With the interest in reaching and connecting with young adults continuing to rise, some newly released studies have revealed some insights and surprises.
Don’t assume that finances have young adults so stressed out that it’s keeping them awake nights.
A recent Ohio State University study has found that the more credit card and college loan debt held by those between the ages of 18 and 27, the higher their self esteem and the more they felt like they were in control of their lives.
According to Rachel Dwyer, lead author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University, the young people surveyed seem to view debt mostly in positive terms.
The research also revealed that those in the lowest economic class felt the most empowered by both educational and credit card debt, while those in the middle class felt more empowered by holding credit card debt.
Dwyer added that stress about the debt was starting to be felt by those in the study over age 28.
Another study, "The Truth About Youth" by McCann Worldgroup explored what motivates young people. The researchers discovered the three common global motivators: the need for connection, relationships and community; the need for social or personal justice, to do what’s right, to be an activist; and the need to see things as they are. According to the report, technology has helped young adults meet those needs.
"For young people, technology is more than a useful tool or an enabler. It is truly their fifth sense," stated the report. "Youth see technology as Play-Doh. Something they use in an utterly malleable and instinctive way. Older generations start with ‘what will this box allow me to do?’ Whereas, this generation starts with ‘what do I want to do? Where can my imagination take me?’ Technology enables young people to sense the world and make sense of the world."
According to the report, today’s young adults essentially live in a world where borders are not tolerated.
"More than any other generation this generation doesn’t think in compartments. If I can have that here, why I can’t I have it there? If this is ‘right’ here, why is it ‘wrong’ there? Collaboration is hardwired. The third thing young people pride themselves on is ‘working in a group or team’, and eight out of the top 10 things that young people think they’re good at cover how they relate to other people," the report stated.
For companies looking to connect, the research revealed that the moment young people felt hemmed in, ignored or personally done wrong, 90% would make a point of telling their friends about unjust behavior from a brand. From a young person’s point of view, the worst thing a brand can do is make a promise it doesn’t keep.
"Given their focus on truth and authenticity, youth want brands to adopt a form of justice that is a) credible and b) true to the brand."