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The post millennial generation: A new age of rebellion. Far more rebellious than millennials. A generation with reform at its very heart.

Welcome back to The Generation Edge series, our monthly magazine exploring the identity, values, and lifestyle of the post millennial generation. People born after about 1995, the eldest of which are 19 now. We call them Generation Edge.

In this edition we explore Gen Edge's rebellious attitude. This is a generation that fully intends to speak out and shake things up. But it's not rebellion as we know it - Gen Edge has redefined it...

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The post millennial generation: A new age of rebellion. Far more rebellious than millennials. A generation with reform at its very heart.

  2. 2. THE SOUND 2 GENERATION EDGE This month we explore Gen Edge’s rebellious attitude. This is a generation that fully intends to speak out and shake things up. But it’s not rebellion as we know it - Gen Edge has redefined it… Welcome to the latest edition of The Generation Edge Series, our new monthly magazine exploring the identity, values and lifestyle of the post-millennial generation. REBELREBELLION A NEW AGE OF
  3. 3. THE SOUND 3 GENERATION EDGE LIFESTAGE FACTORS Generation Edge are far more rebellious than the generation before them; the Millennials. Millennials grew up at a time when the world was good and the system seemed to be geared up to work for them. They had no need to rebel. Gen Edge, on the other hand, has rebellion and the desire for reform at its very heart. WHAT’S CHANGED? THE ECONOMIC CONTEXT Gen Edge have watched Millennials leaving University with big debts and poor job prospects and they’re asking themselves ‘is it worth it?’ THE POLITICAL CONTEXT Gen Edge feel completely disconnected from mainstream politics - yet care 
 deeply about the issues that affect the world they live in FROM CONFORMIST TO REFORMIST They have also seen how Millennials’ conformist notions of life success have proved unrealistic - making them the most stressed generation yet - and they’ve asked, ‘is there a different way ahead?’ THE PARENTING CONTEXT Gen Edge have Generation X parents who actively encourage 
 them to think differently, to challenge the status quo A DECREASE IN TRUST Gen Edge have grown up watching banks getting bailed out only to pay themselves huge bonuses; they’ve seen big corporations paying no tax; they’ve seen their parents working harder while their incomes decrease. THE EDUCATION CONTEXT Gen Edge have grown up in a world of infinite access to information. The education system increasingly emphasizes the need to develop critical reasoning skills and construct strong arguments $ ?? V O T E
  4. 4. THE SOUND 4 GENERATION EDGE LIFESTAGE FACTORS BUT ISN’T REBELLION just typical TEENAGE REBELLION? The older members of this Generation are still teens - and in many ways they exhibit typical teenage characteristics: ‣ Insecurities of being a teen (acne, body issues, confidence issues, peer pressure, bullying) ‣ Complexities of being a teen (navigating the pressure of school, peers, the adult world) ‣ Excitement of being a teen (value of friendships, first boyfriend/girlfriend, first job, first heart break)
  6. 6. THE SOUND 6 GENERATION EDGE Gen Edge Rebel Tavi Gevinson (born April 21, 1996) is an American writer, magazine editor, actress and singer. Gevinson came to public attention at the age of twelve because of her fashion blog Style Rookie. By the age of fifteen, she had shifted her focus to pop culture and feminist discussion. Gevinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of the online Rookie Magazine, aimed primarily at teenage girls. In both 2011 and 2012, she appeared on the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Media list. GENERATIONAL FACTORS For Gen Edge, rebellion is a desire to change and improve the world around them. They have watched Millennials talking the talk, but changing very little. And they are deeply unimpressed. Gen Edge is letting their actions do the talking. One of the biggest differences between Millennials and Gen Edge is that Millennials trusted 
 institutions. The world was good and it was these institutions that kept it that way. Gen Edge have witnessed something quite different. In their formative years they watched the banks get bailed only to pay themselves huge bonuses. 
