Yes, Gen Z knows exactly how powerful it is

A new Viacom study shows how today's global youth are embracing their collective power, and what brands can do about it.
July 15, 2019

Anyone who has seen an Instagram post go viral or a YouTube video rack up millions of views understands the enormous collective power of Generation Z. But a new study from Viacom Velocity and Viacom Global Consumer Insights shows just how much today’s youth embrace their abilities to evoke change in the media world and beyond.

According to Power in Progress, which fielded 11,000 participants ages 13 to 25 across 10 countries, 61% of young people believe their generation is more powerful than any other before it. Gatekeeping, they believe, is a collective effort.

Gen Zers in the US, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Italy, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa and the UK believe power is increasingly seen as a collaborative exercise that is bolstered through the connected world. Seventy-two percent of participants believe they can have a successful career doing exactly what they want to do, and that same percentage encourages and supports others when they face challenges.

To that end, teens will band together to cancel people and views in which they don’t believe, and everyone is tasked with policing authenticity. More than half (57%) believe that power should belong to everyone, while 62% say that social media gives them a voice on important issues. While 63% believe social media has the greatest impact on their country, only 38% believe people like themselves are well represented in mass media.

In terms of interacting with brands, 50% of Gen Zers think that companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google are too big and powerful, and two-thirds believe brands should play a larger role in social issues. In fact, 70% say brands that do participate in social issues earn their respect.

According to Colleen Fahey Rush, EVP and chief research officer at Viacom Media Networks, young people are energized and emboldened by their beliefs that they can achieve their goals and have an impact in the world. And in order to connect with today’s teens, brands should show a genuine commitment toward earning their trust.

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