September 3, 2020

The future of youth culture

By

Fabian Castellani

Want some insight into the future of youth culture and the latest consumer behaviour trends? Lucky for you, Fanclub Senior Account Manager, Fabian, recently sat down and read Dazed latest report on the future of youth culture; The Era of Monomass, and has written up the key finding into a short blog so you don't have to, enjoy!

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Like any agency worth their salt, we’re constantly on the hunt for the latest reports to understand everything from niche sectors through to key consumer behaviour. During one of my research click holes, I stumbled across Dazed’s latest report on the future of youth culture; The Era of Monomass. The report itself is pretty hefty, collating stats on over 3,500 interviews globally with Millennials and Zoomers.

Luckily for you, I’ve sat and read the report in its entirety and provided our own views on Dazed’s findings, so you don’t have to.

So what are the key take outs for PR agencies? And what should brand be aware of when it comes to understanding younger generations?

Print is back, and so are books

What’s probably music to PRs up and down the nation is the fact that younger generations aren’t turning their backs on editorial content.

When it comes to channels, earned media still has its place in the youth sphere, with 68% of respondents stating that online publications, zines and magazines have the highest influence on changing their opinions. Surprisingly, 42% stated that they prefer to read print magazines over digital.

You might think it’s something to do with this fascination of the retro that’s taking over mainstream culture over the past few decades. In actual fact, it most likely boils down to the fact that this is the first generation to be bombarded by clickbait advertising and fake news. This constant push of BS has no doubt led Zoomers to trust the physical and high-tier publications thanks to their stringent editorial processes. More process = less lies in the eyes of the younger generations.

The second generation influencer

We’ve heard about the ‘death of the influencer’ but the reality is a little more complex. While the report found only 6% (yes SIX) of Gen Z and Millennials feel that macro influencers – aka those with 100k+ followers – actually have any impact on their purchase decisions, it predicts that future influence will be driven by our ‘real heroes’.

So what exactly do younger generations want? Well, they want human connection. Second generation influencers reject the notion of a curated feed in favour of a more unfiltered aesthetic. Millennial influencers hauled DSLR cameras to the beach and mastered photo editing to get the perfect shot, the upcoming generation post directly from their mobile phones driven by the rise of TikTok.

Brands also need to consider the fact that unlike their older counterparts, Gen Z haven’t grown up in a world where they just consume media that is created by those in ivory towers. Zoomers have the power to create their own content and put it into the ether for everyone to see within seconds.

In fact, they can go as far as to record themselves reacting to content created by anyone – brands, celebs, friends, influencers. This generation isn’t passive; it’s involved in content and community creation. It’s those influencers that bring that collaborative energy that will prevail over the coming years.

Rise of fluid identities

Surprise; it turns out the internet has seriously impacted younger generations and how they view themselves. Who’d have thought. In fact, with unrestricted access to all aspects of culture – from different nations through to different time periods – it’s completely changed the concept of identity.

First came the Millennials breaking the traditional career path to create the ‘multi-hyphen’ generation, which in turn created a generation with knowledge and interests that span multiple areas at once.

And now there’s the Zoomers.

Gen Z has seen what Millennials were up to with this multi-hyphen business and said “hold my purse”. Gen Z are the ultimate side hustle generation with true cohesion between their work and passions.

Both generations easily move between groups of shared interests, belonging to several macro and micro groups at any one time. This has led to the birth of the polymath. A prime example of a polymath is FKA Twigs, who is a dancer, actor, singer, producer, zine creator and creative director.

It’s this fluidity that’s led to the death of ‘tribes’. Previously you picked a group – be that goths, punks, mods, rockers, gabbaheads – and stuck to their strict rules. Now you no longer need to pick, you can amalgamate and pick what you like.

If you’d like to pick up the conversation about the latest culture trends and insights, just drop us an email at hello@fanclubpr.com.