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Understand and Embrace Generational Consumer Media Habits and Channels

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Understand and Embrace Generational Consumer Media Habits and Channels
Learn how Americans across generations engage with media, including social media, movies, TV shows, music, reading, and podcasts.

November 28, 2022
Giana Damianos – Senior Analyst, Syndicated Research

Media is a major aspect of consumers’ everyday lives. Americans spend a significant amount of their time and attention consuming social media, visual entertainment, and audio streaming content. For brands and advertisers across industries to succeed, they need to understand where people are going to consume media content, and why they’re going there.

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our
Generational Consumer Media Habits & Channels presentation.

Collage Group’s 2022 Media Habits and Channels Study provides insights across generations on the specific platforms American media users go to, their media habits, and their preferences for media content. The data dives deep into content and platform drivers—spanning categories, passion points, and identity attributes.

Key Findings: Social Media

    • All Generations, with the exception of Boomers, use a wide variety of platforms, and they tend to be always ‘on’.
    • This high social media use comes at a cost, Gen Z worries most about the impact on their mental and emotional wellbeing and becoming addicted. All generations have concerns for their privacy and safety.
    • Social media functions as a portal to other media, especially for younger generations.
Primary concerns about use of social media

Context:

Social media is both friend and foe for consumers today. It is a powerful enabler of connection across generations – on the younger end, it provides ways to find community and make new friends, and on the older end it’s a powerful way to reconnect.

But there are downsides too – younger generations feel the pressure of constant comparison that social media forces upon them, and consumers of all generations worry about safety and security.

 Action Steps:

    • Provide ways to mediate the mental and emotional effects of being online.
    • Facilitate meaningful connection by encouraging authentic self-expression.
    • Utilize the power of social media as a discovery engine for other types of media – like new music and shows to watch.

Key Findings: TV & Movies

    • Most generations watch TV shows via online streaming platforms, but for Boomers, watching live TV is still most common.
    • Generations also vary when it comes to what they watch – younger generations show a preference for comedy, whereas older generations show a preference for tv news and action/adventure movies.

Context:

The proliferation of mobile devices has driven demand for streaming platform subscriptions among younger consumers. The accessibility of smart phones, tablets, and laptops offers younger generations the opportunity to stream content on the go.

Further, younger generations’ changing tastes align better with what streaming platforms offer, compared to Boomers who still highly favor news and sports, which are better suited to live TV.

 Action Steps:

    • Find and attract different generations of TV and movie viewers by understanding, and activating, based on where and when they are viewing:
      • Maintain advertising presence across TV formats, but understand that while Boomers may be watching TV more, their viewing is more passive.
      • Meanwhile younger generations are watching more via streaming platforms, but may have shorter attention spans for ads

Key Findings: Music

    • Music is a top passion point for younger consumers. The majority of Gen Z and Millennials would rather listen to music than watch TV.
    • Music is popular across generations for its ability to provide comfort and diversion while multitasking.
      Across Generations, consumers embrace the human element of music – and enjoy creating playlists themselves and sharing musical tastes with others.
47% of Americans would rather listen to music than watch TV

Context:

Music is a powerful comfort – and a powerful connector – across generations, but this is particularly true for Gen Z, a generation that craves human connection and relief from stress and anxiety.

Younger generations are passionate music fans overall, but while Gen Z tends to consume music more passively, their Millennial counterparts are more active in their passions – and like to go out to shows or live music venues.

 Action Steps:

    • Embrace the human element when selecting and promoting music – from showcasing artists stories to background on lyrics
    • Lean into options for music to be both passive and active, depending on consumer needs. For example, create task specific playlists to help consumers as they multitask, or interactive playlists for when music is the main focus.

Key Findings: Reading & Audiobooks

    • Most Americans enjoy reading – but we see significant variation by generation when it comes to format. Millennials are much more likely to consume audiobooks, and are also the most likely generation to embrace digital books.
    • Reasons for reading also vary significantly by generation. Gen Z reads as an escape, whereas older generations read to relax and to learn.
List of reasons why one reads for pleasure

Context:

Life stage and generational values play a big role when it comes to each generations reading style, as well as reasons for reading.

Millennials are often on the go, which is reflected in their penchant for consuming audiobooks as well as digital books that don’t require lugging around their reading material of choice.

The high stress and high pressure that Gen Z faces on a day-to-day basis are reflected in their desire to read as an escape, whereas Boomers entering retirement and looking for new passions are more likely to use reading to learn and to explore new topics.

