Essentials of Millennial Consumers

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Essentials of Millennial Consumers
Collage Group’s Essentials of Millennial Consumers presentation explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research: demographics and segment context, identity, and Group Traits.

May 26, 2022
Giana Damianos – Senior Analyst, Syndicated Research

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Millennials are one of America’s most diverse generations to date. Almost half of the segment is multicultural, and more than one in ten identify as LGBTQ+. Millennials today range in age from 26 to 42, placing them squarely in the midst of some transformational lifestages – including their prime career years as well as parenthood. In their lifetimes, Millennials have lived through not one, but two, major periods of change: the Great Recession, and then the COVID-19 pandemic. The Millennial worldview has been irrevocably shaped by coming of age under these circumstances.

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our Essentials of Millennial Consumers presentation.

Millennials are a generation that’s taken a lot of blame and ridicule. They’re often stereotyped as “self-centered, immature, snowflakes”—yet evidence shows that they’re smart, strategic, hardworking, and compassionate. And while they may be fun-loving and experiential, “Millennial” can no longer be synonymous with “youth.”

Brands today must understand Millennials on a multitude of levels—from their demographics to how they identify and even what they value—to effectively understand and engage them.

Collage Group’s Essentials of Millennial Consumers explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research: demographicsidentity, and Group Traits to help your brand authentically connect with Millennials.

Download the attached presentation above and take a look at a few key insights and action steps:

Key Finding #1: Demographics & Segment Context

Millennials are delaying important life milestones, such as having kids and buying houses, primarily in response to challenging financial circumstances.

A Deeper Look:

Millennials have been impacted by difficult circumstances time and time again: the Great Recession, high unemployment, student debt crisis, and then the COVID-19 pandemic.

Action Step:

Give Millennials credit for the storms they’ve weathered. Validation goes a long way with this segment. Steer clear of stereotypes or tropes, even if intended as a lighthearted joke.

Key Takeaway #2: Identity

While parenthood is becoming an important aspect of Millennial identity given their life-stage, many are instead opting to be “child-free by choice.”

A Deeper Look:

Millennials’ financial setbacks and stunted entry into “adulthood” have caused many to feel unprepared and ill-equipped to raise children. Today’s turbulent social, political, and environmental problems further compound feelings of uncertainty around parenthood.

Action Step:

Normalize Millennials’ choice to not have kids by sending an empowering message that becoming parents isn’t an essential step on the road to fulfillment – and being childless by choice is equally valid.

Lean into Millennials’ “cool aunt” vibe by framing your product/service as a point of connection for them to show up in the lives of their friends or family members children.

Key Finding #3: Millennial Group Trait – Worldly

Millennials welcome diversity, prioritize new experiences, and pride themselves in being knowledgeable of many cultures.

A Deeper Look:

Millennials are an inherently diverse and highly educated generation with access to huge amounts of worldly information at their fingertips. These factors drive their intense interest in culture. Their desire for experiences is further compounded by the material things they desire feeling out of reach.

Action Step:

Play into Millennials’ gravitation towards cultural knowledge by pairing it with an experience. They want to both learn and do.

Feature cultural elements in your advertising to capture Millennial’s interest.

Key Finding #4: Millennial Group Trait – Connection-Seeking

Millennials are more expressive than other generations and use this as a tool to forge connections with others.

A Deeper Look:

Millennials’ “pioneering” experience on social media provided them with the first opportunity to widely find and connect with those who shared their interests and experiences. They’ve carried this connection-seeking spirit with them as they’ve moved onto new life stages, such as parenting.

Action Step:

Provide Millennials with opportunities to engage with one another—whether online or off. This is a great opportunity to capture both their desires for experiences and connection by showing how your product/service delivers on both of those aspects.

Key Finding #5: Millennial Group Trait – Tenacious

Millennials are motivated by competition, they don’t let fear hold them back, and they’re not willing to settle.
A Deeper Look:

Millennials were raised to seek achievements, a value instilled by their Boomer parents. But as fate would have it, they came of age at a less-than-optimal time to find success. The Great Recession caused them to stumble off track, but Millennials never lost ambition. Instead, they pivoted and cultivated a resilient spirit as a result.

Action Step:

Prove to Millennials that your brand’s products/services are worth chasing after.

Celebrate stories of resilience and tenacity in your marketing, such as a spotlight on someone who has overcome a challenge or who has created an innovate solution for their problems.

Contact us at the form below to learn more about how you can gain access to these diverse consumer insights and much more in our Cultural Intelligence Platform.

