Research & Market Trends

Millennials Evaluate Corporate Reputation Through a New Lens


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Millennials around the globe are forging different paths than older generations—from their use of e-commerce and sharing economies to their healthy habits and money matters. While this generation hasn't amassed the full potential of their wealth yet, their youth and large size—they comprise one-fourth of the planet’s population—make Millennials a growing consumer force that businesses must reckon with. So understanding what influences their perceptions of corporations and ultimately their purchase decisions is essential knowledge for companies today.


Millennials comprise about one-third of “Opinion Elites,” an influential subset of the public who are highly informed, engaged and active when it comes to social and business issues. Around the world, Opinion Elites of all ages are increasingly inquisitive and knowledgeable about the companies they choose to buy from. And according to findings from a 2014 Nielsen study among Opinion Elites in 16 countries about corporate reputation, this group actively learns about companies, often before they make purchases.


However, just as Millennials' shopping, dietary and financial decisions differ from those of older generations, younger Opinion Elites (aged 18-34) focus on different qualities than their older peers when assessing a corporate reputation. The good news for organizations, these Millennials are more receptive toward and give greater credit to companies across different locations and industries—provided their other priorities are met.


Any Place, Any Industry Not surprisingly


Opinion Elites of all ages typically feel most favorable toward companies with headquarters in their home country. However, potentially in light of globalization, younger Opinion Elites appear less focused on country pride than their older counterparts. These young and informed individuals have stronger overall impressions of multi-national companies (MNCs) in general, as well as those headquartered outside of their country.


After their home country, all generations of global Opinion Elites view companies with U.S.-based headquarters most favorably, followed by those with corporate headquarters located in other developed markets. However, those 18-34 lead these positive attitudes, with notably more favorable views toward MNCs headquartered in “developing” countries like China, Brazil and India. This has significant implications for the future as global companies work daily to maintain and grow their license-to-operate in all corners of the world and in the context of emerging competitors.


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