International Mix Masters

That’s the label Spotify, a global music streaming and subscription service, placed on Millennials and the Z-Gen.  A 2019 study by the firm found that brands need to connect differently with these generations if they intend to be successful.

Why?

One outcome of their study is that no one person or group influences culture any longer.  They reported that it is everyone. The study, which was aimed at Millennials and Z-Gens, found that 32% of that audience felt that way.

Statista, a leading German online statistical company, reports that Millennials and Z-Gens made up nearly 50% (49.7&) of the US population in 2018.  That percentage will only increase as members of the Greatest, Silent, and Boomer generations pass. The two oldest generations made up more than 8% of the 2018 population.

What’s Changed?

In its February 2019 survey, online aesthetics altered what 64% of Z-Gens and Millennials expected “to see in the real world.”  These audiences like brands that reward them with something useful. They respect brands that are transparent.

Spotify also reported that politics, awareness, and activism have also become increasingly important.  A survey by the Huffington Post reported that since the 2016 election, 25% of 18- to 30-year-olds had been to a rally or protest.  That was in contrast to 10% of folks over 30 years of age. 

When it comes to brands taking a stand, the Spotify study reported that respondents’ top priorities in terms of messaging were honesty, equality, and freedom. 

How to Appeal and Engage

Companies that have taken positions, but are seeking to reach out even more to Z-Gens and Millennials, might consider not just taking a stand, but taking action that makes a difference.  It’s one thing, for example, for a company to speak out against homelessness and hunger, and another to step up to lead a campaign of recruiting volunteers and collecting and distributing food supplies. 

The earlier Huffington Post survey also said 66% of Millennials and Z-Gens want brands to “play a more meaningful role in society” and encourage more liberal beliefs.

Spotify’s survey results in part supported the Huffington Post.  It reported that 59% of the same demographic felt that companies need to better demonstrate that they not only need to let these publics know they understand the challenges customers face, but also communicate their moral backing.

In addition to that, Spotify also reported that they found that 55% of respondents discovered fellowship in sharing feelings of loneliness and sadness.  Another 61% said they frequently found themselves preferring to sleep or stay in, rather than venture out. 

Companies that are in doubt as to issues and interests of their target market need to go a step further.  They need to survey their customers and get a clearer picture before moving off in one direction or another. 

The timing is good for brands that wish to increase their share of market with these two demographics by addressing some of their concerns and interests.  Obviously, there are even more issues, many of them controversial, that companies can also adopt and lead. If these are considered, companies need to first determine how each fits into their brand and corporate values before moving forward.