The Centennial generation represents a significant societal departure from the culture and global outlook of previous older generations such as Millennials and Gen Xers. Since Centennials make up the global youth population, they represent an extraordinarily powerful and influential presence in the current marketplace. As brands eager to reach Centennials look for ways to effectively market to this generation, it is especially important to understand Centennials’ mindsets in order to better understand what Centennials look for in the brands they choose to engage with.

A Progressive Culture

Growing up in a world dominated by uncertainty and volatility has influenced Centennials to develop a perspective that is not stuck in the past and its many struggles but rather that focuses on the hope of a better future. Since our society today is characterized by so much ambiguity, Centennials are also much more flexible socially and philosophically than their parents or grandparents. As a result, Centennials have a tendency to be more accommodating and open to engaging with individuals who think and look different from themselves. This open-mindedness is a hallmark of the Centennial generation and a trait that is becoming increasingly apparent in their market preferences. Centennials today look to engage with brands that actively celebrate diversity and pluralism.

A Pressure-Filled Existence

According to a 2017 Global MONITOR survey of 13-20 year olds, the vast majority of Centennials feel the most stress from the pressure they place upon themselves. Indeed, the survey found that 81% of Centennials reported feeling self-inflicted pressure. This number remains far higher than the 66% of Centennials who reported feeling stress from their parents and 51% of youth who felt pressure from their friends.

Brands wishing to help Centennials manage this stress should incorporate brand values that promote self-confidence. Since Centennials feel so much pressure from themselves as well as from society as a whole, brands can help alleviate some of this stress by communicating to Centennials that they have no need to doubt themselves. Additionally, brands can help instill self-confidence in their Centennial consumers by offering products and a customer experience that allow Centennials to feel in control of the situation.

A Technological Future

One aspect of the Centennial generation that is rapidly changing the way that the current marketplace looks is their total dependence on and fluency in technology. For Centennials, technology plays not only a large role but also a critical role in their lives. Indeed, technology influences almost every aspect of Centennials’ lives, from the way they communicate with their network to how they make judgments about the world.

There are several ways in which brands can help capitalize on Centennials’ love of technology. First, brands can focus on the future. Centennials are not content with the technology of today. In fact, most youth today are already envisioning new technological innovations for tomorrow. In order to not only connect with Centennials but also compete with other rival brands, businesses should begin strategizing how to create new, innovative products and ways of engaging with the marketplace. Complacency is lethal to brand engagement with Centennials.

A Transparency Need  

One cultural value that is especially important to Centennials is brand messaging. Diverging from their Millennial predecessors, Centennials are less interested in the materialistic trends that brands can offer than the values that these brands hold to. Centennials are growing up in a world where honesty is more of the exception rather than the rule.

As they are exploring how to effect change in the world, Centennials are looking to partner with brands that are also dedicated to making the world a better place. Centennials believe that real progress can happen if a few individuals join together to promote positive change in their networks. Brands should seek to motivate and inspire Centennials with the values they hold to and the vision they have for their brand.

A Risk-Taking Generation

Centennials today are accustomed to living in a world where change and uncertainty dominate the culture. In an era of heightened political and social tension, the global youth population has grown up with ambiguity being the norm. Because of this constant change, Centennials are not scared to take risks in life. In fact, Centennials welcome large risks because they know it can lead to an even bigger reward. In contrast to older, more cautious generations, Centennials realize that oftentimes risks are necessary to succeed in life.

This appreciation for risk-taking also manifests itself in Centennials’ desire to engage with brands that are innovative and experimental. Never ones to criticize or stifle creativity, Centennials are looking for brands that are willing to take risks in developing new, innovative products. Brands should embrace this creative freedom that Centennials have given them to experiment and push the boundaries of convention.

The Varsity Spirit Sponsorship Connection

Varsity Spirit is partnering with our corporate brands to help effectively position them on the technology platforms most effectively used by youth markets including embracing a mobile-only focus.  Varsity Spirit is here to support your brand.  To learn more contact our sponsorship representatives by clicking here.