Category Archives: What We Really Think

Millennials Are Defined by Access, Not Narcissism

Sorry TIME, I don’t buy it.

time_millennials_me_narcissism_coverCover Credit: Andrew B Myers for TIME. Read full article here (behind a $5 paywall).

Calling millennials the “Me Me Me Generation” is like writing a biography of Neil Armstrong called “The Nice Guy From Ohio”.  It may be true, but it misses the point. Neil Armstrong is remarkable because he landed on the moon. Millennials are special because we have access to more information, and therefore choices, than any other generation before us. That’s the trait that most defines our behavior and sets us apart from previous generations at our age. Not narcissism.

Call us the “Decisions Decisions Decisions” Generation Instead.

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Awkward is the New Cool for Millennials

While last year I wrote about how the Oscar’s didn’t market to me as a millennial (and why that was ok), this year completely resonated with me and tapped into a trope that I think is unique to millennials. It all started with this:

Jennifer-Lawrence-Trips-Oscars (1)

Jennifer Lawrence tripped on the way to accept her best actress award. What a way to start off a once-in-a-lifetime moment in front of a million viewers! Instead of letting mortification ruin her night, Jennifer Lawrence called her slip out in her speech by saying “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell and that’s really embarrassing.” She then went on to completely charm everyone in her press conference and post-win interviews. She owned her awkwardness, and that ownership made her Oscar’s darling.

It’s not just Jennifer Lawrence–awkward is making a comeback. Don’t believe me? Check out this Google Trends Map of searches with the word “awkward”.

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*Letters represent news with “awkward” in the headline

If you’re trying to tap into the millennial market, awkward is the new cool–and understanding why isn’t something marketers can afford to miss.

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The Real Reason Millennials Aren’t Into Car Ownership

**Update: The content of  this post inspired a keynote presentation for Kain Automotive and was featured in The LA Times. Check out the slides-only version above or watch me present it via 9Slides–see if you can spot which 90s soap star makes a cameo!**

I recently read in The New York Times that 46% of 18-24 year old drivers would choose Internet access over owning a car.

Since this statistic broke in March this year, more have followed. Today, 21-34 year olds only make up 27% of new vehicles sold in the US as opposed to 38% in 1985. Even teenagers aren’t feeling the love, with teen licenses falling by 28% between the years 1998 and 2008.

Everyone from The Atlantic to Time has reported on why exactly millennial car ownership is down. For a quick-and-dirty synopsis of the most popular theories, check out my friend Walter Frick’s bullet point list over at BostInno. While these articles are thorough, well-researched and certainly worth a read, they are missing a very important part of the picture.

As a twentysomething actually living car-free, let me tell you the real reason why millennials aren’t into car ownership….and it’s not the Great Recession.

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Attention Nonprofits! Here’s How to Hook Generation Me With Social Media

Millennials volunteer at a higher rate than GenXers and Baby Boomers did at their age–82.9% college freshman participated in community service in high school.  This number is the silver lining from an otherwise gloomy portrait of my generation from the Journal of Social Psychology and PersonalityAside from our higher volunteer rates, millennials are more narcissistic, extrinsically motivated, aloof to social and environmental problems than the previous two generations.  As I reluctantly concluded with a thorough look at this study in the previous article, we are Generation Me. Our selflessly high community service rate? Most likely due to high school graduation requirements and boosting college applications.

For nonprofits, this grim picture masks real opportunity. More young people than ever are interacting with nonprofits–let’s figure out how to hook them! By applying findings from the Journal of Social Psychology and Personality (JSPP) study and The Millennial Impact Report (MIR), nonprofits can make the most of their millennial volunteers and donors–and hopefully turn the tide of Generation Me to Generation We. Continue reading

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Generation Me vs. We: How To Make Sense of Millennials’ Dual Personalities

Millennials get a mixed reputation. While some call us narcissistic and shallow, others are inspired by our connectedness and drive for social change. Are we all about ourselves or others?

The Huffington Post recently featured two opposing studies regarding millennial values that’ve left a few scratching heads. One article reported a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that deemed millennials as more self-centered and focused on extrinsic motivators, such as money and fame, than Baby Boomers or GenXers were at our age. Ouch. Yet, only a few months later, the same newspaper reported on another study that 75% of millennials donate financially to charity and 63% donate time–statistics that seem to negate our previous narcissistic image.

So, which is it: Generation Me or We?

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What We Really Think: 8 Products Millennials “Won’t” Buy in the Future

Yahoo! Finance recently re-posted an article by 24/7 Wall St. entitled “Eight Products the Facebook Generation Will Not Buy“. As a member of the Facebook generation, I decided to weigh in on which of these products I think millennials will phase out and which ones will stick around. Continue reading

What We Really Think: Beer, Spirits and Wine

I’m writing this to you from sunny Florida and I couldn’t be happier. It’s spring break! The time for experiencing new cultures, soaking up the sun and…drinking.

Today, I’m writing about what current market research states about twentysomething drinking habits compared to what our habits actually are. First up, do millennials prefer beer, spirits or wine? Continue reading

What We Really Think: Annonymous Reviews vs. Personal Recommendations

Anyone can do research on milllennials. But what we’re actually thinking? For that, you’d need to ask one. In the “What We Really Think” posts, I compare what the market research says I do to what I actually do. How close or far-off are they?

First up, how do millennials weigh online reviews from strangers to friends’ recommendations? Let the research/life experience battle begin!

Everyone knows that social media influences millennials’ purchasing decisions, but did you know that they just as likely to be swayed by anonymous comments on a company website?   According to this eMarketer report, twentysomethings rely just as much on strangers on the internet as they do their friends and family when it comes to getting the scoop on a company. In fact, they actually favor anonymous comments on a company website slightly higher than their own friends and family. Ouch.

Here’s what the data says.

I know you like this restaurant Aunt Sara, but proudfoodie86 only gave it two stars so….maybe next time?

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