Insights • Article

Shifting Values: The New American Reality

By Dodai Stewart, Editor in Chief
Apr 20, 2017

The new generation of young Americans is the most diverse in American history, not only because of their racial composition (43% of adults 18-34 are non-white), but also because of their values, interests and points of view.

As the PEW Research institute explains in their report “Multiracial in America” Identity is not just the sum of races in someone’s family tree. It’s much more complicated than that. Identity is fluid, an amalgamation of the different, individual “boxes” that each person checks.

This new generation has been labelled selfish, entitled and self-absorbed, but in truth they are intimately tuned into the communities around them. They are activists, thinkers, doers. They’re highly engaged, super social, and committed to pushing progress forward by fighting for what they believe is right.

Unlike the generations before them, this group doesn’t see society as a monolithic construct. Instead, they understand and embrace the nuances of the new American reality and want to build an inclusive society that works for everyone – immigrants, Muslims, Latin Americans, people of color, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, the working poor, and the disenfranchised. They’re united in this common goal, and through this conviction they fuel social and economic progress.

Community, connection and consciousness are paramount to this group. They build connections through passions and interests, and choose to surround themselves – and engage – with people and organizations that share their value system. They seek out a more balanced life, value experiences, and are much more aware of the social and personal implications of their choices. And they are focused and driven to attain their goals and dreams.

This social shift has clear implications on how this generation consumes, and what they expect – and demand – of the brands they engage with.

For brands, the way to genuinely connect with this new generation is by tapping into a shared purpose, becoming part of their community and creating experiences that emotionally resonate with them. “[Experiences] are the only thing that leave a lasting impression on the audience”.

Genuine engagement can only be born from those shared passions. And it can only be brought to life through irresistible storytelling and through unique experiences that delight and inspire the audiences they reach.

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