The past three generations of men have led very different lives. Our grandfathers grew up believing that the man should provide for his family and his feelings should be kept to himself. Our fathers lived in an era where Mr. Mom was a novelty but not an anomaly and it was okay to cry if the situation warranted it.
So where does that leave the current generations of millennials? According to a new study by Ketchum, somewhere in between the first two.
Ketchum found that young millennials in particular, those 18 to 25, are an interesting blend of modern and old school. They dub this group the New Traditionalists and they’re a hard demographic to reach.
On the soft side, 85% of young millennials are comfortable talking about personal issues with their male friends. 72% said they’d talk about a devastating break-up and 68% said they were comfortable with a male friend getting emotional in front of them. On the consumer side, 50% said they were happy to share advice on hair products, cologne and deodorant. So far, they’re not all rushing to create haul videos or beauty channels, but they’ll spread the good word if they’re impressed with your product.
They’re even increasingly willing to trade advice on things like clothing and shopping, with eight out of ten reporting they’re likely to ask a friend where they got a shirt if it’s a style they like. And that man cave isn’t always filled with only men – nearly half of men (46 percent) say their time spent hanging out is split evenly between males and females.
The study shows that younger millennial males are also more comfortable discussing sex with a male friend and 28% said they’d like to be more open and honest in the future.
That’s all very modern thinking. But at the same time, these younger millennials are more likely than their older counterparts to see themselves as the main provider and protector. 40% vs 33% said it’s important for the man to be the breadwinner in the family.
If you’re trying to reach the young male demographic, the emotional “Hallmark Card” approach could work if you push the right buttons. What’s really important is that you learn to speak their language because these guys can spot a phony a football field away.