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Giana Damianos
Senior Analyst, Syndicated Research

Giana joined Collage in 2019 from Indiana University, where she studied economics, political science and psychology. In her spare time, Giana is getting to know Washington DC and its historic architecture.

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Essentials of LGBTQ+ Consumers

Essentials of LGBTQ+ Consumers
Collage Group’s Essentials of LGBTQ+ Consumers presentation explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research: demographics and segment context, identity, and Group Traits.

May 26, 2022
Jill Rosenfeld – Senior Analyst

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LGBTQ+ Americans are a large and growing United States consumer segment in terms of population and visibility. They’re also very diverse, since LGBTQ+ people can (and do) come from every walk of life. Their racial and ethnic breakdown largely mirrors that of the general population, and while the segment does lean young overall, Americans of every age identify as LGBTQ+. Within the segment there is a great amount of diversity given the infinite sexual and gender identities encompassed under the umbrella of “LGBTQ+.”

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our Essentials of LGBTQ+ Consumers presentation.

The LGBTQ+ segment is a complex, multifaceted group that’s often ignored or misrepresented in advertising. In fact, more than six in ten LGBTQ+ consumers are not satisfied with how people of their sexuality are portrayed in advertising. But representation alone is not enough to prove that your brand cares about the LGBTQ+ community.

Brands today must understand LGBTQ+ people on a multitude of levels—from their demographics to how they identify and even what they value—to effectively understand and engage them.

Collage Group’s Essentials of LGBTQ+ Consumers explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research: demographicsidentity, and Group Traits to help your brand authentically connect with the LGBTQ+ community.

Download the attached presentations and watch the webinar replay below for more. In the meantime, take a look at a few key insights and action steps:

Key Finding #1: Demographics & Segment Context

The LGBTQ+ segment is large and growing – with current estimates ranging from 20 to 30 million Americans, the population has nearly doubled in the past 10 years.

Context:

The U.S. Census Bureau does not currently ask respondents their sexuality or gender identity in the official Census or American Community Survey. As a result, researchers rely on sources like Gallup and the new Household Pulse Survey for population data, with all these sources giving different estimates.

Action Step:

Do not ignore the LGBTQ+ segment and plan for its likely growth. Develop a strategy or grow your current efforts to connect with the segment through outreach and marketing.

Key Finding #2: Identity

LGBTQ+ Americans support brands that are committed to supporting their community and other diverse segments. They are also more likely than others to say that their gender and sexuality have become increasingly important parts of their identities in recent years.

Context:

Since LGBTQ+ people can come from any background, they want to see all the intersections of their identity addressed by your brand’s efforts.

Action Step:

To win over LGBTQ+ people, brands should demonstrate support for marginalized communities. Brands should also support social causes LGBTQ+ consumers care about.

Key Finding #3: LGBTQ+ Group Traits

There are four unique Group Traits important to understanding LGBTQ+ Americans: Proud, Empathetic, Communal, and Worldly.

Action Step:

Utilize the Group Traits as ways to connect with LGBTQ+ Americans authentically. For example, to activate on Empathetic, demonstrate how your brand takes social action to improve the lives of marginalized communities.

Contact us at the form below to learn more about how you can gain access to these diverse consumer insights and much more in our Cultural Intelligence Platform.

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Jill Rosenfeld

Jill Rosenfeld
Analyst

Jill is an Analyst on Collage Group’s Product & Content team. She is a 2018 graduate from the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. In her spare time, Jill enjoys exploring Washington DC’s restaurant scene and practicing yoga.

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Parents & Kids: Category Essentials

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Activate Parents & Kids Within Categories
Part of understanding parents and kids is appreciating how decisions are made in specific categories. Explore usage, drivers, and channels for specific categories that are top of mind for parents and kids, as well as additional insights brands need to fully understand parents and how they differ across diverse segments.

May 20, 2022
Natalie Griffith – Director, Product & Content

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Collage Group’s Parents and Kids Category research explores dynamics of parents and kids by ethnicity within key categories: food, beverage and QSR, personal care and beauty, infant care, media, toys and games, and travel.

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our 
Activate Parents & Kids Within Categories presentation.

Part of understanding parents and kids is appreciating how and who makes decisions in specific categories. It’s also crucial to understand how parenting styles vary based on key characteristics such as race, ethnicity, generation, and gender. In this presentation, we explore usage, drivers, and channels for specific categories that are top of mind for parents and kids, including:
    • Food, beverage and QSR
    • Personal care and beauty
    • Infant care
    • Media
    • Toys and games
    • Travel

Key Finding #1: Consider the multiple factors impacting parenting style and values

Parents today are overwhelmed with information and influence – from competing information sources, to competing  parenting styles, it can be hard to make decisions in any category.

