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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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CultureRate: Better Target Your Brand While Driving Halo Effects in Ads

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CultureRate: Better Target Your Brand While Driving Halo Effects in Ads

Using our CultureRate database, we analyzed over 500 brands and 100 ads gathered across the last 12 months to establish a set of lessons that help marketers better connect with today’s “New Wave” consumers between 18 and 41, across race and ethnicity.

June 7, 2022
David Evans – Chief Product Officer

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Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our CultureRate:Brand – Better Target Your Brand While Driving Halo Effects presentation.

Brands Are Challenged by Rising Cultural Diversity and Polarization

As shown in research accompanying this initiative, marketing and insights leaders face increasing pressure to translate the rapid cultural transformation underway in the U.S. marketplace into clear action steps for brands. From 2020 to 2021, we witnessed an astonishing 10 percentage point-plus increase in the already-high importance of race and ethnicity for multicultural consumers, even as satisfaction of portrayals fell by an average of 8 percentage points.

Multicultural American support brands that support them

One thing is for certain: the increase in multicultural consciousness that arose in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns and George Floyd’s murder has not reverted to norm. Cultural Fluency is emerging as a new mandate for marketing as a whole, and can no longer be understood as a sideshow to the main act of mainstream marketing. Cultural Fluency demands that brands use culture to connect effectively and authentically within and across segments.

How CultureRate:Ad Reveals Powerful New Insights

To address these issues, we launched CultureRate in 2018, a brand and creative evaluation methodology that is now providing our members with powerful new insights into brand and ad performance across cultural groups.

CultureRate is different from any anything on the market today, in four distinct ways:

    • Culture is Intrinsic to the Entire Approach: CultureRate positions culture as the primary lens through which to understand diverse segments.
    • CultureRate is Grounded in Science of Group Emotion and Rationality: Our approach is based on long-ignored research into the psychology of group emotion and emerging insights from evolutionary psychology into the role of rationality as a mechanism for signaling group affiliation. CultureRate breaks new ground by fully recognizing that consumers not only make decisions to buy products on a path toward optimization of personal net benefits and self-actualization, but also make decisions as a member of group. We have learned nothing since 2016, if not the importance of this phenomenon and the degree to which it completely reframes our understanding of human behavior.
    • Rigorously Validated Metrics: We undertook an exhaustive process to identify metrics that matter, identifying the six most critical component metrics for CultureRate:Brand through an exhaustive review of 20 candidate metrics to derive the critical six that optimally reflected cultural dimensions while predicting brand favorability.
    • Linkage to Cultural Traits of Consumers: methodology is integrated within Collage Group’s Cultural Traits system, a rigorously proven method for measuring cultural variation, that enables marketing professions to link how using cultural insights into specific segments improve ad and brand effectiveness. Explore how Cultural Trait analysis works when applied to Black consumers

Unrivaled Rigor and Database Depth

The methodology introduces two important new metrics: the Brand Cultural Fluency Quotient (B-CFQ) and the Ad Cultural Fluency Quotient (A-CFQ), composed of six and four subcomponent metrics respectively, both of which were designed to optimally predict favorability and purchase intent. A-CFQ is also complemented by Backlash, which takes conventional brand favorability a step further by quantifying the degree to which an ad can “flip” perception from positive to negative or vice versa. Combining A-CFQ and Backlash metrics for target segments reveal the dynamics that make ads successful.

Top Lessons for More Inclusive Marketing

For this research we filtered our database to derive a high-quality sample of around 250,000 consumer responses to over 300 brands and 100 ads for the population of 18-41 year old Americans we dub the “New Wave.”  We focus on this younger segment because it is the first in American history to grow up in a culturally and intrinsically diverse environment and thereby redefining the future of values and respect for diversity that will make or break brands in the next years. Our research into brand performance revealed that:
    • Brands need to appreciate the different reasons multicultural Americans love brands.
    • Multicultural consumers are much more likely to appreciate brands when they specifically see that the brand is for “people like me.” Gain an edge: go to extremes to show how your brand is for multicultural Americans. 
    • Trust is a game changer for Black Americans. Lean into opportunities to show how your brand has supported the segment, how your brand embodies values core to the segment, and/or connects to the Black Group Trait of Perseverance.
    • Hispanic Americans’ uniquely express their affiliation for a brand through their willingness to advocate for the brand to others. Leverage Hispanic Group Traits of Warmth and being Tuned-In to prime them to be a trend-setter on your behalf. Give Hispanic consumers a reason to talk about your brand and they will reward you with mentions, word of mouth and other opportunities to drive earned media attention.

