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Gen Z & Millennials Think These Brands Make the World Better

The YPulse brand tracker measures the brands’ CSR reputations among young consumers—including what brands they believe make the world a better place…


Since 2018, the YPulse brand tracker has monitored the brand health of over 400 brands every single week. The tracker collects over 100K interviews of young consumers per year revealing 13-39-year-olds’ affinity for brands across industries, looking at metrics like what brands are cool, talked about, expresses who they are, and more.

But in the last few years, it has become increasingly clear how vital corporate social good has become in winning over next generation shoppers. To more thoroughly explore this aspect of brand love, YPulse expanded the metrics of the tracker in 2020, adding new diagnostics and creating a groundbreaking CSR measure than rolls up brands’ scores on reflecting diversity, supporting causes, being eco-friendly, and making the world a better place.

The new CSR score, and the related diagnostics, provide a new measure of brands’ success, which can be explored in full in the CSR Analysis workbook in the brand data dashboard. We also delved into the relationship between CSR perceptions on young consumers’ purchase intent in our new special report The Real Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility. Through that research, we found that the new CSR metric Makes the World a Better Place is the one most closely tied to purchase intent. This diagnostic measures what brands young consumers view as creating a positive influence in their world. This is often due to brands’ clear and active participation in social good, but brands that make their own lives better (and easier) can score highly here as well. When we ask young consumers how they would describe a brand that Makes the World a Better Place? Their responses encompass everything from eco-efforts to inclusion, showing that there are many ways a brand can be considered one that fits this attribute. A Gen Z female defined it as a brand being “Environmentally friendly; cares for customers; cuts down on pollution,” and a Gen Z male explained “I think a brand makes the world a better place when it improves social environments; assists minorities; and makes those little (but big) changes in the world.” A Millennial female said simply “that they use their position to make a difference,” and a Millennial male gave the definition “actively improving the lives of their employees; the communities they operate in; and their customers.”

Clearly there are many things that brands can do to score well on this diagnostic—but which brands actually score highest on it? Here are brands with the highest Makes the World a Better Place scores among both Gen Z and Millennials:

YouTube is the highest scoring brand on this diagnostic among Gen Z, while Google is at the top of the ranking for Millennials. Gen Z’s high esteem for YouTube seems to have few limits. The generation has grown up on the platform, and our recent Social Media Deep Dive report found that they believe it’s the most entertaining platform. We also found that happy and peaceful are the top ways they feel when using it. But their positive views of the site extend beyond entertainment. Especially during COVID, the site became a resource for health information and mental wellness among young people. Of course, YouTube has also emphasized social good efforts in the last few years, creating resources for “social impact creators” and in 2020 launching a $100 million fund to “amplify” the voices of Black creators. While YouTube didn’t make Millennials’ top five ranking for this diagnostic, it is in their top 10.

Google is number one for Millennials, number two for Gen Z, and one of only two brands that make the top five list for both generations. In fact, Google is actually the top scoring CSR brand among 13-39-year-olds. overall, with high marks on each of the individual diagnostics. But Makes the World a Better Place is the diagnostic it performs most strongly in. Like YouTube, Google’s involvement in social impact is not hard to find, but the company’s branding might be one of the biggest reasons it’s so high on the list. From the beginning, Google has promoted themselves as the “don’t be evil” company—and on a near daily basis, the brand’s Google Doodles remind young consumers that they care about something, whether it be encouraging users to wear masks or celebrating historically overlooked groups and individuals. Also similar to YouTube, Google is a resource for young consumers to learn about the issues and causes they care about, perhaps naturally aligning it in their minds with social good.

Some might be surprised to see Amazon on the list for both generations, considering recent headlines about conditions for employees of the brand, and hashtags pushing for boycotts of the site. But Amazon also makes the overall top 10 list of brands that Support Causes in YPulse’s brand data—it’s possible that their charitable Amazon Smile efforts have broken through to young consumers. What’s definitely true is that Amazon makes their own lives, and therefore worlds, better. Clearly, young consumers feel the site is making a positive impact on the world in some way.

YPulse Business users can access the full The Real Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility report and data here.

Don’t have a YPulse Business account? Find out more here.