 Action Steps:

    • Reach on-the-go Millennial readers through on-the-go media – audiobooks and e-readers.
    • Show an understanding of why readers are reading – for Gen Z and Millennials, this means giving them an escape, whereas for older readers, this might mean showing knowledge or skills gained through reading.

Key Findings: Podcasts

    • Podcasts are particularly popular with Millennials, many of whom listen while commuting or otherwise on the go.
    • Consumers across generations are drawn to podcasts for different reasons – Boomers are most likely to say they want to learn something or lean into a passion, whereas Gen Zers look for laughs and stories.

Context:

Millennials have become synonymous with “hustle culture” – and it’s this desire to always be learning, doing, or leveling up, paired with a particularly busy life stage, that contributes to their affinity for podcasting.

Boomers, on the other hand, are entering retirement and many are looking for continuous education opportunities, or simply to learn more about new passions, which we see reflected in the types of podcasts they listen to.

 Action Steps:

    • When developing podcast marketing, consider the context and outcomes your target audience hopes to gain from listening in.
    • For example, orient Millennial targeted ads around added value or information.
    • But if targeting Boomers, focus on teaching about products tied to hobbies or other interests.

Other Digital & Media Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

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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The New Marketing Imperative: How Brands Win by Navigating Diverse America’s Evolving Priorities

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The New Marketing Imperative: How Brands Win by Navigating Diverse America’s Evolving Priorities

In 2022, increasing polarization on social issues revealed that America’s cultural divisions are likely here to stay. Further, it has become clear that conventional wisdom is no longer reliable, particularly in regard to where various segments stand on social matters. 

October 3, 2022
David Evans – Chief Insights Officer

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Collage Group’s Virtual Annual Member Roundtable is Thursday, Nov. 3 from 1 – 4 p.m. ET

National events are reshaping many of the priorities and perspectives of Americans in unexpected ways. The upshot is that brands may miss the mark if they assume embracing diverse segments requires aligning around a specific activist or political point of view.  

To navigate this minefield, it’s necessary to deeply understand where America’s diverse consumers stand on these issues and how they respond to brand activism. 

CMO Panelists

Francesco Lagutaine
Chief Marketing Officer

Michael Smith
Chief Marketing Officer

Gary Osifchin
Chief Marketing Officer & GM, US Hygiene

Here are some highlights from our agenda. Download the full agenda.

America Now 2022: Harnessing American Identity to Navigate Social Issues

Our Keystone presentation, America Now, will reveal Americans’ stances on major issues including race relations, abortion, climate change, LGBTQ+ rights, and challenges with personal finances and inflation. Throughout this presentation, we will go deeper than ever before, addressing if and how Americans want brands to respond to these social issues. 

The core of our research unveils how diverse consumer segments respond to the central ideas that have driven marketing for decades, such as the belief in the American Dream. In a time of radical cultural transformation, learn how brands can activate diverse segments with these core ideas in flux.

CultureRate Ad and Brand Performance: Engage Diverse Consumers with Lessons in Cultural Fluency

In this section of the Roundtable, you’ll access insights learned from our proprietary CultureRate database as we reveal new learnings into how your brand can differentiate and win across the diverse consumer spectrum.

Whether you are targeting across all consumer segments, working to resonate with multicultural consumers generally, or targeting a specific race or ethnicity, this research covers the bases on what works and why in ads–and provides examples from the brands that are winning in each case.

Our team calls out key lessons from winning brands and ads to guide you as you plan your marketing campaigns post- mid-term elections and into the new year.

CMO Panel: Succeeding Amidst America’s Cultural Divisions

Collage Group members have thought deeply about how to successfully navigate America’s cultural divisions that are likely here to stay. In this panel discussion with Chief Marketing Officers from America’s iconic brands, including M&T Bank, NPR and Reckitt, you’ll hear directly from them about the actions they are undertaking in marketing and insights strategy to successfully navigate the new social landscape.

Don’t miss this chance to learn how to navigate the challenge of connecting with diverse American consumers–across race, ethnicity, generation, sexual identity, and gender. Reserve your spot today!

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David Evans
Chief Insights Officer

David serves as the Chief Insights Officer responsible for content, data science and innovation. He is passionate about creating the critical insights that can transform the fortunes of our members, informing how we create an unparalleled member experience with our products, and build great places to work.

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Gen Z Passion Points

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Gen Z Passion Points

What matters most to Gen Z consumers? Collage Group’s latest Generational Passion Points study includes key insights into Gen Z consumers to enhance brand engagement and activation.