Our research into ad performance revealed that:

    • Halo effects are much more common than you think, even as targeted ads remain important, especially for Black and Hispanic consumers
2021 Top 20 Ads: Black Halo Effects
    • Brands can drive inclusivity by showing how consumers are part of a spectrum of shared experience. Associate Black or Hispanic agency with the Passion Points of other groups.
    • Cross-generational familial bonds provide immense power for storytelling: The extended family relationships of younger consumers are your unsung opportunity.
    • Black consumers will punish you for poor representational choices, especially on themes that are universal. Ensure any “vignette” approach to a universal experience includes Black people.
    • Culturally-specific humor may not halo well. Increase the reliability of halo effects by appealing to universal themes of Connection (family, friends, and community).
    • Social justice messages that address multicultural issues work well when the consumers see the direct benefit of an investment in opportunity for real people.
    • The preferences of White consumers may be a poor guide for the general market appeal.

Collage Group members receive one free evaluation of a brand and of an ad of your choice. Members frequently combine CultureRate:Brand and CultureRate:Ad analyses to track how changes in advertising performance impact brand performance over time. Contact us at the form below to learn more.

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David Evans
Chief Product Officer

David serves as the Chief Product Officer responsible for content, data products, and innovation. He is passionate about creating amazing products and building great places to work.

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America Now: Gen Z Women Key Issue – Sexism

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America Now: Gen Z Women Key Issue – Sexism

This research is part of a series that expands on our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now. Read on to learn how Gen Z women stand out for their prioritization of reducing sexism.

2017 was a pivotal year for women in the U.S. The day after President Trump was inaugurated, millions of Americans across the U.S. participated in the largest single-day protest – The Women’s March – to support gender equality and protest the President’s anti-women statements. Later that year, the #MeToo movement gained momentum as more women broke their silence as survivors of sexual abuse and revealed the prevalence of sexual violence against women. With increased visibility on women’s issues, women have reported that their gender identity has become more important to them over the past few years. This is especially true of Gen Z women; 55% agree that their gender is now a more important aspect of their identity than it used to be. Brands can better engage with consumers by understanding how Americans’ identities shape their views on social and political issues, and what they expect from brands like yours in engaging with these issues.

In a recent study, Collage Group asked Americans what three social and political issues are most important to them and found that Gen Z women are unique in wanting to see the reduction of sexism in society. 33% of Gen Z women feel reducing sexism is one of the most important social or political issues today, compared to just 10% of Millennial women, 7% of Gen X women, and 3% of Boomer women.

Gen Z women’s perceptions on the importance of reducing sexism is even more pronounced when it comes to their support of brands. Over half of Gen Z women will reward brands that support reducing sexism. And while older women tend to prioritize other social and political issues over sexism, many are still more likely to support brands that will confront sexism.

Across generations, women want brands to address sexism by paying them equally to men for the same jobs and offering training for employees so they can identify sexism and combat it. Gen Z women, however, stand out from older women by wanting brands to address sexism in other ways too. Half of Gen Z women also want brands to hire women to leadership positions. And over one in four want brands to make public statements about sexism and donate money to organizations that work to reduce sexism.

Contact us to find out how you can access the full America Now report with these insights and much more.

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Most Americans (58%) Want Businesses to Engage in Social and Political Issues

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Most Americans (58%) Want Businesses to Engage in Social and Political Issues

One in Four Gen Z Consumers Will Stop Buying from Brands That Do Not Take a Stance on an Important Issue

November 10th, 2021
Mollie Turner – Senior Director of Marketing

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American consumers are experiencing a second year of unprecedented change, giving 2020 solid competition for an emerging set of challenges for U.S. businesses. Political polarization, COVID-19, race relations, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights and climate change have been top of mind for consumers this year–leading to shifts in consumer expectations of businesses.

