Video Essentials

Transformists Are the Goal, Says Digitas; Look Beyond Millennials

The video marketing world is in the middle of NewFront Week, when major publishers hold pricey presentations to attract brand support. Attendees can count on two things from any newfront: One, the publisher will highlight that its content is brand safe, and two, the publisher will talk about how young its average viewer is—probably mentioning millennials. But simply attracting young consumers shouldn’t be the end goal, says Digitas. Instead, aim for transformists.


Jenifer Berman, senior vice president for marketing at Insider Inc, sharing data on transformists.

“Transformist” is a new consumer category put forward by marketing agency Digitas, and it means those who are digitally-savvy, curious, and connected. Transformists are the most powerful influencers around, and the category cuts across demographics.

Transformists love new experiences and live by their values. They have high expectations for the people and brands in their lives. They’re loyal and excellent brand advocates, and Digitas thinks brands need to learn how to speak to them.

To determine what a transformist looks like, Digitas and Insider Inc. ran a survey of 1,600 U.S. adults age 18 to 54. Just 24 percent of the total population are transformists, and one-third of millennials are. Transformists aren’t defined by age or education, but by experiences and values: They’re twice as likely to act on content by sharing it, using it for decision-making, or bringing it into their everyday lives.

Other transformist traits: They get information from twice as many sources as their peers; they’re 62 percent more likely to get info from apps and 33 percent more likely to get info from social media; and they’re especially active on social media.

There’s one thing almost all transformists have in common: 97 percent enjoy trying new things and having new experiences (81 percent of the general population says the same). They go off the beaten path and are adventurous eaters.

When it comes to brands, 95 percent of transformists expect companies to be ethical, 61 percent are more likely to buy products that support causes they care about, and 90 percent stay with brands they like.

While brands often target the young, Digitas says they should look for these transformists, instead. It’s their go-getter mindset that defines them; not their age. To appeal to them, brands should be clear about their values. While this group doesn’t need every product politicized, they want brands to speak authentically about what they care about and how they’re trying to make a difference.

“Transformists live by their values and are driven by high expectations—both for themselves and for the people and brands around them,” says Jonathan Tatlow, executive vice president and head of strategy for Digitas. “Brands that understand and connect with these transformists can benefit from their loyalty—and turn them into powerful advocates.”

Digitas broke news of its survey at its own newfront presentation, where it looked at how brands can lead with their values and connect with consumers in deeply politicized, easily offended times.

Check back with and for additional NewFront Week updates.


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