New global study finds the next generation of citizens is looking for transformative brand leadership, co-created solutions, and radical change for the future they want
December 4, 2020 – A health pandemic. Economic crisis. Racial justice uprising. Existential environmental threats. Like never before, a new generation is facing the confluence of profound global crises and calling for transformative brand leadership, co-created solutions, and radical change to meet an era of shifting paradigms, not just shifting preferences.
According to a new global study of more than 27,000 respondents by GlobeScan and BBMG, “Radically Better Future: The Next Gen Reckoning Report,” six in ten respondents under age 30 say the priority for the post-pandemic recovery should be restructuring society to deal with challenges like inequality and climate change, rather than just getting our economy back to normal as soon as possible.
And the next generation is looking for brands to lead the way – of those under 30, 81 percent believe brands are an essential part of the solution for the challenges facing humanity today. In addition, they want brands to create change with them, not just for them – 85 percent want to share ideas and experiences with brands to develop better solutions. And they will reward brands that take responsibility for their role in creating the change they seek – 93 percent of corporate employees under 30 agree the more their companies become socially and environmentally responsible, the more motivated and loyal they will be as employees.
“The next generation is calling out business as usual, and they want brands to lead the way to a radically better future,” says Raphael Bemporad, founding partner of the brand consultancy BBMG. “Today’s intersecting crises are not merely temporary trends that can be waited away. These are fundamental challenges to a broken status quo that all of us have to reckon with. We are being called to lead in an era of shifting paradigms, not just shifting preferences.”
“There is great urgency for brands to connect with their customers in different and more powerful ways,” says Chris Coulter, CEO of the insights and strategy consultancy GlobeScan. “Our global consumer research illustrates the enormous opportunity for purpose-driven brands to build more trust, loyalty, and market share, and help to solve environmental and social challenges while doing so, especially with younger generations.”
The Next Gen Reckoning – Research Findings At-a-Glance:
Radical Renewal: Six in ten respondents under age 30 say that in building the post-pandemic recovery, the priority should be on “restructuring our economy so it deals better with challenges like inequality and climate change,” rather than just “getting our economy back to normal as soon as possible,” compared to 53 percent of respondents over age 30.
Bold Brand Leadership: Eight in ten respondents across all generations in the study (81% under age 30, 79% over age 30) agree that “companies and their brands are an essential part of the solution for the challenges facing humanity today,” signaling a universal expectation for businesses and brands to take meaningful action. However, young people believe in the positive role of brands more strongly than older generations, as 32 percent of respondents under 30 strongly agree with the need for bold brand leadership compared to 26 percent of those over age 30.
Co-creating Solutions: 85 percent of respondents under age 30 say they are interested in “sharing my ideas and experiences with companies to help them develop better solutions to social and environmental problems,” compared to 77 percent of those over age 30.
Approve of Public Protest: Three-quarters (73%) of respondents under age 30 support “using public protests to raise awareness of an issue” compared to 65 percent of respondents over age 30, and 14 percent have protested publicly at events and rallies in the past year compared to 9 percent of respondents over age 30.
Urgency of Climate Action: More than six in ten respondents (61%) under age 30 strongly agree that “we as a society should respond to climate change with the same urgency” as we have responded to the health pandemic, compared to 53 percent of respondents over age 30, and 65% of next-gen respondents say they “feel guilty about my negative impact on the environment,” compared with only 51 percent of those over age 30.
Global Citizens: Nearly six in ten next-generation respondents (58%) say “I see myself more as a global citizen than as a citizen of [my own country],” compared to only 50 percent of respondents over age 30.
Rewarding Employers: Taking meaningful action to address the world’s challenges is also delivering benefits for brands as employers, with nearly six in ten respondents (59%) under age 30 who currently work for large companies with more than 1,000 employees saying they strongly agree that “the more socially and environmentally responsible my company becomes, the more motivated and loyal I become as (an employee),” compared to 53 percent of respondents over age 30.
Future Optimism: Despite the significant challenges that society is facing today, 61 percent of next-generation respondents under age 30 believe “our children and grandchildren will have a higher quality of life than we do today,” compared to 54 percent of respondents over age 30.
“Our research shows that the next generation is hungry for meaningful and lasting change,” adds Bemporad. “This is a new and challenging era for branding. To win, brands must think and act in new ways to transform the world we live in and build a regenerative future for all of us.
Research findings in the Next Gen Reckoning Report are taken from GlobeScan’s global Healthy & Sustainable Living survey which is based on nationally representative online samples of approximately 1,000 adults in each of 27 countries, weighted to reflect general population census data. The survey was performed in June 2020.
- BBMG – Liz Courtney, firstname.lastname@example.org, 212.473.4902 x218
- GlobeScan – Stacy Rowland, email@example.com, 416 992 2705
BBMG is a brand and social impact consultancy dedicated to working with leaders who won’t wait on the things that can’t wait. With a team of strategic creatives and creative strategists, culture experts and design thinkers, we build Regenerative Brands that transform the world we’re in and create the future we want. BBMG is a Certified B Corporation with teams in Brooklyn and San Francisco. Visit: bbmg.com