It turns out that Millennials depend upon brand content more than we think – and some prefer it. Surprised? I was. In a Havas Worldwide study entitled: “The Hashtag Nation: Marketing to the Selfie Generation” they find that brands actually play a very key role in the content offered for young people to share – and they’re receptive to it. Focusing on those aged 16 & older in 29 markets, they found that 60% of the youth respondents agreed and used branded content in their social media activity frequently – agreeing that it is “an important part of the creative content online.”

What The Study Shows about Branded Content & its Acceptance by Youth

A Brand Momentum poll found tech brands to be the main brands youth connected with, including Samsung, Google, YouTube, PayPal and Facebook. Of the 10K participants, they find that half of the young people were more than happy to “welcome (the brands) into their lives” and saw them as “essential,” as compared to 25% in the 55 & older age range.   (Check out the following link for more on Sponsored Content.)

 A Real Sense of Partnership Between Young People & Brands

In another part of the study, however, it was found that 4 in 10 participants aged 16 to 34 said that brands don’t take them seriously enough – so there’s some room for improvement for us marketers. Despite this, 50% of young people say that pop culture (i.e.. Brand marketing) has helped to shape both their personalities and attitudes. Therefore, these young people acknowledge that these brands and their voices (i.e. content) are part of their everyday lives. “What’s particularly encouraging about this study is that the data point to a real sense of partnership between young people and brands,” said Andrew Benett, CEO of Havas.  With that in mind, we marketers should be aiming for brand attachment with the Millennial generation.

Millennials Make an Impact for Brands Across the Globe

So, contrary to what we might have thought, Millennials actually do have an openness – even a desire – to connect with the brands they love, openly and publicly via social media or otherwise.  Brands rely on youth in these markets consuming their content, and not only delivering monetarily, but also through their enthusiasm and brand advocacy – which they share on all social channels from Twitter to Instagram.

This is happening not just in the States, but also across the globe. Participants in this study were from: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the UAE, the United Kingdom, the US and Viet Nam.  Seeing that these findings are so universal gives the study much credibility and more importantly, makes one realize that it is the global marketplace not just the local one which we can hope to attract via our branded content.  So for PR, branded content will remain a very important way of connecting with our audiences as we move into the future, especially with Millennials.

I would say that this bodes very well for marketing and content marketers, since we’re delivering this branded content more than ever.

(To read more detail on the study results, you can check out this article in The Street.)