Channel 4 and Starcom have published the results of “pioneering” research into the needs of young people.

Working alongside research and strategy agency, Crowd DNA, they believe the Young Hearts and Minds study will have “huge implications” on brand advertising.

The survey asked 1,100 young people between 16 and 24 years of age about their hierarchy of needs. They were asked to identify which emotional needs were the most present and compelling to them – and to quantify how they expressed these.

Overwhelmingly, they felt that security was the most important thing to them, with 90% answering this. 82% of females said that feeling safe and comfortable was particularly important and 83% of all 16-18s agreed.

More than half (55%) answered that security had become more important to them in the past year.

After security came “building good relationships with others. “Significance” i.e. feeling satisfied with who you are, came third, while Novelty and Integrity were the 2 least important needs.

“Channel 4 has maintained relevance with young people for over 34 years. Young Hearts and Minds has revealed a fascinating insight into the needs of young people and will undoubtedly help brands tailor their advertising to this often hard-to-reach demographic,” explained Martin Greenbank, head of advertising research at Channel 4.

“It is often assumed that novelty is most important for this demographic. Catch their eye with something exciting and fun, and you’re away. And yes, this is a central need for young people, but at a turbulent time when young people are transitioning through life stages, they need to feel like they have someone or somewhere to turn to.”

The sample was also asked about brands and whether they provided them with something to believe in. Just 10% agreed with that statement.

9% said that brands helped them build relationships; with 14% agreeing that brands helped them experience something new (Novelty).

“So many assumptions are made about young people, but to really connect with this audience brands have to understand the deep emotional reasons as to why they behave as we do. Security emerges as a key needstate,” added Pippa Glucklich, chief executive of Starcom UK.

“The recent Brexit referendum brings this into sharp focus, where younger people voted overwhelmingly (75%) to stay in Europe – amongst other things, surely a vote for security and stability. The findings from our study in conjunction with Channel 4 demonstrate the cultural shifts amongst young people from generation to generation and help us to define and build compelling experiences to engage with this important audience.”

More details are available at