September 29, 2021  |  Expertise

Who is Generation Disruption & Why Do They Matter?

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As marketers, we know the importance of acquiring customers.

We also know that not all customers fall into the same box. A common strategy implemented to segment your audience is generational marketing, which consists of targeting a specific generation of people.

Research is conducted to access the changing views of each generation: Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1996), and Generation Z (born after 1996).

A recent study from Zeno Group explores a hybrid of Generation Z and younger Millennials known as “Generation Disrupted.”

While 2020-‘21 has been difficult for everyone, young people ages 14-28 are experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic recession, protests and social justice movements during a transformative time in their lives. In the survey of more than 1,000 young Americans, 76% say their personal beliefs, values and general character have been altered by these recent events or “disruptions.”

Making up more than 50% of the U.S. population, the combined total of Millennials, Gen Z and younger equates to 166 million. It will be important for companies to understand the views of these generations to engage with them as consumers, ambassadors, and advocates of their brand moving forward.

A few key takeaways from the study.

Values and Traits on the Rise in 2021:


Values Traits
Protecting the Family Awareness of the World Around Them
Compassion Grateful
Equality Independent
Knowledge Empathetic
Helpfulness Kind
Working Hard Compassionate
Self-Reliance Anxious
Open-Mindedness Practical
Stable Personal Relationships Ambitious
Having Fun Creative


Issues Becoming More Important Today:

  • Addressing racism, discrimination, inequality (78%)
  • Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic (77%)
  • Social justice, protests (74%)
  • Community policing, police violence (74%)
  • Better access to mental health services (71%)
  • Healthcare reform (71%)
  • Access to employment opportunities (71%)
  • Misinformation in the media, social media (70%)
  • Election security (69%)
  • Homelessness, poverty (69%)


Who Do They Want Support From?

  • Parents, family (37%)
  • Friends (34%)
  • Federal government (32%)
  • Large companies, brands (21%)
  • CEOs, presidents of companies (20%)
  • Community, neighbors (19%)
  • Media and entertainment industry, celebrities (18%)

“Generation Disrupted findings are a wake-up call for companies and brands and leaders. These young Americans see today’s challenges, understand them, and expect others to join them in creating the change they want for our world,” said Therese Caruso, Zeno Group Managing Director of Global Strategy and Planning.

“The brands and leaders who fail to appreciate how different Generation Disrupted is will struggle moving forward because of this generation’s unprecedented influence.”

Generation Disrupted wants brands to have a larger purpose, add real value to their lives, help them to succeed, and find solutions to today’s challenges and real problems. The 2020 Zeno Strength of Purpose study found that consumers are four to six times more likely to buy from and trust companies that have a strong purpose.

Companies that prioritize understanding their audience and identifying what motivates them and what drives their behaviors creates an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Today, there are more choices for consumers than ever before. Having a voice that speaks to this generation will set you apart from the competition.

Marketing to different generations requires thoughtful planning and research ꟷ that’s where we come in.


Ideabar exists to change minds and move markets for brands we believe in. It’s who we are and what we do. Our parent company Cox Enterprises is a values-driven corporation with a commitment to its employees, its customers, and improving the quality of life in the community.

It’s our company’s purpose and inspires how we shape our tomorrow for the next generation.

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Every organization has a powerful story to tell – one that impacts the bottom line. Come to Ideabar. Own your story.