Chris has been conducting research into the nature of consumers for over 20 years in both corporate and consulting roles. He has a well-developed understanding of marketing, communications and business issues and is an expert in analytic methods to support managerial decision making in these areas.
At Telstra, Chris was Director of Customer Insights and Analytics. Before starting Nature in 2006, he was a Partner at Blue Moon Research & Planning, where he developed and managed their Melbourne office for 4 years. He was a Director at TNS, where he initiated and developed their Advanced Methods Group, and ran their Finance and Business Services team in Melbourne. Chris began his career with Advanis Inc., a Canadian choice modelling firm, under the guidance of pioneers in the field.
Chris has a PhD from ANU in quantitative social science, and has held fellowships at the University of Wisconsin and Utrecht University, The Netherlands. He has published an academic book and several articles in refereed journals, and has presented at conferences in Cape Town, Vermont, Stockholm.
Millennials are receiving a lot of attention in the business and marketing community given their prospective status as the economy’s key driving force in upcoming years. Their distinctiveness as a generation and the consequences of this for business has been described as everything from revolutionary, to overstated and negligible, and everything in between.
To form an objective point of view on the topic, Nature and The Lab have undertaken forward-looking cultural insight and quantitative research to better understand Millennials. Not surprisingly, we have found clear evidence that Millennials differ from their parents’ generations – their behaviour and values are distinctive, noticeable in the way they interact online and with brands. Importantly, they are likely to remain different from their parents (debunking the myth that they will ‘grow up’), because their attitudes towards key life issues – career, housing and lifestyle, are fundamentally different by virtue of the cultural context in which they have developed.
Our research builds on previous views of this generation, by showing via a segmentation that not all Millennials are the same. Four distinct groups within the cohort exist, and this has big implications for marketers, brand owners, and those seeking to align propositions and communication with this generation. Two of the segments align somewhat with the ‘archetypal’ Millennial persona we have all read so much about in the news (albeit there are clear differences between these groups).
However the other two groups (nearly half of the cohort) actually demonstrate values more aligned with Gen X than the ‘archetypal’ Millennial. What this means is that the much of what has been published and discussed about Millennials is potentially misleading. This group cannot be thought of and treated as ‘one’. It’s a diverse group, meaning no single ‘one size fits all’ approach will work. It’s critical to identify which camp a Millennials falls in to truly understand how to engage them.