“Most Americans want brands to engage in social and political issues,” says David Wellisch, Collage Group CEO and Co-Founder. “The numbers are even more striking when we look by specific issues. For example, 85% of Americans want brands to play a role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviating its impact. And, then there’s the stick—we see younger Americans, bicultural Hispanics, and Black Americans are much more willing to penalize brands for non-action on issues they see as important.”

These are just a few of the many datapoints on shifts in American consumer behaviors since 2020 available in Collage Group’s America Now: How We Have Changed Since 2020 report. Research led by Chief Product Officer David Evans, Senior Director of Product & Content Bryan Miller, PhD, and Director of Product & Content Jack Mackinnon, unveils changes to diverse consumer attitudes at a key juncture in American history. The results come from a survey fielded in September 2021 of 3,785 Americans, representing Americans across race, ethnicity, generation, sexuality and gender.

Fill out the form to view a recording and download a sample from our research presentation, Multicultural America Now.

Multicultural America Now

Key insights illuminated in the research include:

  1. Most Americans (58%) Want Brands to Engage in Social and Political Issues
      • Stopping COVID-19, improving race relations and halting climate change are the top three social and political issues consumers want brands to support.
      • The majority (85%) of Americans want brands to play a role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviating its impact.
      • The majority (59%) of Americans believe corporations bear the responsibility of fighting climate change – not individuals.
      • The majority (55%) of consumers across all generations acknowledge the urgency of taking action on climate change.
  2. Race and Ethnicity is the #1 Way Multicultural Americans Self-Identify, Regardless of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, or Sexuality­
      • Race and Hispanic ethnicity are the most common self-descriptors for multicultural Americans, ranking higher than personality, age/life stage, country of origin, being American, sexuality, gender and more.
      • Multicultural Americans report an increased interest in buying from brands that support people of their racial and ethnic background—an ~11% increase on average in 2021 comes on top of a 2020 baseline of ~52% of consumers.
  3. Empathetic Gen Z Support Black and LGBTQ+ Americans Much More Than Older Generations (+15%)
      • The majority of Gen Z consumers wants brands to support women (56%) and Black Americans (55%).
      • Inaction is risky for brands with younger consumers, as 26% of Gen Z would stop using or buying a brand if it did not take a stance on an important issue.
  4. COVID-19 Worries Remain for Two-Thirds of Americans, and Their Concern Is Tied Primarily to Economic Factors (64%)
      • Nearly two-thirds of Americans are still concerned about COVID-19, with Asian Americans feeling the most concern at 72%, up 4% since 2020.
      • Most Americans (64%) are concerned they may not have enough money to keep up with monthly expenses; Hispanic Americans are the most concerned with 3 in 4 (74%) citing the concern.
  5. Many Multicultural Americans Have Reprioritized What Matters Most to Them vs. One Year Ago
      • Multicultural Americans say being happy and healthy (41%), saving money (33%) and supporting family and community (27%) are now their top priorities.
      • The majority (54%) of Hispanic Americans say being healthy and happy is much more important to them today than it was one year ago.

“Engaging authentically with an increasingly diverse America can be hard, and missteps are easy,” says David Wellisch. “But our research illustrates that not engaging is not an option, especially during challenging times. This is consumer expectation.”

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Mollie Turner

Mollie Turner
Senior Director of Marketing

Mollie Turner is the Senior Director of Marketing at Collage Group where she leads growth, engagement and brand initiatives. She is a seasoned marketing and communications executive, with 20 years of experience spanning B2B, non-profit and agency roles across various industries.

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Revealed: Top 20 Ads and Brands Resonating Across Diverse America

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Revealed: Top 20 Ads and Brands Resonating Across Diverse America

Lysol, Netflix, Google, and Band-Aid rank among the most Culturally Fluent brands in our analysis of more than 500 brands and 200 ads across the last 18 months.