August 8, 2022
Natalie Griffith – Director, Product & Content

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Passion Points are the activities and areas of life of deep interest to consumers. They are the “things” that people prioritize when spending their time, money, and attention. And, they are concrete expressions of culture.

Fill out the form to download the attached presentation for key insights and applications.

Collage Group’s Passion Point research offers deep insight into 8 different Passion Points we know are most important to American consumers. This work offers brands and marketers important tools to engage and win diverse consumer segments.

To get you started with our Passion Points research, read on for sample topline findings on Gen Z consumers, as compared to other generational segments.​​

Travel

The majority of Gen Z is already saying they have a strong urge to travel the world–they are close behind Millennials in this passion. And this sense of urgency is consistent across Gen Z cohorts. With the wealth of travel content online, they have had a greater exposure to all the world has to offer at such a young age than any generation before them. And with all that content, they have a had a lifetime to develop FOMO, or fear or missing out, on seeing the world, and travel influencers sure make it look exciting.

Overwhelmingly, 55% of Gen Z agrees they would rather travel internationally. Younger Gen Z, ages 13 to 17, is even more so interested in traveling abroad. This is a great contrast compared to older generations, as it speaks to this generation’s greater ingroup diversity and their acceptance of and interest in experiencing other cultures.

Gen Z is strongly driven by a desire for adventure. When forced to choose, they would rather be doing exciting things than relaxing on vacation. Younger Gen Z comes out on top with 67% preferring excitement. Fun is the priority, a common theme for this generation.

Cooking & Dining Out

Brands must be careful not to overestimate Gen Z’s identification with being a “foodie,” meaning someone who takes enjoyment in meals and trying new foods. While Millennials are known for this, Gen Z is not quite there. The younger group tends to be less adventurous, as it’s important to remember that they are mostly still living at home with their parents, and likely have lacked the freedom to go out and expand their palate. Older Gen Z consumers, however, are now young adults and are more likely to try new foods.

About half of Gen Z and Millennials like to source their recipes from food influencers or chefs. Our data shows that 49% of gen Z saying they follow food influencers, chefs, and other people to learn new recipes. Often what these viral recipes have in common is that they put an unexpected twist on known ingredients, and that they’re easy and accessible.

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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Other Recent Gen Z Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

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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Gen Z Passionate About Travel, Eager to Explore the World

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Gen Z Passionate About Travel, Eager to Explore the World

The desire to travel is a key interest among the majority of Generation Z consumers, with more than half (60%) stating they have a strong urge to travel the world, according to new research from the cultural intelligence firm, Collage Group. This generation’s urgency for travel exceeds that desire of the older Gen X and Boomer generations by nearly 15%.

August 2, 2022
Quintin Simmons – Public Relations & Communications Manager

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The recent study, titled “Gen Z Passion Points,” notes that Gen Zers have had a great wealth of exposure to the world via the internet and this likely contributes to their wish to journey. Moreover, this generation is digitally native – the internet has been around literally for their entire lives – so they have been exposed to distant parts of the globe at an earlier age than any previous generation.

Fill out the form to download an excerpt from the presentation and read on for further insights.

“This virtual access to the world, to other cultures, at such a young age, has fueled an expectation that they will be able to see and experience these places and cultures firsthand, says Natalie Griffith, Director of Product & Content at Collage Group. “Not only does Gen Z want to travel to various locales, but they would like to take these trips in the very immediate future.”

And a quick getaway or merely crossing state lines is not the hope. The Passion Points study reveals that for Gen Z, international travel is the overwhelming favorite when paired against domestic travel, as 55% of the segment said they would prefer to go abroad vs. vacation in the States. For younger Gen Zers, those ages 13 to 17, the yearning to travel internationally is even greater at 61%. This contrasts with the other generations who may want to travel too, but not to the extent exhibited by Gen Z.

Another interesting comparison regarding Gen Z travelers and those from other age groups, is the reason why they travel. Amongst other older generations, traveling for pleasure usually involves leisure and time to unwind. But for Gen Z, traveling – in terms of a vacation – is driven by a desire for adventure or action. Fifty seven percent of Gen Z agrees that for them, a vacation consists of excitement, which is opposed to 57% of the total population who say they’re looking to relax when on a trip away.

“The Gen Z segment loves to vacation, but they don’t want to go away and simply soak up the sun,” says Griffith. “If they’re taking a trip, their preference is to explore; they’re planning an adventure.”

