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These Are The Top Causes Gen Z & Millennials Want Brands Involved In

We asked young people the causes that they’re passionate about today, and which they would like to see brands get more involved in…

Last year, in the wake of protests and social media takeovers that showed just how activated Gen Z and Millennials are, YPulse’s Not Waiting For the World to Change trend report explored these generations’ political outlooks, their involvement in activism, what they expect from the brands they support. We found that 2020 changed what social good looks like not only for young people but for brands, who are expected to speak on and support the issues that matter to these generations. We also found the majority of both generations say they actively seek out brands that support the causes they believe in.

At the beginning of 2021, YPulse’s most recent Causes & Activism behavioral report asked Gen Z and Millennials all about their views on causes, and brands’ CSR, to continue to track just how young people want brands to be involved. As usual, we found that the majority (83%) of young people believe all brands should do some sort of social good / charitable work—but we also explored exactly what causes matter most to them right now, and which they most want brands to get more involved in.

In light of the events of the last year, we adjusted the list of causes that we asked young people about in comparison to years prior to make sure to include current issues—and indeed, these causes are the ones that they are currently most likely to say they’re passionate about:

Both Gen Z and Millennials are most likely to say that COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and Racism are the causes that they’re passionate about. These issues have dominated headlines and their lives for the past year, so it’s not a surprise that they are at the top of the list. We should clarify that this does not mean that other issues do not matter to them any longer, or will not become more important to them again in the future. But these causes are clearly their focus at the moment.

There are some differences between the rankings of causes that matter most to these generations right now, and one in particular stands out: Gen Z is far more likely than Millennials to say that they are passionate about LGBTQ discrimination—potentially because they are more likely to be impacted by this issue personally. YPulse’s recent Finding Love Post-COVID trend report found that Gen Z is far more likely than Millennials to identify as LGBTQ, with 76% of the younger generation identifying as “straight” compared to 84% of Millennials, and 15% identifying as “bisexual” compared to 9% of Millennials.

But are the causes they’re most passionate about the ones that these generations want to see brands get involved in? In short, yes:

The issues at the top of the ranking of causes that Gen Z and Millennials want brands involved in align with those that they’re most likely to say they’re passionate about. We recently found that their desire for brands to be involved in supporting Black Lives Matter has not faded a bit in the months since the protests. These hot button topics are ones that brands might have avoided in the past. But 2020 changed the standard of brand CSR. Young people want brands to get involved in the serious problems that are weighing on them.


YPulse Business users can access the full Causes & Activism report and data here.

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