Politics Are Becoming Part of a Brand's New DNA: Millennials Want to Know Where Brands Stand on Political Issues

Crossroad signpost saying this way and that wayReport Also Explores Impact of Millennial Parents, Facebook’s Upward Trend

During the last 18 months, we’ve observed the increased importance that Millennials are placing on knowing the “politics” of the brands they buy. In addition to its history, product attributes and community involvement, young consumers want to understand where a brand stands on political issues—making politics a new factor in a brand’s DNA, according to new research from youth marketing agency Fuse.

The firm’s latest consumer survey produced some surprising results and suggests Millennials and older Gen Z consider a brand’s politics as more than just a simple litmus test to determine what to buy.

Recently, there have been multiple examples of brands intentionally (and some unintentionally) becoming involved in the political discourse. One such instance included ride-sharing brands Uber and Lyft. It’s among the most notable examples because Lyft seized on the opportunity to differentiate its brand from Uber, calling the President’s recent executive order “antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values,” and promised a donation of $1,000,000 to the ACLU.

In sharp contrast to Fuse’s surveys one year ago, the new study indicates that the top three issues on which brands should take a political position are climate change, women’s rights and immigration—compared to the surveys in early 2016, which found that young people overwhelmingly thought companies should take positions only on political issues that directly related to their business, such as minimum wage, family leave and the economy.

Nearly 65% of teens and young adults said knowing a company’s position on political issues was important to them. A third of those consumers said it was “very important.” But less than 50% indicated that a brand’s political position would impact their purchase decisions. Some consumers described the importance of knowing a brand’s politics as “preparation,” allowing them to defend their decision, if necessary, in buying certain products.

Impact of Millennials as Parents

Communicators are also now focusing on Millennial parents, and strategies for reaching them that may differ now that children play such an important role in their lives. The study explores the make-up of the Millennial family, what the segment may look like in a decade, and the key values of Millennial parents.

To set the stage, there are 75 million Millennials, recent Pew research found, and according to the U.S. Census, about 25% (or about 18 million) of Millennials have children. Millennials are rapidly becoming the face of the young American family.

The highlights of our study this month included the following findings about Millennial parents:

  • Nearly 75% (or 56 million) plan to have children over the next 10 years.
  • When it comes to child-rearing, Millennial parents describe themselves as “available” and “hands-on.”
  • Millennial parents are deal-seekers and thrifty when shopping for themselves, but choose quality over cost when it comes to making purchases for their kids.
  • Among the consumer segments most impacted by “influencers” are Millennial parents, with nearly 70% saying their purchase decisions are primarily based on recommendations from friends and family, as well as strangers they believe to have expertise and credibility.

Facebook Continues Its Upward Trend among Teens

A study released last month by the UBS Evidence Lab indicates that Facebook usage among teens is up by a 6% increase (from 59% to 65%) since 2014. These findings contrast with much of the recent media coverage about young people’s love of and preference for Snapchat and Instagram.

Like the USB study, the Fuse survey on Gen Z ‘s social media habits are indicating a slow, but steady upward trend for Facebook.

The highlights of the study included:

  • The number of brands teens are fans of on Facebook is up about 5% since last year.
  • The percentage of teens who are on Facebook “multiple times per day” is up to 65%, from 60% only 6 months ago.
  • A 5% increase in how often teens are liking, commenting and sharing content in comparison to the times they log on to Facebook but are not engaged with content

For brand Facebook pages that are not seeing the positive impacts of these trends, Fuse recommends the following steps to increase engagement among teens and Millennials:

  • Content: Take inspiration from the most successful content you’ve posted previously.
  • Photos: Over a 3-month period, BuzzSumo analyzed over 100 million Facebook posts and found that posts with photos had engagement rates almost 2.5 times higher than posts without.
  • Video: Facebook appears to favor its native video app over YouTube, so using the native app (instead of a YouTube link) should increase comments, shares, and reach.
  • Community Management: Shorten your posts, reply to customers, and use a call to action each time

Source: Marketwired; edited by Richard Carufel

  • mohar singh Kulria
  • Paul Swiergosz

    I’d frankly like to see the survey instrument and methodology. I’ve a funny feeling there is something there that may have induced bias and/or there is more to the story. While I don’t doubt Millennials have an interest in companies’ politics, I do think that only holds true for certain types/categories brands (e.g., they might care about Uber or Lyft but do they care about Unilever or P&G?)

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