Again, younger Gen Zers are more intense than the older Gen Z cohort, as 67% of the younger segment says they seek excitement over relaxation.  

To that point, Gen Z is largely made up of people who are apt to stepping out of their comfort zone and abandoning their everyday routine. This proclivity enthusiastically comes across in their Passion Points, especially in respect to traveling. They pursue unique and unforgettable experiences.

In addition to that, Gen Z is also passionate about technology, including Instagram, TikTok and other social media. Thus, it is not surprising that the two passions – travel and technology – bridge seamlessly. Gen Zers commonly take trips or travel abroad with intentions of sharing their voyage on Instagram, posting pictures and photos.

Finally, food is another Passion Point among Gen Z and it too ties in with their zeal to move about and travel. Gen Zers frequently pick travel destinations solely to partake in the local cuisine. Seventy three percent of the generation reports selecting places to travel based on the food served there.

Gen Zers clearly have a deep appreciation for other cultures and environments. They tend to express their admiration for an area by visiting it. This generation likes to experience the possibilities and thrives in creating new memories.

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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Other Recent Gen Z Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Quintin Simmons

Quintin Simmons
Public Relations & Communications Manager

Quintin Simmons is Public Relations & Communications manager at Collage Group. He has over two decades of journalism and communications experience, having written and edited for a variety of publications, and servicing as media rep for a number of national outlets. Quintin, a communications and media relations expert, is always looking to connect and engage with writers and reporters.

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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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Other Recent Millenial Research Articles & Insights from Collage Group

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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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 Gen Z Consumers

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

April 22, 2022
Giana Damianos – Senior Analyst, Syndicated Research

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Gen Z is America’s most diverse generation to date. About half of the segment is multicultural, and a quarter identify as LGBTQ+. Gen Zers today range in age from 10 to 25 – born between 1997 and 2012, making them the first digitally native generation. In their short lifetimes, they’ve witnessed rapid change and turbulent political, economic, and social crises – including coming of age in the unprecedented COVID-19 era. Their worldview has been distinctly shaped by all of these factors.

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

Gen Z is a complex, multifaceted consumer group that’s often misunderstood. In fact, over half of Gen Z consumers are not satisfied with how people of their generation are portrayed in advertising.

Representation alone is not enough to prove that your brand cares about Gen Z consumers. Brands today must understand Gen Z 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 Gen Z Consumers explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research: demographicsidentity, and Group Traits to help your brand authentically connect with Gen Z.

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

Key Takeaway #1: Demographics & Segment Context

Gen Z has the highest intrinsic diversity of any American generation. They’re about 50% multicultural, and about a quarter identify as LGBTQ+.

A Deeper Look:

Every succeeding generation in America has trended towards increased diversity. For Gen Z, this means that diversity is their “norm”, which gives them a unique perspective and worldview from what previous generations experienced.

Action Step:

Make sure that your advertising includes diverse representation and accurately reflects who Gen Z is. Recognize that for Gen Z, gen pop is diverse led.

Key Takeaway #2: Identity

As they continue to come of age, Gen Z is increasingly focused on expressions of Gender, Sexuality, and Race.

A Deeper Look:

Diversity is the norm to Gen Z, and they think about all the things that make themselves and their peers unique – not just race – with increasing attention. Gen Z takes an intersectional approach to identity and expects brands to do the same.

Action Step:

Take a multifaceted approach to portrayals of Gen Z’s diversity – giving unique identity to one individual beats showing many who are only differentiated on a single dimension.

Key Takeaway #3: Gen Z Group Trait – Individuality

Gen Z is highly expressive and proud of what makes them unique.

A Deeper Look:

Gen Z is the most inherently diverse American generation—both in terms of race/ethnicity as well as sexuality. This diverse upbringing has shaped their perspective to be more accepting of differences and individuality, therefore making them feel more comfortable “being themselves”.

Action Step:

Communicate to Gen Z that your brand is a proponent of their individuality.
Give Gen Z the tools they need to be creative and help them show it off.

Key Takeaway #4: Gen Z Group Trait – Game-Changing

Gen Z is laser focused on the future. It’s their top-ranking attitude, and it significantly differentiates them from all other generations.

A Deeper Look:

It’s a natural life-stage occurrence for younger people to think about the future more than older people do. But for Gen Z, they’re not just thinking about it – they are innovating the future as an antidote to the harsh realities of coming of age in a turbulent world of economic, political, environmental, and social crises.

