I’m One of Them: Speaking As a Millennial

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I suppose I’d be considered a text book example. I’m into yoga – more for the exercise than the spirituality. I love Kombucha for its health claims and the fact that it’s the closest thing to drinking vinegar that is socially acceptable. I care about the quality of and ingredients in the food I eat, I buy organic when it makes sense, and I’m always looking for the newest and most convenient products. I was born in the 80s, and I’m a quintessential millennial.

 I Want New Products

I don’t shy away from the “millennial” label. Normally I’d say it’s not fair to generalize about generations, but this description of me is too accurate to ignore. So when I recently perused the IRI Top 10 Pacesetters Food & Beverage list, I realized that I and my ~80 million strong millennial crew are starting to drive the success of a lot of the latest CPG innovations. Four of the products are yogurt, and not just any yogurt, but Greek yogurt – heralded for its high protein health benefits. I can direct you to article after article that touts 18-36 year olds as the driving force of the recent yogurt boom. Chobani didn’t exist ten years ago, and its brand has come of age with my generation and my needs in mind.

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Then there are the beverages. Three of the identified products include Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita, Red Bull Editions, and REDD’S Apple Ale. Can you envision anyone above the age of 35 consuming these drinks? I think not. Heck, I’m nearly 30 and I can hardly picture myself drinking them. We millennials are known for our love of new and interesting flavors, and this list reinforces it. All of these drinks are either a new twist on a classic beverage, or the rise of a drink that was once quite niche (cider).

I Want More Engaging Concept Testing

So we’ve established that millennials are a driving force in CPG, but you know as well as I do that you won’t catch me or my peeps filling out a 30 minute survey on a PC in our free time. I don’t even own a PC. And I don’t really have free time, since my work and personal life blend together as I alternate between staring at the person in front of me and the smartphone in my hand.  If you aren’t following me, chances are you’ll miss the innovation boat. And if you want to connect, you need to do it on my terms – where I want, when I want, and how I want.

Admitting that I’m a little biased (since I worked on it), I’d like to believe this is the reason why over the last year and a half Ipsos rebuilt its concept testing offer from the ground up. If manufacturers are going to make products targeted to millennials, they probably ought to be working with the same target to develop those innovations. As I think about my generation and me filling out surveys, Ipsos really did three things that make concept testing more relevant. First, it found an alternative to the concept board. Concepts are now broken down into more easily digestible “Swipe” screens, which are much more closely aligned with how I’m used to consuming information. Second, the survey is shorter, with the average length decreased by 50% versus the traditional approach. I have time for that. Finally, the questions better replicate how I think. No more “On a scale of 1 to 10, where ‘1’ means I’m not listening and ‘10’ means I don’t care.” Instead, the survey mainly asks me what I do today, then asks me how a new product compares to what I do today.  That’s a valid train of thought.

If I cast aside my millennial perspective for a second and focus on the research, the business outcomes for our clients also get better. You still get a prediction of in-market success, but beyond that everything is new, improved, or new and improved. Archetypes let you know whether your innovation is likely to be a mass success, or merely a niche product. You find out how incremental your new product is compared to your current offer. And you get deeper concept diagnostics because the concept is now broken down into its parts for analysis. Concept testing hadn’t really changed since before I was born, so it seems like it was about time to create something more, well, modern.

You Know How to Reach Me. 
So, if you want to chat, I’m the one savoring my Greek yogurt, sipping my Kombucha, and eating my quinoa over at Ipsos. Send me a message on Facebook, Tweet at me, maybe even SnapChat, but don’t send me an outdated concept test survey that can’t be completed on a mobile device, on my time, and reflecting the way I make decisions. That’s as outdated as e-mail.