Kristen Soltis Anderson GAC

Tips for understanding millennials

Young adults aren't 'as strange and alien' as some believe, Kristen Soltis Anderson tells GAC attendees.

February 27, 2018

Millennials might have different beliefs than other generations, but their life circumstances often shape those characteristics.

“We’re not as strange or as alien as some of you believe,” says Kristen Soltis Anderson, who authored the book, “The Selfie Vote” and spoke at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference on Tuesday afternoon.

To understand millennials and how to connect with them, Soltis Anderson reminded the audience that young adults:

►Don’t like labels. Millennials often choose to stream their music online or purchase a single song instead of buying an entire album. That same philosophy applies to their political parties. “They don’t feel the need to sign up for labels with 'baggage' attached to them,” she says. “So, be careful with labels and assumptions.”

►Saw the impact of the financial crisis. Millennials grew up in a world where they were told to “do the responsible thing,” such as go to college and buy a house. But seeing their world collapse during the financial crisis made them more risk-averse and slow to commit. Millennials want to trust the situation before they make a commitment.

►Expect speed, transparency, and accountability. Online shopping allows millennials the opportunity to read reviews, compare products, track the shipment, and give feedback. That’s why they want speed, transparency, and accountability in their everyday—and professional—lives, and why they expect that others will value their opinions.


Kristen Soltis Anderson on CUNA News Podcast


►Are driven by values. Two key “moral taste buds” influence millennials: Care and fairness. They want to know whether someone is addressing a situation, if their approach is fair and just, and whether someone is being hurt. Those values mesh well with the credit union philosophy.

►Want authenticity. Being authentic to the millennial generation isn’t about being young, cool, and hip. “Be who you are. Be authentic. Embrace the brand you have,” she says.

►Read more conference coverage from CUNA News, and get live updates on Twitter via @CUNANews@cumagazine@CUNA, and by using the #CUNAGAC hashtag. You can also follow the conference on Facebook and Instagram. For a complete schedule and information on keynote speakers and breakout sessions, visit the CUNA GAC event page.