Some of us call them “Post-Millennials” but those who are under the age of 14 would prefer another name to describe their generation. Jane Gould, SVP, MTV Insights launched a study designed to find the perfect name for the next generation of consumers – those born totally in the 21st century and who are too young to be called Millennials.
“MTV is committed to giving youth a choice for voice,” explained Jane, “When we began doing research on post-Millennials, none of the names that we saw (e.g. Gen Z, iGen, Plurals, etc.) really summed up the essence of what we were hearing from the kids themselves.” She continued, “After holding in-person and virtual focus groups to brainstorm more than 500 potential names, we then launched a nationwide quantitative survey of more than 1,000 13 to 14-year-olds who ultimately chose The Founders as their top choice, and we think it’s spot on.”
What distinguishes this generation from other generations is the level of diversity. Jane explained, “People of color will outnumber whites in The Founders cohort (2011 was first year where less than 50% of babies born were white). They feel strongly that they are ‘laying the foundation’ for a new future, by ushering in a new era of openness and acceptance in terms of race, gender and sexuality.”
The Founders feel that they can build and consolidate the changes and disruptions brought on by the previous two generations – Gen X and the Millennials. “Millennials were dreamers, born from Boomer parents. The Founders are pragmatic builders, born from pragmatic Gen Xer parents,” said Jane.
“This next generation is self-aware and articulate and we wanted to give them the power to name themselves,” explained Jane. So MTV started with nothing – no presumptions, no labels and no expectations of the test results. “We just led them through exercises,” Jane said, “I was overwhelmed by their creativity and passion. I don’t think I could have done that when I was 13 years old.”
The Founders combine pragmatism with technological adeptness. Jane explained, “Almost all were born after September 11, 2001 with the oldest born around the time YouTube was created – so they’ve only known a world where anyone can achieve overnight fame. They have grown up completely in the digital world. They’ve been swiping screens since birth and their birth announcement was likely on social media. They don’t know an unconnected world. For most of them, Facebook has been around for their entire lives.”
One of the concerns by the researchers was that the generation would define themselves strictly by technology since that is such a pervasive force in their lives. But those concerns were unwarranted. In fact, Jane noted that, “This generation is inspired by where they sit in society and their need to bridge gaps and connect generations. I was very impressed by them and by their creativity.”
So how will the generation impact the world when they are in charge? Jane is hopeful, “The Founders were born into a world of chaos. I believe that every generation has its counterpoints to create an environment that is not like the previous generations. The Founders are looking to create a positive environment. In many ways this next generation is very different from those who came before them.”
Learn more about The Founders in this MTV video:
This article first appeared in www.MediaBizBloggers.com