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Over the course of this multi-part part series, we’ve disproved several media archetypes associated with Millennials. In the process of researching these “arche-hypes”, we came to realize that Millennials are the new cultural revolutionaries.

Generation Revolution

Millennials’ passion for causes and issues combined with their enormous population and growing voting power is already having transformative effects on our culture, and this will continue.

Millennials are already terraforming a more “gendextrous” world, where women and men can be and should be emotional leaders – using both traditionally “masculine” and “feminine” traits as strengths. Long held gender biases will continue to erode thanks in part to this group

Millennials will change existing corporate structure from within, permanently altering the ways we live and work in this country. As we’ve established, they are not lazy, but instead utterly committed to being dedicated family members and leading a life that enables them flexibility. This group may create a more elastic workplace than we’ve ever seen, with emphasis placed on work responsibilities but within a life context.

Millennials will push the dial on women’s and broader social issues legislatively. We know Millennials care deeply about these issues, and that this massive generation votes their values. We also know that, for the first time, women’s issues have majority support across both genders.

Millennials will also push the dial on women’s and broader social issues culturally. Gender roles will become increasingly irrelevant as both men and women embrace stay-at-home parenting roles and commit to households where duties are equally divided, and not based on gender.

Implications for Brands and Publishers

Invest in Millennials

Show how your brand can help them reach their life goals and aspirations, support their passions, and help them have fun
Focus on life goals such as happiness, human connection and authenticity, and qualities from those role models they want to emulate

Value Their Opinions

Invite Millennial women to weigh in on the generation conversation; the press constantly pits and positions generations against each other, which gives publishers a ground-breaking opening to celebrate the significant alignment that does exist
Encourage them to voice their opinions from social issues to feedback about your product and open up a two way dialogue

Inspire Them

Embrace their positivity – sarcasm does not resonate as much as it did with Gen X, embrace their positivity but recognize their struggle
Highlight stories featuring those who have struggled to maintain positive in the face of obstacles; no matter what barriers a person encounters or the strategies deployed to deal with them, the ways in which they handle their struggle emotionally is relevant and resonant to the Millennial since they themselves feel an inner tension between optimism and anxiety about their problems
Don’t shy away from showcasing Boomers & women as role models
Do not downplay content that shows role models as “emotional” – emotionality is a key strength Millennials admire, and they see visible emotions neither as a weakness nor a pigeonhole

Support Their Causes

Consider cause marketing to show your support of social & women’s issues
Help them support their causes and beliefs
Remember pro-woman, doesn’t mean anti-man; Millennial women see women’s issues as an important piece in a greater social agenda that encompasses both men and women – content and messaging that puts men down or pits the sexes against each other will seem both reactionary and incomplete. The more content feels inclusive of both genders, the more it will resonate with Millennials.

For more on the media archetypes we’ve debunked about Millennials, check out our infographic.

About the Research: AOL and Red Lantern Strategy conducted the above study in the Spring/Summer of 2013. We conducted the study in 2 phases. First, we fielded 7-day qualitative digital ethnographies (N=20) among diverse Millennial women ages 18-34 to help us generate hypotheses around the way young women think of social issues, including feminism. The second phase was a 20-minute quantitative survey to N=1682 online respondents. To furnish cultural context and help us determine what the unique experience of being a Millennial and a woman is at this moment in culture, we sourced a readable sample across a diversity of ages and across both genders to provide the necessary contrast for analysis.

Vist these links for Part 1 and Part 2 of the previous Brand Innovators installments from AOL. Or see more at advertising.aol.com/blog

AOL's Vicki Draper

Vicki Draper is Director of Consumer Analytics & Research at AOL where she conducts innovative research to aid sales and product teams across AOL. Her research spans a variety of topics including mobile, women & moms, and sales verticals such as retail and CPG. Vicki received the 2013 EXPLOR Award for Innovation in Research for her groundbreaking 7 Shades of Mobile study which was also highlighted in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review “How People Really Use Mobile”. She has presented at conferences including The Market Research Event in 2012 and ARF Re:think 2013 and won a Future Forward Certificate at the 2014 ARF Great Mind Awards. She holds a BS in Marketing & Hotel Management from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia University.

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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