 They’ve seen big corporations paying no tax. They have watched their parents work harder and 
 harder for less and less. They have learned that the beef they were eating was actually horse. The result of this is a generation who don’t trust institutions, in fact they openly challenge them. Gen Edge may not be engaging with traditional politics (another institution which they distrust), 
 but at a local level they are getting involved - from a young age. An example of this is 
 a 16 year-old Nick Rubin’s Greenhouse plugin. LESS TALK MORE action
  7. 7. THE SOUND 7 GENERATION EDGE GENERATIONAL FACTORS TAKE NO shit Encouraged by their Gen X parents, and an education system that values the ability to construct strong arguments… Gen Edge are equipped to eloquently challenge institutions, practices and legislation they don’t believe in. And their mastery of social media enables them to make big noise about it… ‣ In the UK, a 16 year-old Jenni Herd’s letter to The Times complaining about their portrayal of teenagers became a viral hit on Twitter. ‣ In Canada, a 12 year-old Victoria Grant’s eloquent YouTube critique of the country’s banking system also went viral. “The banks and the government have colluded to financially enslave the people of Canada.” ‣ In the US, a 14 year-old Rachel Parent became a viral sensation after standing up to an onslaught from Fox News anchor Kevin O’Leary in her opposition to GM foods. “I just want to see GM labeling so we can make informed decisions about what we eat.” “We’ve been hearing about the negative instances in the news, for instance most recently the Michael Brown case, and we always talk about these issues with our parents," she said. "They always try to reinforce that we should focus on solutions. It's important to talk about the issues, but they try to make us focus on finding solutions. That made us think why don't we create an app to help us solve this problem.” - Ima Christian, Five-O App Developer, 16 years-old, Georgia
  8. 8. THE SOUND 8 GENERATION EDGE GENERATIONAL FACTORS TAKE NO shit ‣ Also in the US, a 14 year-old Julia Bluhm forced Seventeen magazine to stop using airbrushed models after over 84,000 people signed her online petition, and she and her fellow activists hand-delivered the petitions to the executive editor of the magazine. ‣ In the UK, a 15-year-old Hull City supporter, Louis Cooper took the police to court for restricting away-travel to football games. “I went to China with Hull City and was free to do what I wanted, yet here I can’t go to a game how I want.” ‣ In the US, three Georgia teens were inspired by the Michael Brown killing to create an app which allows people to document police brutality.
  9. 9. THE SOUND 9 GENERATION EDGE GENERATIONAL FACTORS BELIEVE THERE’S A better way OF GETTING AHEAD Millennials had a pretty conformist idea of what they were supposed to do… Go to University, try out some different paths, then climb the career ladder, earn a good salary, buy a property. It hasn’t always worked out quite like that – which has helped to make Millennials the most stressed generation ever. In recent years, the career prospects of University graduates have looked particularly bleak. Gen Edge have decided that there has to be a better way. Millennials had some lofty ideas about their future careers, and a well-documented sense of entitlement. Gen Edge are far more pragmatic and believe that good things come to those who work. Their Gen X parents have taught them to aspire to do something they are good at, rather than just to aim for the top. It’s a more practical form of career advice than that dispensed 
 by Millennials’ Boomer parents.
  10. 10. THE SOUND 10 GENERATION EDGE GENERATIONAL FACTORS With information at their fingertips, Gen Edge are mapping out very specific career paths from a young age – working out precisely what they’ll need to do in order to get there. This might involve going to University but it might not, and that’s equally valid. University is no longer the aspirational path to be followed. Gen Edge are highly entrepreneurial. A recent study in the US found that 61% of high 
 school students would rather be an entrepreneur instead of an employee when they graduate college. In the UK, a recent Populus survey for RBS found that more than a quarter of 16-25 year olds want to start their own business and of these, nearly half are in the process of doing so. BELIEVE THERE’S A better way OF GETTING AHEAD
  11. 11. THE SOUND 11 GENERATION EDGE GENERATIONAL FACTORS HARD working Given the career prospects of recent graduates, it would be easy to believe that Gen Edge were resigned to a life of low-paid work and zero-hours contracts. Far from it. Instead of breaking them, the events they’ve witnessed and the challenges they’ve watched their parents endure have given rise to a highly determined generation. They are rolling up their sleeves and they don’t expect any pity. Whatever path they choose, they know that they’ll have to work hard to achieve their goals. They see themselves as the hardest-working teenagers for generations. A recent NHS report in the UK shows that the proportion of under-20s who say they have taken drugs in the past month has halved over the last decade. Only two drugs are on the up, and both are legal: Ritalin and Modafinil, stimulants that can power students through major study sessions and entrepreneurial endeavors. In a 2013 MTV survey of 14-17 year-olds, 71% agreed with the statement “If I want to do something, no one is going to stop me” compared to only 51% in 2010 “A lot of people seem to think that all teenagers are super-misguided and not at all ambitious. Such a high proportion of the people my age I know are super-driven, super-focused and super-creative.” - Lorde - July 2014
