For Millennials, Brands May Be as Important as Religion, Ethnicity


Millennials–the generation born between 1980 and 1995–relate to brands in deep and complicated ways, according to a new study from Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm. The 8095 (“eighty ninety-five”) study, as they’re calling it, show that brand identification is just about as important as religion and ethnicity when it comes to personal identifiers millennials share online.

Volunteering to try new products and review some of them online is a “core value,” according to Edelman, and the majority of those surveyed had recommended products to friends and family via a social network. The research involved interviewing 3,100 respondents in eight countries.

Before you criticize, remember that bashing millennials is wrong, as we already told you. They are wonderful multitasking employees. But the notion that retweeting a sales pitch is a “core value”? Or that brand identification ranks on par with religion and ethnicity? This is difficult to believe.

We can easily concede that people’s online lives–their Facebook pages, especially–are closely integrated with brands of various sorts (which makes Bing’s union with Facebook all the more clever, and potentially lucrative). But to what extent is a millennial’s online life the deepest expression of who that person is?

Has Edelman really discovered a sea change in the way young people identify themselves? Or has it merely exposed the fact that their online lives, by and large, are barely skin-deep?DZ