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If I had a nickel for every time an article misrepresented millennials, I would be wealthier than Bill Gates. Many articles make the mistake of stereotyping millennials either positively or negatively. Some portray millennials as lazy, entitled, anti establishment types that can’t stop taking selfies. Others present them as clever, socially conscious adults that were dealt a bad hand by the marketplace. Both of these stereotypes fail to take into consideration the full spectrum of the millennial demographic, and marketing to these “false stereotypes” can have disastrous results.

A Canadian research agency, Environics Research, created a survey that identifies millennials based on six distinct millennial tribes. While there is obviously some overlap with some people, these tribes are a useful way to understand different types of millennials. The six tribes are as follows:

  • Lone Wolves: This group tends to live alone and closely resembles Gen Xers’ desire for independence. They usually have a “live and let live” attitude
  • Engaged Idealists: They desire engaging meaningful careers. They want to contribute as much as possible to their work, environment and communities. 70 percent are women and 45 percent are single women.
  • Bros and Brittanys: This group works hard and plays harder. They like to be on top of trends with fashion and technology. They tend to have more defined gender roles. They represent one quarter of Canadian millennials.
  • Diverse Strivers: This group longs to be successful in many ways and they value respect and status. They are the most likely to have a household income of six figures or more. They also happen to be big spenders.
  • Critical Counterculturalists. This group tends to be progressively minded. They value diversity and gender equality, and they heavily oppose what they view as “illegitimate or superficial” status and authority. They long for “authentic relationships.” Almost half of them are single men and 83 percent have no religion.
  • New Traditionalists. This group tends to be more religious than other millennials with 61 percent holding to conservative Protestantism. They are more likely to be married and tend to respect authority more than others. They value duty and some traditional values, but they are also environmentally conscious and often purchase green products.

On a practical level, if you were running a DOOH campaign targeting more traditional consumers, you can also appeal to New Traditionalists. You could also appeal to Critical Counterculturalists with a campaign that emphasizes equality, but this might not appeal to other groups such as Bros and Brittanys.

The key consideration here is that millennials are not all the same, and it is counterproductive to treat all millennials the same in your advertising campaigns.

 Photo Credit: iStock
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