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Gen Z

  • Article

Welcome to the Age of Intentionalism

Mukta ChowdharyVP, Cultural Insights, WarnerMedia

Key Takeaways

  • Intentionalism motivates consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Z. Millennials and Gen Z are rethinking their lives and making decisions with increased intention, including how they use their time and what brands they spend their money on: 71% of consumers are now more purposeful in all their decisions. Post-pandemic, consumers will continue to be more intentional.
  • Brands can break through with “people-positive marketing,” providing collaboration, empowerment and additive experiences. Mukta offered a framework for brand’s advertising to these consumers involving reflection, restoring, building and inspiring. Consumer intention and attention levels are factors in this framework. When the framework is applied to streaming, audiences favor advertising that respects their time, creates a cohesive experience, experiments with storytelling and challenges conventions.
  • There are four consumer streaming intentions: Boost mood, create time markers, explore identity and foster growth. These intentions are fluent and overlap. Mood (53%) is the factor most influencing streaming decisions. Viewers also seek growth and knowledge when streaming.
  • Streaming fills basic consumer needs for comfort, connection and inspiration. The primary way consumers want to spend their free-time is with entertainment: 85% of Gen Z and Millennials agree that entertainment saved them during the pandemic. However, they are also intentional about what they watch: 83% of Gen Z and Millennials have become more selective with the entertainment they are streaming. Additionally, streaming is fully integrated into their lives all day.

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Death Stars in the Media Universe

Evan Shapiro, CEO-Producer-Pundit-Strategist, ESHAP; Adjunct Professor, Fordham and NYU, shared his latest “Media Universe Map”, discussed the rapidly changing media landscape and predicted more corporate consolidation.

  • Shapiro stressed the gravitational pull of the largest trillion-dollar companies — “The Death Stars” — resulting from their assets, audience sizes and the dollars they hold.
  • Main drivers of the media ecosystem include reactions created, directly or indirectly, by The Death Stars and the shift in generational dominance in the media ecosystem—both in company management and audiences.
  • To be successful in this environment, media companies need utility (having attributes that consumers use daily), loyal audiences, the ability to appeal to younger generations and a diverse model, a corporate "flywheel" to bring in revenue that can be put into new business ventures.
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A Fresh Look at Generations

Two presentations discussed generational differences and change. We have previously reported on one of them, Bobby Duffy, Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Policy Institute at King's College London, who questions widely held assumptions of generational differences. The other was from J. Walker Smith, Knowledge Lead, Consulting Division, Kantar, who focused on generational change.

  1. Walker Smith showed a timeline of generational cohorts back to the early 20th century. This was to emphasize that throughout this long history of successive generations, there have only been two major breaks in overarching social values. The first occurred after the end of World War II which the Baby Boomers helped usher in. The second is occurring today with the rise of Gen Z in the marketplace. Individualism ascended in the 60’s and has dominated ever since. These days, a greater sense of communalism is being layered on top.
The bigger takeaway is that change in core social values takes place over long periods. Sources for Bobby Duffy’s book: Duffy, B. (2021, November 9). THE GENERATION MYTH Why When You’re Born Matters Less Than You Think. Basic Books. The book was reviewed in The New Yorker, Oct 18, 2021, by Louis Menand and in the New York Times Book Review. January 9, 2022, by Casey Schwartz.

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Interpreting Survey Responses

Data from a recent Gallup survey remind us that responses from survey participants need to be interpreted carefully, as they are impacted by culture and respondents’ willingness to talk about certain topics. Case in point: Reported identification as LGBT appears less related to actual sexual orientation than to age. Gallup asks Americans whether they personally identify as straight or heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, as part of the demographic information it collects on all US telephone surveys. Here are results based on aggregated 2021 data, via interviews with over 12,000 adults. Gallup concludes that the “increase in LGBT identification in recent years largely reflects the higher prevalence of such identities among the youngest U.S. adults compared with older generations…. “Since Gallup began measuring LGBT identification in 2012, the percentage of traditionalists, baby boomers and Gen X adults who identify as LGBT has held relatively steady…The percentage of Gen Z who are LGBT has nearly doubled since 2017.” One might add that these findings also reveal a lot about generational differences in discussing “private” behaviors. Source: Jones, J. M. (2022, February 17). LGBT Identification in U.S. Ticks Up to 7.1%. Gallup.

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Media 101 — A Guide to Buying and Selling (Event Summary)

  • Bruna Isensee, Univision
  • YOUNG PROS

At our February Young Pros event, Meghan McGuirk, VP Group Director, Investments at Havas Media, Cristina Schlobohm, Director of Communications Strategy at Havas Media, and Kara Donahue, Account Executive at Roku, walked attendees through the media buying and selling process. They explained the five main media planning milestones: briefing, defining a strategy, tactical work, activating a campaign and reporting after it’s complete. Each speaker elaborated by using real life examples and showed the perspective and impact that all teams involved in the process have—both on the client or vendor side.

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NYCU: How to Predict Consumer Behavior Change

Analysis of generational change can help make accurate forecasts about trends in consumer behavior – but only if done right.   Many forecasts about future consumer behavior use data on generational changes as basis for predictions about “what’s next”.  In doing so, they often ignore the complexity of change, that is, they only look at one of the three mechanisms that cause changes:

  • Cohort Effects: Behaviors, attitudes and beliefs that are more common among members of a certain generation. Most generational analyses focus on Cohort Effects, but they often exaggerate differences between generations, understate differences between members of the same generation and – most importantly – overlook the other two change mechanisms.     
  • Period Effects: These are changes resulting from events and circumstances that affect everybody, all living generations at once. These range from war and disasters to periods of economic boom.  
  • Life-Cycle Effects: Members of all generations change as they grow older and experience getting married, having children and so on.
 The key to using generational analyses in consumer behavior forecasts, therefore, is to untangle these three mechanisms and recognize the importance of period and life-cycle effects, to avoid overstating cohort effects. Those are the key arguments in a new book, The Generation Myth: Why When You're Born Matters Less Than You Think, by Bobby Duffy, Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Policy Institute at King's College London, previously with Ipsos. He warns against defining people simply by when they were born and thusly making inaccurate assumptions. One example: It is widely believed that Gen Z, because of stated concerns about corporate behavior, frequently boycotts products by companies seen as behaving irresponsibly. Duffy finds that the data do not support that assumption. Sources: Duff, B. (2021, November 9).  THE GENERATION MYTH Why When You’re Born Matters Less Than You Think. Basic Books.  The book was reviewed in The New Yorker, Oct 18, 2021, by Louis Menand and in the New York Times Book Review. January 9, 2022, by Casey Schwartz.

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