Many Factors Impact Parenting Style and Values, but Generation and Race and Ethnicity Have an Oversized Impact

    • Race and Ethnicity transmit and proxy for religious and country of origin elements that impact parenting style and values
    • Generation transmits the powerful social norms the parent grew up in

Action Step:

 Understand the specific factors that drive purchases in your category, as well as how they differ by ethnic segment.

Key Finding #2: Mealtime is an opportunity for familial and cultural connection

Mealtime is an important connection point for families, especially for multicultural parents who seek to introduce their culture to their children through native cuisine.

Multicultural Parents, Especially Hispanic and Asian American Parents, Want Their Children to Enjoy Cultural Foods

% of parents that think it’s very or extremely important their children eat food from their family’s cultural background

Hispanic
53%
Black
46%
Asian
59%
White
30%

Action Step:

Message not just around the importance of mealtime, but around the cultural connection it enables. Also consider providing parents with accessible ways to introduce native foods to their children.

​Key Finding #3: Today’s parents give let kids share in family decision making

From mealtime and personal care to travel, parents today are involving their kids in decision making processes, big and small.

Most Parents Have Handed off Decision Making about Personal Care Products by the Time Their Kids Become Teenagers

I let my teenager(s) choose their own personal care products like shampoo, soap, lotion, etc.

Hispanic
71%
Black
68%
Asian
73%
White
76%

Travel Decisions Are a Collaborative Process Between Kids and Parents – Older Parents Who Are More Likely to Have Older Kids Over-Index Seeking Their Children’s Input

How much influence does your child(ren) have on where you go for family vacations? 

Hispanic Black Asian White
A lot - I plan vacations on where my child(ren) says they want to go
28%
27%
22%
24%
Some - I provide my child(ren) with options for where we can go and get their input
56%
56%
63%
58%
None - I plan where we go for vacations without my child(ren)'s input
15%
17%
16%
18%

Action Step:

Recognize that there are two key decision makers when messaging to the families of today, and make sure you are communicating benefits that appeal to both parents and kids.

Key Finding #4: Use media to enable cultural connections 

Media is an important cultural connector for families today. Asian and Hispanic parents seek out shows and movies in their native language, and Black parents feel it is important for their kids to see characters that look like them.

Across Multicultural Segments, Parents Are Making an Effort to Ensure Their Children See Themselves in the Characters They Watch

I make an effort to have my child(ren) watch shows that have main characters that are: 

Black Hispanic Asian White
Black
41%

77% ▲

36% ▼

46%
Hispanic

63% ▲

36%
34%
43%
Asian
35%
33%

61% ▲

42%

Almost Half of Hispanic and a Third of Asian American Parents Think It’s Important Their Children Watch Shows and Movies in Their Family’s Language

0 %
of Hispanic parents say it's important that their children watch shows and movies in Spanish
0 %
of Asian parents say it's important that their children watch shows and movies in their family's native language

Action Step:

Provide representation in ways that are culturally specific, and enable the learning experiences parents hope to provide – whether that is through language or representation.

Contact us at the form below to learn more about how you can gain access to these diverse consumer insights and much more in our Cultural Intelligence Platform.

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Natalie Griffith
Director, Product & Content

Natalie has over 10 years of experience in consumer insights and brand strategy, including 3+ years as lead researcher in Gartner Iconoculture’s Gen Z practice. Natalie has managed research projects across industries, including extensive work in financial services, media, technology, and food and beverage. Natalie holds a B.S. in Psychology from Tulane University.

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Aligning Multicultural Marketing to the Evolution of the American Consumer

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Aligning Multicultural Marketing to the Evolution of the American Consumer
Collage Group Joins Ad Age for a Conversation About Multicultural Marketing.

May 17, 2022
Zekeera Belton– Vice President of Client Services

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An incredible cultural transformation of the American consumer is now fully underway. Brand after brand sees the massive growth opportunity that 140 million multicultural consumers represent. These consumers–particularly prevalent among younger generations–are fueling more than 100% of U.S. population growth and are remaking the consumer landscape.

Fill out the form below to watch the replay and hear how brand leaders responded.

