-down mode. Rather, they prefer a lead-by-example, collaborative model – “leaders bring people together to get things done.” On a scale of 92 values, leadership is ranked extremely low at 65 or high, while equality is ranked number two by the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia.
- Friendship Built on Values vs. Shared Interests. Global Youth build friendships not on proximity or convenience, but on shared values, like morals, ethics and beliefs, and priorities. Thanks to this group’s strong sense of identity, peer pressure is also starting to fade.
- Technology + The Love/Hate Paradox. Global Youth work to maintain a balanced relationship – not a dependency – on technology. They are keenly aware that technology can support their larger goals, but also know it can work against them.
- Youth Are Health Aware, Guided by Balance. Global Youth research and educate themselves on all-around health and wellness, and they aren’t interested in “traditional diets.” Out of 92 values, health was ranked number one among Chinese youth – differing greatly from the values of their parents.
- Happiness Re-Defined: The New WE/Z Happiness Equation. Global Youth view “happiness” as equal-parts balance, success and purpose. Success tops the list as the highest-ranking value among Global Youth in the U.S., Canada, U.K., India and Australia. Purpose is overall a high-ranking value among Global Youth with parents in Canada, Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. ranking purpose significantly lower than youth.
- A Brand Called “Me”: Youth vs. Brand as Status Symbol. Global Youth are passionate about brands that help to enhance and build upon their own, personal brand. In order to earn this group’s trust and loyalty, brands must understand their mindset and personal goals.
“The goal of The Human Project is to challenge marketers to view key audiences not as targets or even consumers, but as real human beings,” said Barby K. Siegel, CEO of Zeno Group. “It is no longer enough for marketers to understand category-specific behavior, but must now tap into a deeper set of core values.”
“It’s urgent that marketers understand today’s global youth. Not just because they’re important consumers in their own right, but because youth are reshaping the culture in which brands are operating. It’s time for brands to take the level of research focus and priority they’ve given to Millennials and apply it to this new generation of consumers,” said Kate Muhl, Research Director, CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights.
About The Human Project™
In 2014, The Human Project launched its proprietary methodology focusing on the values and lifestyle survey data to compile an “Active Family” profile for parents across three generations – Millennials, Xers and Young Boomers – with children aged 0 – 18. Each year, The Human Project will study a different category of people, tracking the changing values behind human behaviors against the values of brands and organizations with the goal of identifying paths to brand advocacy across five key focus areas: Personal Success (Family Life); Professional Success (Work Life); Health/Wellness, Eating/Drinking; Media/Technology; Money, Spending and the Economy.
The Human Project’s proprietary data models arm marketing and communications leaders with targeted and tangible strategies for engaging with consumers, transforming key audiences from brand agnostics to brand evangelists. The Human Project offers specific tools which enable brands and organizations to build genuine connections with distinct generations. One of these tools, The Brand Humanizer, helps brands articulate their values in a way that is relevant to human values, and then identifies where brand values and human values do and do not align.
About Zeno Group
Zeno Group is a global, integrated communications agency, born from PR. The award-winning agency is committed to work that delivers true business value for clients across consumer, corporate, health and technology industries. Zeno is the unprecedented three-time PRWeek US Mid-Size Agency of the Year winner (2011 – 2013), winner of PRWeek Malaysia New Consultancy of the Year (2015), recipient of the SABRE Silver Anvil (2015) and most recently recognized at PR Cannes Lions (2015). Zeno Group is a DJE Holdings Company. Please visit us at https://zenogroup.com/, or find us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
About CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights
CEB is a best practice insight and technology company. In partnership with leading organizations around the globe, we develop innovative solutions to drive corporate performance. CEB equips leaders at more than 10,000 companies with the intelligence to effectively manage talent, customers, and operations. CEB is a trusted partner to nearly 90% of the Fortune 500 and FTSE 100, and more than 70% of the Dow Jones Asian Titans. More at www.cebglobal.com.
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