Top 5 Traits Millennials Want in a Friend and a Brand

Marketing and Communications giant, McCann Worldgroup, recently did a global survey called, “The Truth About Youth”, which reported that the Millennial generation (aged 16 to 30) is defined by their ability to connect, share, recommend and broadcast to their social network and community.  The “social economy”, as stated by McCann, is value driven and it isn’t good enough to just “do” something anymore; you have to tell people about it before it becomes real.  The Millennials are measuring their experiences and accomplishments against those in their networks.

What this means for brands and marketers is that they not only NEED to be present in the social media space, but they have to focus themselves in a way the younger generation can understand.  The study lists 5 top traits that Millennials seek in their social friends: truthful, genuine, sociable, mature and humble, with “truthful” actually being twice as important as the other four.  In order to be seen as more authentic in the eyes of the younger generation, brands should employ the same characteristics that young people value in their friends.

5. HUMBLE - One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is to overplay its importance to young people. Millennials love brands when they are useful, timely, and allow them to express some element of their personality.  Conversely, they tire of brands that clutter up their feeds with useless information.

4. MATURE -  Young people like having older friends that they can look up to and measure their progress against. Similarly, they value brands that are worthy of their respect, demonstrate a compelling and consistent point of view, and have substance.

3. SOCIABLE - Being sociable is about being present at the right time and in the right way. Friends you love to socialize with share cool things with you, have a dialogue with you, and have a style that suits their personality.

2. GENUINE -  Being genuine means being worthy of trust. Inviting a brand into your personal space requires trust, and brands should be mindful of not abusing this trust.  Brands that are not true to themselves and break promises are seen as unjust and remarkably, 90% globally said they would tell their friends about unjust behavior from a brand.  Make sure you stay genuine and always do the “right” thing!

1. TRUTHFUL - The desire for truthful friends is aligned with the desire for authenticity and transparency, some of the highest scoring motivations at a global level. Truth has become more and more important in a world of “fake friends” and curated communities.  Being original also helps you separate yourself from all the Internet “noise” that is out there.

The key takeaway: Brands should follow the above 5 traits in their social advertising endeavors in order to capture the Millennial generation effectively.

-Lucy Arnold, Marketing Coordinator, Zuberance