Who Do Millennials Trust?


Despite evidence that Millennials overall trust less than previous generations, “trust no one” hasn’t quite become their mantra. When we asked Millennials ages 14-32 if there are any brands that they can really trust, 73% said yes—an unexpected majority of brand trusters in a group that has become known for their skepticism of institutions.
 
Interestingly, some of the differences between younger and older Millennials might be affecting their trust levels, as 75% of Millennials over 18-year-old said there was a brand they could trust, compared to 68% of Millennials under 18. As younger Millennials were raised during the recession, they tend to be more pragmatic and less optimistic than older Millennials, and this lower trust level could stem from that background.
 
Of course, the fact that they say there is a brand they can trust does not mean that their trust isn’t tough to earn and easy to lose. They are still a group that is quick to react when they learn a brand is not meeting their expectations, and are often suspicious of the motives of companies. Meanwhile, a brand’s reputation can be contentious: even those brands that have earned the trust of some made the list of untrusted brands. 

So who do they trust? When we asked that 73% to tell us the brand they trust the most, tech brands dominated the top of the list:  

Apple, Samsung, Google, and Nike (which for many is a blend of an attire and tech brand thanks to their pioneering fitness tracking technology) all rose to the top of the list of 20 most trusted brands. 12% of respondents who say there is a brand they can trust named Apple as that brand, double the amount of Nike, which was the second most trusted brand at 6%. Tech brands’ dominance of the most trusted list aligns with the generation’s reliance on their devices, but…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“Art is basically my job and I enjoy it so much.”—Female, 15, MD

Snap is making its “biggest move” in scripted original content, teaming up with NBCUniversal and the Duplass brothers for their next series. The Duplass-owned creative studio Donut will produce original series for Snap shot in vertical video. NBCU and Snap will also be opening a joint digital content studio focused completely on mobile-first entertainment, “formaliz[ing] their partnership” and putting Snap firmly in the producing/original content creation camp. Snap’s mobile-only approach is part of a movement to shake up how we view videos—in fact, they’re calling their offering “a fundamentally new medium.” (THRTechCrunch)

Eggo frozen waffles are capitalizing on their unexpected Stranger Things’ fame. The brand has seized the marketing opportunity of being a part of one of Millennials & Gen Z’s favorite shows, tying themselves into Netflix’s Super Bowl ad, creating a special toaster for select fans, and swarming New York Comic Con with people dressed up like Eleven armed with “watch party kits” (aka “waffles and a microwavable syrup server”). To prep for the premiere of season two of the show, Eggo is sending out a fully-loaded food truck for the red carpet premiere, and going all out on social media to connect with fans. (MediaPost)

More teens than ever have severe anxiety, but why? The American College Health Association found a 12% increase in undergrads reporting “overwhelming anxiety” from 2011 to 2016, and several studies concur that “there’s just been a steady increase of severely anxious students.” Social media is part of the problem—constant like-monitoring and cyber bullying isn’t helping the most stressed generation to date. There’s also an increasing (and constant) perceived need to over-achieve. One psychology professor observes, “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college.” (NYTimes)

Ypulse research has shown that 88% of Millennial parents are trying to avoid helicopter parenting—but they might not be able to help it. The constant media storm of global atrocities and everyday stories of parenting gone wrong combined with advertisers’ willingness to fear-monger, results in a generation of (understandably) anxious parents. It doesn’t help that the tech to constantly monitor kids is easily available (albeit pricey)—from drone surveillance meant for the military to devices that track “blood-oxygen levels all night long.” One relationship therapist sums up, “Everyone is having a hard time drawing a line and just figuring out what’s reasonable versus what’s over-protective.” (Refinery29)

Brands are turning college students into mini-sales forces. Aerie, Victoria’s Secret Pink, and Express are just a few of the many brands that have a program for college campus reps where students receive swag, experience, and other perks for helping bring brand awareness to their colleges. Though brands don’t always require social posts, most ambassadors do share their swag on social, bringing organic ads to their friends’ feeds. The biggest draw is that social posts from reps “[come] across as natural, authentic, a product that they would normally use or want to talk about.” (Racked)

“[Celebrity] can mean anything nowadays and it's a rather diluted term; from YouTube star, to someone on Instagram with millions of followers, to reality TV dopes, etc.”—Male, 30, WI

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