Australians are currently caught between conformity and courage, suggesting that the bold, ‘can do’ Aussie spirit is more myth than truth, according to new data released by McCann Worldgroup.

The country is one of the most risk averse nations in the world with 77% of Aussies believing it’s better to play within the system to get ahead than to break the rules. Compare that to 67% globally, or 58% in China, and the research shows it’s conservatism as a nation is holding it back.

The country’s ambitious and enterprising Gen Z, however, are driving change. About 78% believe it’s more important to live by your own rules than those set out by others and they’re also far more likely to be continually thinking of ways to get ahead.

McCann Sydney managing director, Hazelle Klonhammer, says this contrast raises questions for marketers and brands, such as “Am I a champion of a more courageous Aussie spirit? Or am I another conformist playing it safe?”

Other discoveries from the study include:

  • The importance of humour as way to deal with the pressures and problems of modern life: 78% of Aussies would rather be regarded as having good sense of humour than being good looking.
  • The vital importance of truth and honesty in times of deceit: 79% of respondents agree it’s important to put the truth before other factors in all situations – that’s up from 52% in 2015.
  • The increasing loneliness we feel in a connected world, with two-thirds of Australians suggesting they feel lonely, despite being surrounded by family and friends.
  • And the uncertainty we experience with the rapid shift in roles and norms: 57% of Australian men are confused about what it means to be a man today.

McCann Australia’s Chief Strategy Officer, Frances Clayton, says the study highlights how Australian culture is no longer shaped by one dimensional trend, but rather by opposing forces.

For example, over half of Australians (Aussies) worry that their country is in a state of conflict. Yet over a third say their biggest deathbed regret will be taking life too seriously and stressing too much over small things

“This research has led us to some confronting truths that challenge our assumptions about Aussie culture. We can all get caught up in our media bubbles, but this data keeps us honest and gives us a more truthful view,” said Clayton.

The study draws on recent local data from McCann’s global proprietary intelligence unit, Truth Central which polled 1,000 Australian respondents.

Sourced from McCann Worldgroup