In this Part Two of our examination of the five big Millennial motivators, Dan Coates is delving into their single biggest driver.
In our last investigation on how to tap into the underlying values and motivators of the Millennial generation, we explored how the Millennial generation has taken a sharp left turn away from the hedonistic culture of sex, drugs, and risky business that was the generational playground of Boomers and Xers. This is a risk-averse generation that took a look at the behaviors that have preceded their coming of age and have decided ‘better not …’.
So what does motivate Millennials? As we stated last time, we’ve collected Millennials’ feelings across our 50 attribute valumeter, rolling these under a number of categories that speak to the underlying motivations of a generation. We’ve called the most dominant motivator ‘Integrity’ and it’s incredible how this motivator is at the core of how Millennials see themselves, as well as how they relate to the world around them. Digging into this motivator, it is defined by the following values:
- Working hard
- Developing new skills
- Having a healthy lifestyle
- Making your community a better place
- Standing up for yourself
- Being loyal to your friends
We’ve always heard the word ‘authenticity’ used when it comes to Millennials and we’re frequently asked what it actually means to them. Millennials live by a common code that can be simplified into expressions such as ‘being true to who you are,’ ‘being honest and straightforward,’ or ‘do what you say and say what you do’. The generation has grown up at a time when the adults who preceded them were practiced in the art of deception. Call it what you will—’spin’, ‘optics,’ or ‘narrative’—Millennials see it as a lot of B.S., and they flee whenever they sense a hint of it. Here’s how the individual values that comprise ‘Integrity’ rank for Millennials:
- Being loyal to your friends is ranked #3 of our 50 statements (93% of Millennials say that this is very or somewhat important to them)
- Standing up for yourself is ranked #5 of our 50 statements (92% of Millennials say that this is very or somewhat important to them)
- Developing new skills is ranked #6 of our 50 statements (92% of Millennials say that this is very or somewhat important to them)
- Working hard is ranked #8 of our 50 statements (91% of Millennials say that this is very or somewhat important to them)
- Having a healthy lifestyle is ranked #10 of our 50 statements (87% of Millennials say that this is very or somewhat important to them)
- Making your community a better place is ranked #26 of our 50 statements (74% of Millennials say that this is very or somewhat important to them)
We’ve witnessed these attributes intensify in Millennials’ post-recession mindset, and called it out in our quarterly report trend The Age of Not Believing, which is a pretty good descriptor of how a generation will react when all of the hopes and dreams they were promised during the long boom of the ’80s, ’90s, and the first half of the ’00s evaporated in an instant. Manifestations of the ‘Integrity’ motivator can be seen in Millennials’ attraction to products that make the world a better place as well as their desire to constantly improve themselves. Realizing that they cannot (yet) make the world around them perform to a higher standard, Millennials are focused on making themselves better, more authentic, and filled with integrity.
Often marketers will ask us to help them to become more ‘authentic’ and, I’ll admit it here for the first time, there’s little that we can do for them on this front. If a company wasn’t built upon the foundation of achieving something beyond making money or satisfying shareholders, there’s not much that can be done to develop the integrity that will draw Millennials to them. Brands that were born out of a passionate desire to perfect a product or category, make the world a better place, or solve a problem for the sake of the challenge involved have authenticity, and the integrity Millennials are drawn to, built in from the start.
Dan started his career twenty years ago as a data analyst in Vancouver, Canada’s most beautiful city. Abandoning the idyllic pleasures of the Pacific Northwest, Dan has since lived and worked in Toronto, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Dallas, and now New York. While Dan has worked for big companies such as SPSS (now IBM) Burke, The Angus Reid Group (now IPSOS-Reid) and Millward Brown, his passion lies in bringing new businesses to life. To date Dan has been a founder of three companies: Planetfeedback (now Nielsen Buzzmetrics), Eppointments, and SurveyU as well as an early participant in Polimetrix (now YouGov USA) and Globalpark (now QuestBack). He wakes up every morning, eager to see Ypulse reach its full potential.