Action Step:

Appeal to Gen Z change-makers by showing them how your brand is intentionally thinking about the future and what action steps you’re taking now to be socially and politically engaged.

Key Takeaway #5: Gen Z Group Trait – Pressured

Gen Z faces intense pressure – ranging from academic to social and even career pressures.

A Deeper Look:

These pressures may seem typical for young adulthood, but they are compounded for Gen Z by the social media highlight reel they face on a daily basis.

Action Step:

Gen Z wants help forging connection and combating loneliness – offline and on. Provide them with the tools to connect with others who share their common interests and attitudes.

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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Other Recent Gen Z Research Articles & Insights from Collage Group

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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Three Steps to Connect with Young Multicultural Americans on Racial Equality

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Three Steps to Connect with Young Multicultural Americans on Racial Equality
Young Multicultural Americans are committed to racial equality in the U.S. today and are demanding brands do their part by speaking out and supporting people who look like them. Read on to learn three ways your brand can engage younger Multicultural Americans on this key issue.

Americans’ Awareness about racism and race-relations in the U.S. is at an all-time high. The racial reckoning of 2020, the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, and the heightened awareness around Hispanic immigration to America has disproportionately affected Multicultural Americans who call the U.S. home.

Fill out the form for more details on the research and read on for key insights and implications:

In our recent America Now study, we looked at the total population and their perceptions around racism and other major issues happening in America today.

Younger Americans (aged 18-40 years old at the end of 2021) tend to be more Multicultural and they embrace diversity in their professional, personal and even consumer lives. Given their distinct profile we wanted to better understand younger Multicultural Americans’ perspectives towards combatting racial injustice. This is an issue brands can take a stand on, and it turns out, that is what Multicultural Americans want.

Our study found that young Multicultural Americans see their race and ethnicity as an increasingly important part of their identity. Many also believe that negative stereotypes exist simply because of what they look like, and that the media often mispresents Americans of their race and ethnicity, which can propagate negative stereotypes.

To address negative stereotypes and misrepresentation in the media, younger Multicultural Americans believe brands need to take bold action. They want them to speak out against racism.

And they want brands to actively support people who match their own race and ethnicity.

Our research shows us there are three key steps brands can take when it comes to engaging the younger Multicultural consumer in the fight for racial equality.

1) Ensure authentic representation

Ensuring authentic representation goes beyond including Multicultural people in ads. Younger Multicultural Americans want authentic portrayals that include what their families and communities are like as well as accurate portrayals of their life values. They also want brands to help break down the negative stereotypes they have experienced too often.

2) Pick a side

Picking a side includes, but is not limited to, making public statements in the fight for racial justice. It means that in addition to statements, brands will act, whether through financial donations or putting pressure on the government to enact local or national change that supports the cause.

3) Lead from within

Lastly, younger Multicultural Americans want brands to lead from within their own organizations by diversifying internally, committing to a more diverse leadership pipeline, and providing better training to address racial bias. Walking the walk means something to these Americans.

So what can you do to help your brand showcase your commitment to racial justice in America?

Some important next steps:

  1. Go beyond one-dimensional representation in your advertising to capture the totality of Multicultural consumers.
  2. Share efforts your brand or company has taken in the fight for racial equality widely with your audience.
  3. Conduct an internal audit to understand the company’s strengths and weaknesses in the areas of diversity and inclusion. Share positive results widely as well as an improvement plan.

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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Health Care Across Generations

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Health Care Across Generations
Each generation approaches the patient journey from a unique perspective. Keep reading for key insights and a  downloadable deck on generational differences in health-related attitudes and behaviors and the emerging consumer mindset.
 

Health and wellness are top of mind for consumers. With healthcare costs higher than ever, Americans are acting more and more as “consumers” when it comes to their healthcare and health insurance. They want to get bang for their buck by being more choosy and “shopping around.” As a result, they’re more sensitive to price and  think even more critically about their symptoms before deciding it’s necessary to seek care. And when they do, many are turning to cost-effective options like virtual care.

The rise of consumerism in healthcare means you’ve got to be thinking about all the levers that traditional service-oriented businesses have leaned on to win consumers. Highlighting and providing excellent service and competitive cost are two that many in healthcare still struggle with. To win consumers and provide them optimal care, you must understand how these factors are constantly shifting consumers’ expectations, needs, and desires.

Collage Group’s 2021/2022 Health & Wellness Study covers generational differences in healthcare-related attitudes and behaviors. Our research reveals how the emerging consumer mindset affects each generation’s attitudes and behaviors in healthcare.

