In the context of the America@250 research initiative by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, Daniel Mahler gives a twist to Sigmund Freud's forever unresolved question...“The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?'” Modern marketers, writes Mahler, often express similar bafflement over Millennial consumers, the 18-34 year olds now moving into their prime spending years. Steve Easterbrook, Global Chief Brand Officer for McDonalds, shares his consternation: “They're promiscuous in their brand loyalty. It makes it harder work for all of us." One thing seems clear, however: the key is sustainability.
Still cloudy, however, is sustainability for whom, precisely? Corporate social responsiblity is simply their baseline, and few Millennials in their survey, writes Mahler, said they consider social responsibility most important when making purchase decisions. What they want is the “inherent sustainability” of the product (i.e., products that directly help them live sustainable lives). Indeed, more than three-fourths of Millennial survey respondents who said that the inherent sustainability of products is most important also said they would pay more for products that meet this particular expectation. Mahler concludes: "So, to all those companies feverishly seeking to win brand loyalty from Millennials, we say: Why not give them what they want?"