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What Do Young Consumers Trust Brands To Teach Them?

The majority of young people trust brands to teach them something–here are the top things brands could be providing an education on…

Gen Z and Millennials are generations of researchers who use Google, YouTube, and social media as their teachers to learn about everything from new passions to the products they’re planning to buy. YPulse’s Self-Taught trend survey dives into what topics young people are turning to the internet to learn, what they wish they had learned in school, and how they research brands. As these generations look to digital resources to learn new things, brands need to understand that young consumers are actively looking into them, with 85% saying they have done research on a brand that they have purchased from, and “how to use a product” one of the top things they’ve researched to learn in their free time. But those same brands also have an opportunity to cater to their hunger for knowledge with marketing that doubles as entertaining educational content. We asked 13-39-year-olds to tell us exactly what they trust brands to teach them about, giving them a range of options. Only 9% of young consumers told us they don’t trust brands to teach them about anything and these were the top things they choose as topics they would trust brands to teach:

The Top Things They Trust Brands To Teach Them About
Among 13-39-year-olds

  1. DIY / How to
  2. I only trust brands to teach me about their products / service
  3. Beauty / skin care
  4. Information on the industry they are in
  5. A hobby
  6. Music
  7. Arts & Design
  8. Computer skills
  9. Social causes
  10. Business skills 

DIY / How-to content is the top thing Gen Z and Millennials say they trust brands to teach them, which presents a massive marketing opportunity. DIY/How-to is also the top thing that young people tell YPulse they have researched to learn in their own time, and there’s certainly been a surge in DIY/How-to content during the pandemic. YouTube—which is one of the top resources they go to first when they want to learn something—reported a600% increase in daily views of #WithMe videos in March 2020, as young users quarantined at home and sought connection and new ways to pass the time. Other brands have gotten into the DIY spirit by launching their own projects to reach young consumers: amid the hair dye boom, Sally Beauty launched DIY University by Sally Beauty last spring, which is a DIY hair color class hosted by celebrity hairstylist Gregory Patterson. Last spring, Ace Hardware worked with DIY influencers to help young customers work on their home improvement projects, while The Home Depot—which is one of the top retail brands among Gen Z and Millennials—hosted DIY and Homeowner 101 livestream shows to reach quarantined young consumers and offered product links and Q&A sessions to answer questions participants had.

But the next option young consumers were most likely to choose was “I only trust brands to teach me about their products / service.” The fact that this and “information about the industry they [the brand] are in” are top five responses to this question indicates that brands are probably safest sticking close to their industry expertise when they’re doling out education. Options like politics, parenting skills, career, and mental health were far less likely to be chosen as topics that young consumers would trust brands to teach them. Of course, this still leaves plenty of opportunity as it’s clear that young people are looking for the best ways to use products, and insider info on a brand’s industry. In fact, 64% tell us that they are  interested in learning about tips / skills in a brand’s industry on their social media pages and websites.

It’s also notable that third on the ranking is beauty/skincare, showing that beauty brands especially have an opening to create and share educational content about their products and the category as a whole. Of course, one of the go-to ways to provide this education is through influencers, who young consumers were even more likely to tell YPulse they would trust to learn about not only this subject but nearly every topic on the list. We told you that young consumers trust influencers just as much as they trust traditional public figures, and brands in this space have certainly taken advantage of that. One of the best examples of this is perhaps CeraVe who frequently collaborated with influencer (and CeraVe superfan) Hiriam Yarbro, featured their products in skincare routine and tutorials, and taught his viewers how to use them.

Overall, Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to trust brands to teach them skills and information that have to do with brand’s specific products and services, general knowledge, and their hobbies and passions compared to more serious topics like mental health or politics. Brands could be pushing educational content about their products and industries as marketing, and young consumers would be on board. But keep in mind that partnering with influencers likely increases the trust factor for these generations.

​YPulse Business users can access the full Self-Taught trend report and data here.

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