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generation why

Gen Y's Top Issues: Economy, Environment and Education [Report]

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 24, 2012 10:16 AM

Turns out Gen Y is “greatly misunderstood, and for those looking to connect with them — whether a political campaign or a consumer brand – it is critical to understand that Gen Y cares deeply about the world around them, even if they have their own unique ways of expressing it,” according to Joe Kessler, President, The Intelligence Group, whose latest survey was just released.

“Generation Y: Slacktivism or Social Consciousness?” finds that Millennials are not only socially aware but also uniquely positioned, as digital natives, to meaningfully impact the world of today.

The “Good Guide” polled nine-hundred 18-34 year olds on topics ranging from the upcoming U.S. Presidential election, their advocacy platforms of choice and who is responsible for positive change in today’s world.

Key Findings include:

  • 73% will base their vote for President based on who will make the world better overall, while 27% will base their vote on who they think will improve their personal situation.
  • In 2007, young voters ranked their top issues as terrorism, war, and education; in 2012, it's the economy, environment, and education.
  • In 2007, young voters ranked their top causes as cancer, animal rights, and education; in 2012, they favor education, ending poverty, and the environment.
  • Two out of three believe that “a person on a computer, being aware and spreading the word” can create more change than “a person on the street, rallying and protesting.”
  • They rank the green movement, hybrid cars, branded reusable tote bags and climate change awareness as four of the top six “hot” issues, along with Save the Children and yoga; 44% said they agree with the statement “I try to practice being green in my daily life”; and only 15% say they never buy green, eco-friendly products.
  • 56% would take a pay cut to work somewhere that is positively changing the world.

“This generation of 80 million plus cares about the world around them and they show and share their social consciousness through the products they choose, the entertainment they consume, and the experiences they pursue,” said Kessler. “This is a generation with a strong social conscious and they are a force to be reckoned with.”

Kessler suggests that politicians “might consider taking a page from the best-in-class companies and brands that have successfully engendered loyalty from Gen Ys by embracing the key cultural and social forces that drive them, rather than just reading and reacting to polling data.” 

“Gen Ys can sniff out insincerity like no others, and given the real-time nature of their tech-driven interaction, will abandon you faster than you can possibly strategize to regain their trust if they catch you being phony.”

And for marketers and advertisers, “you’re more likely to move them by joining that circle of “friends” and family than you are by trying to “sell” them through time-anchored TV ads.”

Activism has moved from the Woolworth’s lunch counter and marching protests of the 1960’s to the to click of a mouse, and the challenge is to reach and engage Gen Y with authenticity, transparency befitting their wired, “Wevolution” mindset.

The Intelligence Group is a division of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and has been publishing quarterly Cassandra reports for 15 years, along with Cassandra Daily, a free daily trend email newsletter.

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