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October 2015

Your Future Consumer’s Views on Social Activism and Cause Marketing and How It Differs from What Millennials Think

While Millennials are often given the credit for facilitating the cause marketing efforts by brands that target them, it’s Gen Z – whose oldest members are barely 18 – who appear poised to accelerate more significant social change. Our national and statistically valid study of 13-18 year olds, completed this month, features both surprising differences from Millennials and actionable insights for brands that want to reach teens today or in the future.

Key Concerns:

Unlike nearly every Millennial study we have ever done, “the environment” did not crack the top 5 key concerns of today’s teens. Accompanied by the percentage who agree, the following are Gen Z’s key concerns:

%

Education

%

Terrorism

%

Jobs and Unemployment

%

Global Financial Crisis

%

Prejudice and Racism

Action Items:

Gen Z is a population that takes action and in the last 12 months has:

%

Either donated to or volunteered their time to a cause

%

Educated family and/or friends about a cause

%

Boycotted an activity or company

Relevancy matters – 57% of Gen Z say it’s more important that they personally care about the cause a brand is supporting than it is that a company just supports a cause.

85% of Gen Z believes companies have an obligation to help solve social problems. While 57% believe companies today are doing enough to support social causes.

After learning a brand supports a social cause or is socially responsible,
Gen Z is likely to:

%

Trust the brand more

%

Purchase the brand's products

%

Recommend that brand to friends or family

Building Trust:

If given a choice between two brands, 85% of teens are “likely” to purchase from a brand that supports a social cause over another brand that does not support a social cause [vs. 70% of Millennials.]

Relevancy matters – 57% of Gen Z say it’s more important that they personally care about the cause a brand is supporting than it is that a company just supports a cause. Just 25% of Millennials agree with that sentiment.

It doesn’t take much for Gen Z to trust that a brand’s cause marketing is making a difference:

%

Say “the company’s word” is enough for them to believe in

%

32% say a financial donation by the company is important

%

Say they need to see employees from the company working directly on the issue

Cause Marketing:

Brands whose cause marketing is resonating with Gen Z include:

Ben and Jerry’s: Ben and Jerry’s tackles a range of social issues from climate change to supporting mandatory GMO labeling

Chili’s Grill & Bar: Chili’s Grill & Bar has raised more than $54 million for St. Jude kids since becoming a corporate partner in 2002

The National Football League: The NFL’s “A Crucial Catch,” in partnership with the American Cancer Society, is focused on the importance of regular breast cancer screenings

With key concerns different than their Millennial counterparts, Gen Z is taking action on causes they believe in – and expect brands to do the same to win their support.