Identifying the millennial 'tribes'

| by Bradley Cooper
Identifying the millennial 'tribes'

Photo: iStock

If I had a nickel for every time the media misrepresented millennials, I would be wealthier than Bill Gates. Many articles make the mistake of stereotyping millennials either positively or negatively. Some portray millennials as lazy, entitled, antiestablishment types who can't stop taking selfies. Others present them as clever, socially conscious adults who were dealt a bad hand by the marketplace. Both of these stereotypes fail to take into consideration the full spectrum of the millennial demographic, and marketing to these false stereotypes can have disastrous results.

A Canadian research agency, Environics Research, created a survey that identifies millennials based on six distinct millennial tribes. While there is obviously some overlap with some people, these tribes are a useful way to understand different types of millennials. The six tribes are as follows:

  • Lone Wolves tend to live alone and closely mirror Gen Xers' desire for independence. They usually have a "live and let live" attitude.
  • Engaged Idealists wish to engage in meaningful careers. They want to contribute as much as possible to their work, environment and communities. 70 percent are women and 45 percent are single women.
  • Bros and Brittanys work hard and play harder. They like to be on top of fashion and technology trends and tend to have more defined gender roles. They represent one-quarter of Canadian millennials.
  • Diverse Strivers long to be successful in many ways and value respect and status. They are the most likely to have a household income of six figures or more. They also happen to be big spenders.
  • Critical Counterculturalists tend to be progressive-minded. They value diversity and gender equality, and heavily oppose what they view as illegitimate or superficial status and authority. They long for authentic relationships. Almost half are single men and 83 percent have no religion.
  • New Traditionaliststend to be more religious than other tribes; 61 percent espouse conservative Protestantism. They are more likely to be married and tend to respect authority more than millennials. They value duty and some traditional values, but they are also environmentally conscious and often purchase green products.

On a practical level, if you were running a DOOH campaign targeting more traditional consumers, you could also appeal to New Traditionalists. You might appeal to Critical Counterculturalists with a campaign that emphasizes equality, but this might not appeal to other tribes, such as Bros and Brittanys.

The key consideration here is that millennials are not all the same, so it is counterproductive to treat them that way in your advertising and marketing efforts.

Topics: Consumer Behavior, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Marketing, Merchandising, Retail - General, Shopper Marketing, Trends / Statistics

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is a Technology Editor for His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.

wwwView Bradley Cooper's profile on LinkedIn

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