A recent RetailWire discussion centered on Millennials and their “cynical” view of marketing in general. I’m not certain whether it’s fair to call it cynicism — since a lot of Gen Y opinions are wrapped in idealism, too — but it’s clear from the data that younger consumers view brands with a jaundiced eye. Here’s my opinion:
I believe that Millennials are more media-savvy than their parents and grandparents, and more likely to form collective opinions through social networking, review sites and other word-of-mouth. There is plenty of data to support this, not just the numbers reported in the article. While there has always been a degree of cynicism about marketing in popular culture, it is probably reaching an apex with Gen Y.
As to “trustworthiness,” I think that is the most critical value across all generations, not just among Millennials. The idea may have multiple definitions, however, ranging from the perception of value (a combination of price and quality) to the desire to deal with companies with a social conscience.