So how can marketers and brand managers capitalise on this newfound sense of optimism, and take advantage of the so-called ‘Olympic effect’ among young people today?
1. Positive mental attitude
Young people are more ambitious than ever, and they understand more than ever that success in their careers and life comes only from hard work, commitment and a positive attitude in today’s highly competitive global market. This attitude was highlighted at the Olympics last year, and made a lasting impression.
There is potential for this new positive stance to be used as a big idea by marketers, according to Anne Collins, research director at Firefly Millward Brown: "Marketers need to capitalise on these emerging post-recession values. There’s a palpable hunger to achieve amongst this generation that was never as strident with Generation Y."
2. Old-fashioned values
In this complex digital world, there is also a longing for old-fashioned values. Young people appreciate the sociability, closeness, mutual respect and belonging highlighted during the Olympics, and desire more of the ‘physical’ in their lives today. Marketers can benefit from having a strong focus on the ‘experiential’, as part of their multimedia-campaigns.
"Brands can do this in different ways – Coca Cola’s ‘Share A Coke’ campaign this summer is a brilliant example of bringing young people together, and giving them a way to show love, care and respect for family and friends," says Collins.
"It has been a tremendously successful campaign which supports the importance placed on ‘old-fashioned’ values and interactions by young people."
3. The physical vs. the digital
Emphasis on the ‘physical place’ rather than the ‘digital space’ is becoming more important for young people. The report suggests that there is a strong affection for, and pride, in London and its iconic landmarks. Individual areas have also taken on their own unique sense of style and identity, like energetic Brixton and the hipster vibe of East London. This represents an opportunity for brands in terms of alignment with places or physical areas.
"One example of this is O2. Following in the footsteps of Apple, O2 has recently created physical workshop spaces in-store where young people can meet, learn or lounge; these forward-thinking technology brands who are visionaries for the ‘digital future’ also know the importance of ‘keeping it real’ for the young adults," says Collins.
4. A more liberal approach
Young people are far more liberal than their parents’ generation. They embrace diversity, and understand they can be enriched by learning about and experiencing different cultures, different nationalities, people and places.
Their liberal stance was highlighted at the time of the Olympics last year where they enjoyed the coming together of different people and nationalities to support teams and celebrate sporting achievement. In the build-up to the World Cup in 2014 the global unity and connections young people desire represents a significant opportunity for marketers who target young people.
5. Frame of reference
Young people’s frames of reference have been extended. They are born into ‘globalisation’, and personal ambition extends beyond London and the UK. They want success at work, and to gain a diverse range of life experiences along the way. Brands must get to know young people better, and those that best reflect their needs and aspirations will reap rewards in the future.
Adidas has managed to do this well, capitalising on its sponsorship of the Olympics; its collaboration with designer of the moment - Stella McCartney, choosing young, rising, sporting personalities as ambassadors, and various initiatives aimed at young people with passion at the core reaped great results. Adidas raised its game, its global credentials and ‘cool’ factor at the same time.
London Pride: The Young Adult Perspective was undertaken by Firefly Millward Brown in April 2013 to gauge how young men and women aged 18-25 living inside and outside the capital viewed London following the London Olympics.