Download the attached presentation and take a look at a few key insights and implications below:

#1: Gen X and Boomers emphasize doctors’ qualitative attributes, so provide bios that allow each individual doctor’s strengths to shine and focus your marketing efforts on how your organization stands out with excellent service. Your organization has exceptional talent, so make sure you get the credit for it!

What is important when considering a doctor

#2: Gen Z and Millennials emphasize their doctor’s identity attributes, so add filters (gender, race, etc.) to provider search tools to allow them to refine their search for a doctor they value. It’s important to make it easy for them to find a doctor they feel comfortable with. Finding a doctor with shared identity can also help them to feel less anxious.

Doctor preference

Executional Example

Indianapolis-based Community Health Network differentiates their medical facilities by highlighting the exceptional care they offer. Their creative showcases their patient-centric values and community-driven approach (the audio track in the ad was even performed by Community Health Network employees!). The ad affirms the network’s focus on service by communicating the diversity in their providers, showing that every patient can find a doctor who will listen to and understand their unique needs.

To bolster the themes in their creative campaign, Community Health Network has a robust provider search tool on their website. Each doctor has a short bio and an introduction video so that patients can evaluate them on a more personal level beyond their credentials. They can hear their voice and see their smile—as well as learn about their passions in healthcare and their approach as a physician. The website’s search tool allows patients to filter by different attributes like gender and language. The site even has a section for reviews.

Community Health Network screenshot

#3: Younger Americans have a more self-sufficient health perspective. They also say that feeling worried or anxious is the top reason they avoid care. Help them feel more empowered in their health by giving them some control over their health journey. This will help grow their trust and inspire confidence in themselves.

Executional Example

Virtual care company LetsGetChecked was founded in 2015 with the goal of empowering people to manage their own health from home. They provide at-home sample collection kits which can be sent to healthcare facilities for results. They also provide telehealth services. This innovative healthcare approach caters to the unique needs of younger Americans who want control and self-sufficiency in their health journey, and simultaneously are anxious and turned-off by conventional healthcare services.

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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America Now: Life Priorities Across Generations

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America Now: Life Priorities Across Generations

This research is part of a series that expands on our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now. Read on for a snapshot of American generations’ current priorities in life.

Understanding Americans’ priorities and life values offers crucial context into how consumers make choices. Personal values often stem from cultural context, such as each generation’s unique upbringing. While one’s outlook on life usually remains stable over time, the pandemic sparked a massive reevaluation of priorities as Americans grappled with uncertainty and unexpected life changes. Brands must stay abreast of these changing consumer tides by getting back to basics: understanding their target consumers on a core level through current attitudinal and values-based data.

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research presentation,  America Now: How We Have Changed Since 2020.

America Now

In a recent study, Collage Group asked Americans about the top three things they consider important to living a good life (such as good health, financial stability, healthy relationships, a job that they love, being well-educated, or experiencing new things). Our data shows that younger Americans tend to desire a more well-rounded lifestyle, spreading priorities across many of these areas of life. Older generations, by contrast, approach life more traditionally—strongly valuing health and finances while de-emphasizing other topics.

These generational differences can be partly explained by socio-historical context. Boomers and Gen Xers grew up during a time period where the ethos was the “American dream.” Hard work was—and still is—highly valued by them and viewed as a direct path to success.

Just decades later, Millennials and Gen Zers each came of age in a rapidly changing world with turbulent political and economic circumstances (Millennials, the 2008 recession; Gen Z, the COVID-19 pandemic). This upbringing tainted their worldview, calling the “American dream” into question entirely. In turn, younger generations cope with cynicism by taking on a “YOLO” (“you only live once”) attitude. They try to enjoy life while they can rather than wasting too much of their life working towards a version of success they’ll never attain.

While historical context explains a core part of each generation’s outlook on life, it doesn’t mean that people’s attitudes and values are locked in permanently. Times of massive change and uncertainty, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can be the spark for deep realignment of social values. We are already seeing this trend in our data.

For example, Gen X and Boomers, two generations that have historically valued more traditional life goals and prioritized work over happiness. When asked explicitly about how their personal and professional priorities changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two-thirds say that being happy and healthy is more important than it was a year prior. In fact, the data is on par with Gen Z and Millennials. This is evidence of values shifting and even converging across generations. Moreover, this data point indicates that wellness is a growing area of opportunity for the total market despite conventional wisdom that it’s a Gen Z and Millennial fad.

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