Collage Group is pleased to unveil our rankings of the more than 500 brands and 200 ads evaluated as part of our extensive CultureRate:Brand and CultureRate:Ad database. Lysol, Netflix, Google, and Band-Aid rank among the most Culturally Fluent brands, while Dove, National Geographic, Oreo and Campbell’s produced the most Culturally Fluent ad creative.

Fill out the form below to access the Top 20 Brands and Ads ranked as part of our CultureRate research.

Top Ten Ads and Brands

The research includes more than 20 industries across 100 subcategories, and is organized into 10 broad sectors, including: Alcoholic Beverages, Automotive, Education, Financial Services & Banking, Food & Beverages, Health & Wellness, Household Products, Media & Telecom, Personal Products, and Retail & QSR.

The rankings follow the release of new U.S. Census data that shows America is much more racially and ethnically diverse than ever. For example, the multiracial population (individuals reporting more than one race) jumped 276% over the past decade—from 9 million in 2010 to 33.8 million in 2020.

“Consumers are expecting more of brands as cultural transformation of the American consumer accelerates,” says David Wellisch, Collage Group Co-Founder and CEO. “Given the rapidly changing demographic landscape, a deep understanding of cultural resonance and its drivers is an essential capacity to create a winning brand strategy in diverse America.”

Collage Group’s proprietary measurement and benchmarketing tool, CultureRate, offers brands a superior way to measure brand and ad Cultural Fluency–the organizational ability to use culture to efficiently and effectively connect across consumer segments.

CultureRate research centers on a key metric referred to as the Cultural Fluency Quotient (CFQ). CFQ scores are designed specifically to measure cultural resonance across segments for both brands (B-CFQ) and ads (A-CFQ). Researchers developed the measurement by testing 20 distinct components scores in multiple combinations to accurately measure cultural resonance while providing predictive insight into higher purchase intent and brand favorability. CFQ scores provide marketing and insights professionals with a tool to gauge their brand or ad cultural fluency and evaluate the competitive landscape.

Top Ten Brands for Cultural Fluency* include:


1.   Lysol

2.   Netflix

3.   YouTube

3.   M&M’s

3.   Clorox

4.   Band-Aid

4.   Dawn

5.   Google

6.   Amazon

7. Hershey’s

Top 15 Ads for Cultural Fluency* include:


1.   Dove: All Hair is Beautiful

2.   Oreo: Stay Home, Stay Playful

2.   National Geographic: Reimaging Dinosaurs

2.   Dove: Skin Stories

2.   Lysol: Questions Need Answers

3.   Frito-Lay: Let’s Summer

3.   Campbell’s: Snowbuddy

3.   Disney: Magic is Here

4.   Tropicana: Breakfast Across America

4.   Dunkin’: Welcome to Dunkin’

4.   Clorox: Caregivers – Bodega

4.    Subaru: Crosstrek Girl Trip

4.   Coca-Cola: History Shakers

4.   McCormick: Taco Night

4.   Cascade: Do It Every Night With Cascade Platinum

*Only brands with an average awareness of over 60 respondents per segment are included to avoid low sample issues. Several brands and ads tied for the top rankings. Collage Group’s CultureRate Explorer tool includes all rankings.

CFQ reports ranking the top brands and ads are now available for each major industry in Collage Group’s CultureRate Explorer tool, with deep dive reports available exclusively for subscribers of Collage Group’s cultural intelligence platforms. Each deep dive report includes overall category CFQ rankings by consumer segment and acculturation levels, as well as Cultural Reach scores that show how many segments with whom an ad or brand is resonant. Where a robust sample is available, sub-category rankings are also included.

“These reports are just one of the many ways Collage Group supports its members,” says David Evans, Collage Group Chief Product Officer. “When coupled with Cultural Traits, Passion Points and the combined 78 million insights in our cultural intelligence platform, more than 200 of America’s leading brands are leveraging CultureRate to effectively and efficiently leapfrog competitors to engage and win America’s diverse consumers.”

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