Our Consumer Trend Canvas in action: Burson-Marsteller ideate 6 African Youth Trends for 2016


In the summer of 2015, we began conversations with Burson-Marsteller regarding their Africa-specific project, known as ‘the A-Generation Study’. The purpose of this project was to unravel 6 emerging trends related to the African youth today.

Being clients of our Premium Service, Burson-Marsteller’s head of their Future Perspective Trend Analysis Group – Elaine Cameron– has long forged a collaborative relationship with analysts at TrendWatching, applying our insights, tools and frameworks to inform a variety of trend-related projects, such as the Indian Youth Study in 2015.

After being presented with the challenge, together we began brainstorming and unpacking potential region-specific trends using the Consumer Trends Canvas. This guidance provided a methodology for Burson-Marsteller teams across the continent to conceive new trends affecting their markets.

From these sessions, the 6 key trends for 2016 - reflecting the new attitudes and changing priorities of African youth - can be seen below:

1. AFRINEWAL: Youthful desire to throw off the past and proudly celebrate African achievement

There is a spirit of renewal in Africa where the possibilities and potential of this new ‘frontier’ outweigh the realities of hardship and struggle.  The younger generations are proudly African, showcasing the best their continent has to offer. They are self-motivated, self-reliant and bold in wanting to make this happen. And they see it as a collaborative effort where people work together and combine efforts to achieve new recognition for Africa, both at home and on the world stage.

2. A-TEAMERS: Rising young stars strive to get ahead, but without leaving others behind

In a world of ‘more’ in Africa (more consumerism; more education; more access and connection through technology; more voices able to be heard), there is a hunger to have and own more. But alongside this aspiration for wealth creation, and the dream of improved well-being and quality of life, there are also social concerns and deep-rooted human connections – above all, a feeling that if you are a high-achieving A-Teamer you should also be raising the rest of your team up behind you.

3. TALENT TAPPERS: Aspirational youth thrive by tapping into a new entrepreneurial ecosystem

Against a canvas of aspirations, an ‘I want’ attitude, a need to prosper and a need for independence, young Africans are relying less on conventional employment opportunities and adopting a more entrepreneurial mind-set to secure their own futures. They are turning away from traditional support systems (families and governments) to rely more on their own abilities. By tapping into the talent and expertise of others in inspiring innovation, providing funding and mentorship they are projecting their own stamp on how they want to succeed.

4. DATASIZEME: Expectation that personal data will be used to enhance brand interactions

A spin-off of greater consumerism across Africa is the growing spirit of ownership that the younger generations are adopting as participants in improving their brand experiences.  ‘I matter’ is the message youth are communicating to brands. In the newly-connected Africa, sharing real time information, opinions and insights has become easy for them. This has fuelled expectations that they will be listened to as individuals and that targeted, tailored offerings will personalise and enhance their brand experiences.

5. PARTICIPLAYERS: Enthusiastic participants in fun, interactive and rewarding activities

Young Africans see themselves not as passive bystanders, but as engaged players in a process, looking for highly interactive brand experiences. In common with youth worldwide, they have limited attention spans and look to engage emotionally in unique and unusual ways. They are looking to build relationships with brands that surprise and delight them, but also create talk-ability, giving them a shared platform to get together and have fun. And they want to be thanked for their participation – placing high value on recognition and reward.

6. MOVEMENT MAKERS: Young Africans demonstrate an emerging spirit of activism

During difficult social and economic times, new questions are being asked about what it means to be African and what is relevant to African youth. The status quo is being challenged with heightened social and economic debate. Even if not overtly activist, young consumers are certainly more actively interrogating and debating a wide variety of issues. They are demanding authenticity, transparency and accountability from their chosen brands and role models.

6 African Youth Trends, using the Consumer Trend Canvas

The A-Generation Study is an interpretation of the young minds that participated in Burson-Marsteller Africa’s workshops in South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Mauritius and does not hint at any company/individual personally.