Millennial at heart

I had no idea that my kids were millennials*, (*born between 1981 and 2006). Yikes. I guess it makes sense though. I hand over my devices to them to fix and set up now.

I ran across an interesting study from Comedy Central on the 10 ways to make connections with millennials. I actually love all the 10 points. I kinda feel like a millennial at heart. Maybe my progressive Gen-X heart is able to keep up with those young Millennial whippersnappers. Maybe I can be a Playful, Passionate, More human, Rock Star.

10 Ways to Make the Millennial Connection by Chanon Cook

Comedy Central spends a great deal of time thinking about, engaging with, measuring, and talking to its audience about its brand and competitors. In “Making the Millennial Brand Connection,” Comedy Central set out to broaden that conversation and gain a strong understanding of the brands that Millennials connect with and, most importantly, how those brands connect with them. Based on the analysis of a selection of brands that Millennials love, Comedy Central identified 10 “connection points” or commonalities among these brands. These points were consistent regardless of the product or service offered by the brand.

Key Findings

Millennials love brands that come off as:

1.      More Human, Less Corporate

Millennials connect with brands that act like humans – not with ones that seem like corporatized entities or cold institutions. Most of the brands that feel more human and less corporate have a clear and compelling “Story of Origin” and convey a sense of playfulness, a strong Millennial value.

2.      Creators as Rock Stars with Grand Visions

Millennials connect with brands that are associated with certain individuals who are held up and treated like rock stars – think Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg – with “grand visions” looking for big glory. Millennials come to associate the values of the brand with the values of that individual.

3.      Having A Big Heart

Brands can have grand visions and big glory, but they can still have a soul. In focus groups, young people often praise brands that come across as companies with big hearts, citing, for example, corporations that offer good health insurance programs to part-time employees.  For this generation you don’t have to choose between making money and making a difference; Millennials expect both from you.

4.      Culture Contributors

Millennials value – perhaps even feel ownership over – creativity and culture, so brands that contribute to or pay homage to culture in connect with this generation.

5.      Constant Chameleons

Many of the brands Millennials connect with are “constant chameleons” – brands that constantly change and improve, while consistently and reliably offering the same great products.

6.      The Under-Sellers

Millennials are especially wary of unapologetic, flashy self-promotion — whether in brands or people. On the contrary, Millennials connect with brands that ingratiate themselves into their lifestyle, rather than try to sell them.

7.      Super-Serving & Empowering

Brands that successfully reach Millennials empower them and super-serve them in three key ways: offering them 1) choice and personalized options; 2) gifts and treats; and 3) personalized customer ways.

8.      Transparent

To be transparent, brands must see themselves in a relationship with their customers, communicating, letting them know what they are thinking and feeling as time goes on and explaining the decisions they are making. This is an important connection point for Millennials because transparency squarely aligns with the value Millennials have for openness.

9.      I Wanna Work There

If a brand seems like a cool place to work, Millennials are more likely to connect with it.

10. Passionate, Purposeful & Sincere

Brands that express a unique vision, driven by a desire to create something specific, interesting and personal. 


Since these points were consistent regardless of the product or service offered by the brand, virtually any brand can apply these “connection points” as ways to build loyalty and connection with Millennial consumers.


This study was based on pattern analysis, using semiotics, combined with secondary research and Comedy Central’s ongoing proprietary research on Millennials. Beginning with a list of approximately 100 brands that are popular among youth, according to published data, Comedy Central selected 10 brands that were considered high passion/high engagement brands; conducted an in-depth brand and campaign anaylsis of how those brands make decisions and choices that impact a public relationship; and then correlated those patterns and similarities with research on Millennials. Brands include: Trader Joe’s, Facebook, Manchester United, Tom’s Shoes, Apple, Vans, Google, Starbucks, Nintendo, and Ray Ban.

Chanon Cook is Senior Vice President, Strategic Insights and Research for Comedy Central.

I found a second study from VIACOM’s blog about the Early /Older Millennials (25-30), Core (15-24), and Late / Young Millennials (9-14). This one talks about the Economic Collapse and Happiness.

MTV ‘New Millennials’ Research Mirrors International Study by Christian Kutz

Last week, our colleagues at MTV US unveiled the results of their “The New Millennials Will Keep Calm and Carry On” study (see the press release here). The results of this study mirror the international results of our “The Next Normal,” for which we went to 24 countries to define the attitudes, behaviors, and aspirations that make global Millennials unique. We separated them into three groups: Early or Older Millennials (25-30s), Core (15-24s), and Late or Younger Millennials (9-14s). From this analysis we can draw comparisons between the younger and older end of Millennials across the globe – all numbers below refer to the global 24-country averages.

As we have learnt across the generation, the economic situation is taking a grave toll on Millennials. This continues to the younger end who pragmatically face the issues.

This includes their awareness of their situation and earning potential vs previous generations – only 26% of the Under 15s today believe that they will “earn more than their parents” compared to 47% in 2006.

The Younger Millennials are the happiest segment of the generation – and their positivity is increasing. They are also hard-working and oriented toward achievement. 

  • 88% of 9-14s consider themselves happy, compared with 70% of 25-30s. And this 88% is higher than in 2006 on a similar but not directly comparable question.
  • Nearly 8 in 10 agree that they “will not settle for anything less than what makes me happy”
  • They are more likely than 25-30s to agree that it’s important to study hard when younger to get a better job and to believe they can accomplish anything they want if they work hard enough
  • Younger Millennials express attitudes that disprove myths around laziness and taking things for granted:  they are go-getting and achieving in their outlook and prepared to work hard  … and increasingly so:
  • 90% of them agree it’s important to study hard when younger to get a better job when older compared to 81% of 25-30s

They express confidence and a belief in themselves and their generation.

  • Winning is a good slogan for my generation. 78% 9-14 / 63% 25-30
  • I’m smarter than other people; 64% 9-14/ 58% 25-30

Being happy is still the most important sign of success, but beyond that we are seeing some minor movements in what it means to be successful.

  • Happiness has always been the top sign of success for youth, and that hasn’t changed
  • They are overwhelmingly happy – 87% describing themselves as very happy.
  • This compares to an average of 70% among older Millennials around the world (still a very high figure, given the many challenges faced by this generation).

Being part of a loving family and being rich are more important to 9-14s today, while having an enjoyable job and homeownership are less important.

  • Being part of a loving family is more important than ever –something you can always fall back on.
  • Money is secondary to, but comparing the 9-14s of today with those of 2006 (pre-crash), we found that in 2006, kids put academic success and sense of achievement ahead of money … while today, money is more important because it is harder to achieve financial success. – Kids today are more aware of the consequences of financial hardship.

Younger Millennials consider themselves as less stressed.

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, 9-14s rate their stress levels at 4.6 – below the 5.6 average in 2006
  • They may score themselves lower on stress because they don’t remember a time when things felt different – chaos and crisis are becoming the norm
  • The younger Millennials are also the least stressed of the whole generation – 26% describe themselves as stressed, compared with 38% of Older Millennials (partly driven by age and lifestage of course).

Young Millennials grew up both more and less sheltered than their earlier generational cohorts (more sheltered by overprotective parents and less sheltered via unprecedented digital exposure).

  • They’re more sheltered because “Velcro parents” are cocooning their children more than any other generation of parents – a trend continuing to increase
  • They’re less sheltered because of their vast exposure to global images and ideas via the internet


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