March 31, 2008

“Well I am new here… Lately I’ve been really interested in fashion, and I like to make binders and slideshows of ‘high-fashion’ modeling and designs. I’d like to know of neat websites and magazines, so comments are welcome. I plan on posting pictures in the future, but for now, I’m just getting started. Yours truly, Tavi”

Tavi wrote that two years ago. It gives me goose bumps to look back on her first post. Now, she’s flown to Fashion Week shows around the world. She’s fodder for debate amongst seasoned critics several times her age and her opinion has the power to influence an entire industry. Here’s a young girl, from no particular background of privilege, with just a free Blogger account and smart ideas about fashion, who creates this incredibly powerful voice for herself. There are hundreds of Tavi’s out there a this very moment who, armed with an opinion, a network and a good Wi-Fi connection, are singlehandedly changing our industry, the causes we care about and our communities, both online and off.

Tavi is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s CarminaMichelle, Tommy, Yokoo

So, what happens when 1.7 billion born digital youth grow up? What happens when a generation weaned on constant connection comes into their own buying power- as Millennial moms and dads, young professionals and students? What happens when a generation learns that they do not have to call your customer care line for help if they have an issue, that they can go immediately to their circle of friends or their search engines and social networks to completely circumvent what is usually a frustrating system? And what happens when a generation that is perhaps the most targeted by brands and marketers, suddenly starts asking- no, expecting- something in return?

Today, we are so excited to launch Edelman 8095, Edelman’s global Millennial consultancy. A year ago, our Edelman and StrategyOne team set out to explore the Millennial generation beyond the headlines- to understand an honest, uncut, perhaps contradictory perspective that could take us and our clients beyond a vague notion of “youth” and youth influence and connectedness. We have surveyed 3,100 Millennials from China, India, Brazil, Canada, the UK, the US, Italy and Germany. We have launched an online, real-time research community of 500 Millennials that we can survey at a moment’s notice. We established a global liaison network, with Millennials in nearly every office around our network- from Beijing to Bangalore to right here in our own backyard in the US. We’ve led interviews with local Millennials in their area.

Above you will find our full white paper and a few key insights from our research. But, while many claim to have our generation “figured out,” our Edelman 8095 team comes with perhaps more questions than answers. They are smarter questions. They are provocative, insights-backed questions that test the traditional notions about this generation and really get to the heart of what makes us and our relationships with brands really tick. But they are not a “silver bullet.” They frame up an ongoing dialog that we will have with the generation. Above, you will find our full white paper with insights and implications for marketing to Millennials online and off. After you give it a read, share your thoughts in the comments space and feel free to reach out to us at 8095@edelman.com, on Twitter, on Tumblr or Sina Weibo, if you’re interested in moving beyond the headlines as well.

 

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