CHICAGO: Brands seeking to effectively engage millennials may benefit from reconsidering several widespread "myths" about this audience, according to an executive from research firm IRI.

Donna Wydra, principal/consumer and shopper marketing at the company, discussed this subject at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Shopper Insights Forum in Chicago.

"We wanted to take a look at some of the myths that give millennials a bad name," she said. (For more, including further data regarding this group, read Warc's exclusive report: IRI debunks five millennials myths.)

"We're trying to move past this generalisation that, 'It's all about me', 'Generation I don't really feel like working today', 'I'll just live in my parents' basement for ever'.

"It's not necessarily like that ... They are more than just what you hear in the media."

To take one example, Wydra suggested the frequently heard accusation that millennials represent the "most self-absorbed generation" ever is seemingly lent support by selfie sticks and social media.

But IRI's data shows that 68% of this group equate success with working for a cause they believe in – versus 58% for boomers and 56% for Generation X.

A further 58% of millennials agree that contributing to the community is an indicator of success, while 39% make financial donations to good causes and 25% regularly volunteer.

"So, no, they are not just self-absorbed. And maybe they are not at all. They are actually reaching out and doing a lot for the world. So I would say that myth is, probably, mostly dispelled," said Wydra.

Another common misconception concerning this cohort is that they are not brand loyal. IRI, though, discovered that 44% display fealty to their favoured products – totals hitting 45% for boomers and 41% for Generation X.

"Frankly, they are as brand loyal as any other generation," she Wydra. "What really is different is what they expect from a brand."

More specifically, their choices are generally not shaped by which offerings their parents bought, but based on a careful consideration of the price/value equation.

Data sourced from Warc