Last week we went to the Brave New Next event with Culture Co-op and Buzzfeed, exploring the macro trends associated with Quarterlifers and how brands should get to know a culture-changing sub-generation, whose values and priorities are shifting.
Culture Co-op partnered with Buzzfeed to bring their most recent issue of Humanly. For anyone who hasn’t had access to the internet over the last decade, Buzzfeed is a news and entertainment network bringing us (the best!) quizzes, lists, and other fun and trivial reads as well as cultural trends and more ‘serious news’ stories. Culture Co-op is a boutique research agency focused on exploring trends in our ever changing cultural landscape through a qualitative and quantitative lens, bringing individual voices to the forefront of the conversation. By travelling the US, they get insights into a wide range of perspectives.
The most recent issue of Humanly explores Quarterlifers perceptions on their journey through the world, the 18 to 34-year-olds who have found the ‘well-trodden path for 20-somethings’ has disappeared and in its place there is the burden of student debt, advances in technology, and changes to the status quo which has, in turn, resulted in a failure to ‘adult’ and an extension of formative years as they work out which life path to take.
At Buzzfeed we met four quarterlifers and listened to their outlook on the future of gender, tech, work, politics and developments in culture. What brands do they respect? It is clear that a priority is placed on inclusivity. Mickala, a 22-year-old artist and content creator a brand that is run by a black queer woman that seeks to allow their brand to embody diversity. Addy felt an infinity to Nike, a brand that has stayed at the forefront of connecting with a wide range of consumers and is now starting to make waves within sustainability with their Nike Grind programme.
There are some clear themes to how Quarterlifers feel their 20s compares to previous generations.
Things were simpler 30 years ago. A man was a man. Work paid well, houses were affordable, affairs were swept under the carpet, food wasn’t toxic, and health care didn’t bankrupt us.
Tim speaking to Culture Co-op
Dubbed the ‘snowflake’ generation, “they are the most overeducated, underpaid, and financially burdened generation to date.” - Humanly. The financial burden is a well-rehearsed complaint from Quarterlifers who live in small shared apartments, struggle to find the disposable income that is needed to do activities such as travel, and cannot see a future that includes homeownership.
With the rise in technology there has been a clear shift in how 20-somethings experience life: being constantly connected, measuring up your life to others, and speeding up the pace of life. But it is not all bad, technology has given people more choice, less pressure to meet life milestones and the opportunity to connect.
Capitalism has lost its cachet
“58% of young people choose socialism over capitalism, a recent survey published the U.S. News & World Report found” - Humanly; a striking shift away from an individualistic mindset to a one of inclusiveness. In Culture Co-ops Humanly, they speak to Nate Stone who founded Bar Church, a non-traditional congregation who meet two Sundays a month which mimics the community feel of religious communities. It is clear that there is a rise in inclusivity, as a society holds up a mirror and calls out inequality now, more than ever.
So, how do brands tap into the millennials, the Gen Ys and Gen Zs? Perhaps appealing to their desire to improve human’s impact on the environment, their want for inclusivity and equality, and through showing empathy for their financial situations whilst also tapping into their ambitions, curiosity and their access to knowledge and choice.
If you’d like to find out more about Quarterlifers check out Issue 4 of Humanly.
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