8095 Report: For Millennials, Information Is A Key To Influence

8095 Report- For Millennials, Information Is A Key To Influence-2

This post is written by Amanda Mooney, Account Supervisor, Strategy, for Edelman Digital in Chicago, Millennial and co-lead for Edelman 8095.

According to a recent Kaiser Foundation study, teens today grow up spending 7.5 hours per day creating and consuming media and, according to Mintel, that average jumps to more than 13 hours per day for 25-30 year olds. The average person in my generation now spends more time creating and consuming media than most of our parents spend in their fulltime jobs. Consider the adage that it takes 10,000 hours to master a craft and we can “master” media and communications in a matter of a few years. We reach for our laptops in the middle of the night, for our mobile first thing when we wake up in the morning and we’re constantly seeking out second, third, fourth, fifth opinions on everything from life decisions to the most basic, everyday purchase decisions. In fact, 75% of global Millennials in our study said that they are never disconnected for more than an hour a day and one in seven Indian Millennials said that at no point are they disconnected during the course of their day. To assume that one ad, on one broadcast medium is enough to influence us, is ludicrous these days. We are subjected to such a massive flow of information and each piece of information, from every source, has the power to shape or entirely shift our perception of a brand or product.

In our study of Millennials around the world, 15-30 year-olds told us:

  • They look for information about brands on average about 7.4 times per month. Millennial moms lead the way, actively seeking brand information 9.2 times per month. And whether we’re seeking it or not, it’s hitting us from every angle, from every stream. Consider it a kind of “ambient awareness” about the popular sentiment or issues surrounding certain products or brands that we’re considering.
  • They use four or more sources of information to make their final purchase decision on everything from clothes, to electronics, to grooming products.
  • While we’re considered one of the most independent generations, 36% of us admit that we will not make a purchase that our friends don’t approve of. We are always in the process of picking up on friends cues about whether a purchase could be seen as uncool or stupid by our buddies. Millennials in Germany are most likely to say this, as half of them (51%) fully admit that they aren’t likely to make a purchase their friends disapprove of.
  • Finally, when they have a customer service issue, they’re increasingly turning to friends, family and our social networks for support. One third of Millennials we surveyed said they turn to their friends for support as their first course of action if they have an issue. More than one in five (22%) turn to their family for support and one in five turn to their social networks. Less than one percent will take the traditional route of calling a customer service line as their first recourse.

To assume, however, that our generation is “dumber” as a result of being constantly bombarded by information or that we are an increasingly frantic, ADD generation unable or unwilling to sort out what’s truly important, is to profoundly miss the point. As Clay Shirky has said, “It is to assume that… this generation of young people will fail to invent cultural norms that do for the internet’s abundance what the intellectuals of the 17th century did for print culture.” He goes on to say, in Digital Life, “It’s not information overload, it’s filter failure.” I think what we’ll see, what I’m seeing in myself as a Millennial and in friends my own age, is that we’ll avoid this filter failure by circumventing a system of purely technical filters. Our friends are our filters, our trusted editors. Yes, our attention is potentially fractured if we focus on every bit and byte of information that’s directed at us during the course of a day, but a few trusted friends can focus our attention on what’s truly important- for everything from purchase decisions to staying on top of key world events and issues. However, when our friends are our filters, when we even rely on them to help when we have customer service issues, how can your brand ensure that the information they’re filtering and feeding to us reflects back positively on your brand?

Edelman 8095 is the global Millennial consultancy at Edelman, the world’s largest independent public relations firm.

You can follow the conversation with Edelman 8095 on Tumblr, Twitter or Sina Weibo and view the full white paper from the study here.

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