Mindset of the New Millennial

With close to 75 million people and a projected spending power of $1.4 trillion by 2020, understanding the mindset of the Millennial generation is more than important for brands today – it’s mission-critical. Yet getting through to this generation of independent, critical thinkers is not so simple. Yes, there is a lot of information about how much time they spend on the Internet, and how fixated this generation of 18- to 34-year-olds is with its mobile devices and all the ways to self-express and stay connected via technology.

But beyond knowing how they spend their time and communicate with friends, marketers need to understand the most important aspect of this group of consumers: How they think!

When we understand how this increasingly powerful generation thinks about themselves, their world and their relationships with brands, we can create equally powerful brand experiences and customer relationship programs to capture their immediate attention and secure lifetime value.

Some insights:

According to Cone and AMP research, the top ways Millennials see themselves are (opens as a PDF):

  • Open-minded: 81 percent
  • Intelligent: 80 percent
  • Responsible: 73 percent
  • Thoughtful: 73 percent

Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) study on Millennials shows that they see their generation as having the following personality traits (opens as a PDF):

  • Rebellious
  • Arrogant and Self-Centered
  • Funny, Humorous
  • Hip and Snarky
  • Risk-taking but Lazy

Put those traits together (sans lazy) with entrepreneurialism and you can see why 160,000 businesses started up in just one year were founded by Millennials.

Other research from various groups such as Edelman and Neilsen shows us that Millennials align with organizations and brands that reflect their values.

And those values according to BCG, Neilsen, Edelman and just about any other research firm include:

  • Charity and community
  • Fitness
  • Optimism
  • Excitement
  • Status and Professional Success
  • Adventure
  • Self-expression
  • Connectedness to others

Because for years, consumer research has shown that we consumers most trust people who seem to be just like us when it comes to guiding our choices and purchasing decisions, we marketers have the difficult challenge of trying to incorporate all of the above into one persona and marketing appeal. But it can be done.