  12. 12. THE SOUND 12 GENERATION EDGE GENERATIONAL FACTORS A STEEP DECLINE IN hedonism Studies on both sides of the Atlantic show that teenage drinking and drug taking have declined at a remarkable rate in recent years. In the UK, NHS statistics show that in 2011, 17% of 11-16 year olds had taken drugs, compared to 29% in 2001. The proportion who said they’d ever consumed alcohol fell from 61% to 45% over the same period. Similar decreases have been seen in the US. A recent report by The Centers for Disease Control on the state of Americans' health showed huge declines in drinking, smoking and using drugs. Gen Edge now look a lot more conservative than older generations: a recent Spectator article in the UK noted that forty-somethings are spending 40% more on alcohol than they were ten years ago, while teenagers are drinking less than ever. A recent NHS study showed that only 9% of school pupils believe it’s acceptable for them to smoke cannabis. Among the general population, it is 32%. “No-one is suggesting that young people don't misbehave, but teenagers no longer seem to define themselves by wild disobedience. If anything, we are in the middle of a period of increasingly good behavior.” - Mark Easton, BBC News STATISTICS ARE PROVING THAT THEY ARE DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY THAN PREVIOUS GENERATIONS Juvenile Delinquency 2001: 90,000 2011: 45,000 
 Down by 50% Never Smoked Tobacco 1998: 66% 2014: 75% 
 Up by 9%
  13. 13. THE SOUND 13 THE SOUNDGENERATION EDGE WHISTLEBLOWER ROLE MODELS ENCOURAGE MAKING A STAND A BROKEN SYSTEM THAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED TECHNOLOGY GIVES THEM A PLATFORM SO, WHY IS THIS DIFFERENT? GENERATION The Gen Edge version of rebellion is not a destructive or nihilistic force - it is drive towards reform. They feel they have a responsibility to change things. Culture and technology have changed things too. Behavior which previous generations thought was transgressive is now normal…
  14. 14. THE SOUND 14 GENERATION EDGE GENERATIONAL FACTORS WHISTLEBLOWER ROLE MODELS THAT ENCOURAGE taking a stand Generation X (born between 1965-1981) are the parents of Gen Edge. They are a generation defined by their pervading sense of cynicism and rebellion… ‣ A generation shaped by a mix of disappointment and fragmentation ‣ A generation who always questioned institutions and defied authority ‣ As parents they are actively preparing their kids for life in a world that is seemingly on the edge of collapse
  15. 15. THE SOUND 15 GENERATION EDGE GENERATIONAL FACTORS Gen Edge have a strong relationship with their Gen X parents. They have grown up in households where their parents refuse to coddle them. They do not want their kids to grow up dependent on them; it’s a very different relationship than Millennials have with their Boomer parents. Gen X parents encourage their children to have a rebellious spirit. In fact, this is a right of passage in their minds…even a point of pride! However, it’s not just their parents that are encouraging them to take a stand. Teachers are making a stand, challenging kids to question standard education. High profile whistleblowers (Snowden, Kamkar, Manning) are defying governments. Activist investors use capital to force changes upon corporations. Minor league whistleblowers use social media to start debates. This in turn creates a generation of teens that are encouraged, almost expected to challenge the failures they perceive around them. WHISTLEBLOWER ROLE MODELS THAT ENCOURAGE taking a stand
  16. 16. THE SOUND 16 GENERATION EDGE GENERATIONAL FACTORS A BROKEN SYSTEM THAT NEEDS TO BE fixed Gen Edge are coming of age during a time where institutions are being criticized and there is public acknowledgement that the system is broken. Gen Edge understand that change is needed. They are conscious that things just won’t ‘sort themselves out’. Millennials were told they could achieve anything…while Gen Edge are told they need to figure it out. This is exactly what they are doing. Their rebellion is a result of growing up in a world that is threatening their futures. Rather than leaving it to ‘the adults’ to figure it out, they are making a place for themselves in the discussion. They are taking a stand in what they believe in and trying to implement change that they recognize to be important…
  17. 17. THE SOUND 17 GENERATION EDGE CONTEXTUAL FACTORS TECHNOLOGY GIVES THEM a platform Gen Edge are digital natives. They have never known a world without the internet, and they are growing up in a world where it’s natural to always be on. They not only see local and national news, but global news as well in the form of videos, pictures, live tweeting (etc.) from those on the ground and in real time. This information is all at their fingertips, uncensored. Gen Edge are getting exposed to real footage of shootings, killings, riots and police brutality. These are images that are filmed and shared across the internet. These images allow for the viewers to draw their own conclusions, with often no contest that injustice has been done. Gen Edge can then follow minute by minute updates on Twitter or follow Michael Brown’s Mom on Instagram. They now have access to the news at a much deeper and more personal level. Gen Edge don’t need traditional media to construct a narrative for them.