As the U.S. consumer landscape evolves, there’s a need for brands and agencies to improve their understanding of culture–across race, ethnicity, generation, sexuality, family relationships and more–and, in turn, evolve marketing strategies for authentic engagement. Understanding culture is grounded in the journey to Cultural Fluency, the ability to tap into shared experiences and intersectional expressions to truly activate and engage today’s diverse consumers.

Representation alone is not enough to prove that your brand cares about consumers across culture. Does your brand truly understand America’s diverse consumers? And, are you effective in authentically engaging across consumer segments?

In a recent collaboration with Ad Age, “Ad Age Next: Multicultural Marketing,” Collage Group had the pleasure of joining other leading brands, including Unilever, Twitter, BET Networks and PepsiCo, to dig deeper into multicultural consumer engagement strategies. The conversation of the panel I joined centered on the term “multicultural,” and the state of multicultural marketing–how it is evolving, best practices and lessons learned.

I was pleased to share key insights that brands need to keep top of mind to continue to be relevant and drive growth across diverse segments.

What we’re seeing across segments is that satisfaction levels of portrayals in advertising have dropped. There is a rising increase in importance of race, but also a backlash in inauthentic portrayals in advertising. Clearly, there is more work to do.

Recent Collage Group research shows multicultural Americans are increasingly interested in supporting brands that support them.

Multicultural Americans Are Increasingly Interested in Supporting Brands that Support Them

% of respondents who say they’re more likely to buy from a brand that supports their own race or ethnicity

Hispanic (+8pp)
60%
Black (+13pp)
76%
Asian (+15pp)
58%

However, they are becoming less satisfied with how they’re portrayed.

But Americans Are Becoming Less Satisfied with How They’re Portrayed

I am satisfied with portrayals of my race and ethnicity in advertising

Acculturated Bicultural Unacculturated
47% (-9pp)
51% (-1pp)
61% (+29pp)

With insights like this in mind, Collage Group has developed a range of solutions to help brands succeed. Our shared-cost syndicated research model embedded into our world class Cultural Intelligence Platform, gives brands access to more than 10 years of diverse consumers insights with new reports weekly. Our members also have access to our CultureRate reports that assess the Cultural Fluency of brands and ads–our database is the largest of its kind, growing annually by more than 200,000 responses. And we offer SO much more.

Contact us at the form below to learn more about how you can gain access to these diverse consumer insights and much more in our Cultural Intelligence Platform.

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Zekeera Belton

Zekeera Belton
Vice President of Client Services

Zekeera Belton is the Vice President of Client Services at Collage Group. Zekeera’s oversees the team that acts as an extension of member organization by fostering deep relationships and leveraging the full set of Collage capabilities—strategies, insights, analytics, data, peer solutions and commercial collaboration—to plan and craft specific solutions that meet member challenges. Zekeera is a results-driven marketing and communications executive with 20 years of proven performance executing private and public (government) sector B2B, B2C, and G2M campaigns and programs. She has expertise in all aspects of marketing, from strategy to execution with real world know-how of the national, regional, and grassroots strategies needed to reach niche markets, such as multicultural Americans, women, LGBT, and people with disabilities. Prior to joining Collage Group, Zekeera served as a Marketing Director for Penn, Good & Associates, a marketing services consulting firm located in Washington, DC. Zekeera holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a double concentration in Finance and Management, from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, Washington DC.

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America Now: Mental Health

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America Now: Mental Health
Mental health is an important issue for Americans – now more than ever. Our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now, offers insights that help explain how Americans are feeling about mental health and what brands can do to support them. Read on to learn more.

May 6, 2022
Sudipti Kumar – Associate Director

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Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are at an all-time high in the United States. Increased political polarization, heightened racial tension, and the ongoing pandemic are just some of the reasons that contribute to a lower overall sense of well-being for Americans. In a recent survey we conducted, we found that Gen Z Americans are the least likely to be satisfied with their physical and non-physical well-being, including their mental and emotional health.

In addition to the factors affecting all Americans, social media likely has an outsized impact on Gen Z’s mental health. Our survey data reveals that Gen Z is the least likely to feel confident in themselves, while also being the most likely to compare themselves to others on social media. And then there’s recent research, including Instagram’s internal research, that highlights the potentially negative impact of social media on younger people(1).

Something else that likely adds to young Americans’ struggles with mental health is the belief that they can’t show their emotions.  In fact, almost 50% of Gen Z Americans agreed with the statement: “I can’t show my emotions because society tells me I need to be strong”, compared to only 22% of Boomers.

But here’s the good news—despite their struggles, Gen Z’ers want to improve their mental health. When asked where they are most focused with respect to their health and wellness, over 40% of the segment chose improving their mood/mental health. This suggests improving mental health is a top priority for Gen Z, even higher than improving their diet and increasing physical activity.

