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The Millennial Generation: Pro-Social and Empowered to Change the World

A collaboration between Cone Inc. and AMP brought together two unique and valuable perspectives to create the compelling and significant Millennial Cause Study. The goal of the study was to better understand how Millennials view cause and companies that support causes.

We found that when a cause message is linked to a brand in an authentic and today's most relevant way, it can gain the attention and respect of young people today.


The Millennial Generation is by far the most analyzed, most marketed to and most intriguing generation to date. It is a generation that is comprised of individuals who are extremely ambitious and not only have high expectations for themselves, but also for those around them including their friends, families, communities and brands. It is also a generation that has been shaped by tragic world events such as 9/11 and natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. The result is a group that has developed a strong social conscience amplified by technology.

As you will read, Millennials are a generation of young people accustomed to choices and options. They are acutely aware of their marketing power and influence. They demand customization and instantaneous feedback. And their demands are usually answered. As the sheer number of media channels and advertisements has risen, it has become harder and harder to reach Millennials. We found that Cause Brandingsm has emerged as an effective tool for reaching and communicating with this complex generation.

Cone Inc., a strategy and communications agency that develops and executes leadership causerelated initiatives for companies and nonprofits, and AMP Insights, the strategic planning and consumer insights division of AMP Agency, set out to discover exactly how corporate cause-related initiatives can use these findings to influence Millennials as consumers, employees and citizens.

In particular, this study found that when a cause message is linked to a brand in an authentic and relevant way, it can gain the attention and respect of young people today. Furthermore:

  • A shared passion for a cause can foster a strong personal relationship between a brand and its target consumer.
  • Millennials are ready to reward or punish a company depending on its commitment to social and/or environmental causes.
  • Cause marketing should be considered as a loyalty strategy for engaging Millennials.


This report will not only continue to explore the themes mentioned above but also discuss key characteristics of the Millennial Generation and examine Millennials as consumers, individuals and employees. Additionally this report will profile some of today’s most effective brand ambassadors “the Doers” and define the Millennial Cause Engagement Paradigm.

The exact start and close dates of the Millennial Generation are much debated. While some believe this generation ended with the start of the new Millennium, others argue that the generation has not yet closed. However for the purposes of this research, the Millennial Generation is defined as consisting of individuals born between the years of 1979 and 2001. Specifically, this report looks at Millennials who range from young teens to young adults, ages 13 - 25 years-old.

It is estimated that there are 78 million Millennials in the United States alone. As a group, the Millennial Generation embodies a spirit of optimism and cooperation. Experts believe that this group is better educated as well as more disciplined and achievement-oriented than the generations that have preceded them.

In fact, survey respondents described themselves in terms that are consistent with the generally accepted persona of the Millennial Generation. They see themselves as friendly, open-minded, intelligent, responsible, socially minded and informed. Figure 1 highlights the Top 10 self-selected descriptors.


Adjectives for Millennials

There are high expectations for this generation and Millennials are happy to take on this challenge. Specifically, they believe that, as civic-minded and active participants in today’s world, it is up to them to assume the responsibility of making a lasting, positive impact on the future.

Technology has made this participation easier than for past generations. For Millennials, there is no life before computers or the Internet. As a by-product of being reared in a culture of speed, technology and choice, they are savvy early adopters who quickly master whatever new programs that come to the market. Growing up with the Internet has exposed Millennials to an entire Global Community and increased their awareness of news and world events.

Millennials have numerous ways to readily learn about world affairs, and it can be argued that this facility has made them not only more aware but also more involved. More than one-third (37%) of survey respondents stated that natural disasters have had a significant influence in their involvement with their community.


Generational Differences

Following is a closer look at the main distinctions between Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials.


Characteristics of Boomers, Genx and Millennials

This is an excerpt; for the full pdf click here.

This content was provided by AMP Agency. Visit their website at

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