  18. 18. THE SOUND 18 GENERATION EDGE With rebellious role models that encourage challenging the norm and the understanding that the system is broken, technology and the access to information becomes a powerful tool. TOOL GENERATION HAVE THE ABILITY TO MAKE INFORMED CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE WORLD AROUND THEM THAT THEY ARE USUALLY NOT HAPPY WITH. This creates a disruptive voice that IS using global platforms to discuss these issues and spark a real debate - helping to create the new age of rebellion. A POWERFUL
  19. 19. THE SOUND 19 THE SOUNDGENERATION EDGE WHAT DOES THIS ALL FOR BRANDS? Approaches that may have worked for marketing to positive, conformist Millennials won’t necessarily work for angry, reformist Gen Edge. Particularly when a lot of this marketing comes 
 from the organizations they have in their sights. 
  20. 20. THE SOUND 20 GENERATION EDGE BRAND IMPLICATIONS YOU CAN’T BEAT THEM SO join them… Brands that harness the spirit of reform are likely to flourish. It’s important to understand what rebellion embodies for our Gen Edge. A voice that looks for action behind the ideas. A voice that doesn’t bother bull-shitting. A voice that is non-conformist and goes against the grain. And most importantly, a voice that values hard work. Remember, Gen Edge stir things up for a reason, and not just to get a reaction, and they respect brands that do the same. A brand that is inherently a category challenger and disrupter potentially has a lot to gain with Gen Edge. Think Virgin, Giff Gaff, Tesla. These are brands which have acted on their dissatisfaction with their category and tried to do something different.
  21. 21. THE SOUND 21 GENERATION EDGE BRAND IMPLICATIONS NO MORE REBEL uniform It is a challenge to visually capture the aesthetic of the Gen Edge Rebel…and if you try to, you will have missed the point. Gone are the days where there is a typical uniform that will help identify and drive the rebels of this generation. It’s important for brands not to pigeonhole the image of what this new era of rebel looks like. It’s more about capturing the spirit and the voice of rebellion versus the look - because for this generation rebellion is a behavior rather than an image.
  22. 22. THE SOUND 22 GENERATION EDGE BRAND IMPLICATIONS PLATFORMS AS THEIR voice Just because they’re teens doesn’t mean you can ignore them. Gen Edge are immersed in the digital world. Brands need to be aware of how savvy Gen Edge are when it comes to utilizing this space. They have access to everything which therefore can make brands quite vulnerable… especially, if they have something to hide. Before Gen Edge have an opportunity to challenge your brand it’s important to lay your cards on the table and be honest and open with your consumers. Improving Corporate Social Responsibility allows you to be more proactive and transparent as a brand. Don’t allow them to catch you off guard. Create a good reputation, rather than find yourself having to defend a bad one. You can’t expect to control the debate everywhere, but you can recognize where and when it’s necessary to respond. Do it constructively rather than trying to dismiss it, and you’ll find that reasonable debate is possible and even welcome.
  23. 23. THE SOUND 23 GENERATION EDGE BRAND IMPLICATIONS TARGETING THE NEW AXIS OF rebellion With Gen Edge unlikely to move out of their parental homes any time soon, they will form an increasingly close alliance with their equally rebellious Gen X parents. Shaping one another’s tastes, fueling one another’s passions, ultimately creating a new partnership of rebellion. Brands will increasingly need to consider this new rebellious consumer dynamic. Marketers are used to targeting an axis of Boomer/Millennial positivity. It’s time to start preparing for a sea change. The X/Edge Axis will want to see new propositions, products, brands and communications that align with their rebellious world view.
  25. 25. V A N C O U V E R | N E W Y O R K | L O N D O N | T O R O N T O | C H I C A G O | M U M B A I W W W . T H E S O U N D H Q . C O M
  26. 26. IMAGE REFERENCES SLIDE SITE COVER 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 26THE SOUND THE SOUND