Now you may be thinking, how can my brand help improve people’s mental health? It turns out there are several ways you can play a positive role and connect with consumers in the process.

  1. Support and amplify influencers sharing openly about their mental health struggles
    Many young Americans (~80%, in fact!) think it’s admirable when a public figure shares about their mental health struggles. Brands that show support for these individuals and amplify their voices will likely capture consumer attention and create affinity. Consider Cartoon Network’s shout out to Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles, and ESPN highlighting the many athletes that have spoken up about their mental health struggles including Michael Phelps and Demar Derozan.
                 

  2. Provide supportive resources
    Many brands are creating resources that consumers can use to improve their mental health. For example:
    – Athleta, Simone Biles’ sponsor, launched a new platform dedicated to women’s wellness called AthletaWell just days after Biles withdrew from the 2021 Olympic team finals for mental health reasons.
    – Maybelline New York launched the “Brave Together” program, an online platform to open the conversation around anxiety and depression.
    – JanSport has developed a fully integrated brand effort called #Lightentheload to connect Generation Z with resources to tackle the mental health challenges they face.

  3. Donate to causes
    There are important causes that aim to improve the mental health of young Americans. Stella and Bow donates proceeds of their Rainbow Connection necklace to a charity focused on helping people with depression and addiction. And Philosophy has donated over five million dollars to mental health initiatives via their hope & grace initiative. Consider donating to one or more mental health causes and then use social media and other marketing efforts to let your market know they too can have a positive impact by donating.

Contact us at the form below to learn more about how you can gain access to these diverse consumer insights and much more in our Cultural Intelligence Platform.

Sources:

(1) NPR, “Instagram Worsens Body Image Issues And Erodes Mental Health”, https://www.npr.org/2021/09/26/1040756541/instagram-worsens-body-image-issues-and-erodes-mental-health

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Sudipti Kumar
Associate Director

Sudipti is an Associate Director on Collage Group’s Product and Content team. She is a graduate from NYU’s Stern School of Business where she studied finance and marketing, and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs where she received her Masters in Public Administration. In her spare time, Sudipti enjoys reading, cooking, and learning to crochet.

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Essentials of Asian American Consumers

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Essentials of Asian Consumers
Collage Group’s Essentials of Asian American Consumers presentation explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research: demographics and economic opportunity, identity, and Group Traits.

May 4, 2022
Jenny Wolski – Analyst

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Asian Americans are a rapidly growing U.S. consumer segment both in terms of population and economic power. Brands must better understand this influential consumer group to effectively engage with them through their marketing and advertising.

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our Essentials of Asian American Consumers presentation.

Collage Group’s Essentials of Asian American Consumers explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research: demographics, identity, and Group Traits to help your brand authentically connect with Asian Americans.

Download the attached presentation for more information. In the meantime, take a look at a few key insights and action steps.

Key Takeaway #1: Demographics & Segment Context

Asian American purchasing power is growing faster than any other segment, and far outpaces their population size.

Implication

Acknowledge Asian Americans’ economic power today. As their population and purchasing power grows, they will increasingly influence the national culture.

Key Insight #2

Asian Americans are not a monolith. They are a diverse community whose race and country of origin matter to their identity.

Implication

Highlight the rich heritage and contributions of Asian Americans in this country. Include messages that speak to the segment’s different countries of origin and the challenges the segment has faced.

Key Insight #3

Asian Americans’ satisfaction with their portrayal in advertising is poor and worse than a year ago.

Implication

Support the Asian American community by portraying them accurately and authentically in your advertising. Showcase Asian Americans in all the different roles they assume – as family members, workers, love interests, etc. – and in the unique moments of their everyday lives.

Key Insight #4

There are three unique Group Traits important to understanding Asian Americans: Culture-focused, Prudent, and Inquisitive.

Implication

Utilize the Group Traits as ways to connect with Asian Americans authentically. For example, to activate on prudent, demonstrate how thoughtful you are and continue to be in developing products and services that perfectly suit your customers’ needs.

Contact us at the form below to learn more about how you can gain access to these diverse consumer insights and much more in our Cultural Intelligence Platform.

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Jenny Wolski

Jenny Wolski
Analyst

Jenny is an Analyst on Collage Group’s Product & Content team. She is a 2021 graduate from The George Washington University where she studied Statistics and Sociology. In her spare time, Jenny is often on a hike enjoying nature.

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