Cassandra Report Digest: Gen Zs Aren’t Afraid of Failure

Research and insights from the latest Cassandra Report

12 May 2015

Growing up, Gen Ys weren’t allowed to fail; their parents, teachers, and coaches gave them praise and trophies for every attempt they made, regardless of how successful they actually were. Gen Zs, however, are being raised to own and embrace their failures. As addressed in The Cassandra Report: Gen Z, they don’t see failure as a sign of defeat, but rather, as an opportunity to learn, reset, and try again.

041215-1Domino’s’ “Failure is an Option”: More than half of Zs, including 71% of teens, expect to have a few failures in life before they succeed. They even consider failing a badge of honor since it shows they took a risk. As realists, they know they won’t sail through life without making mistakes, but instead of giving up, they view failure as a chance for reinvention. Domino’s reflects this attitude in its “Failure is an Option” campaign, which celebrates missteps. The company acknowledges some of its failed concepts and admits that if it hadn’t messed up, it wouldn’t have learned and gone on to create some of its best products.

041215-2LEGO’s “Inspire Imagination and #KeepBuilding”: Zs are growing up during a time when culture is embracing failure. “Fail fast” has become the mantra for startups to gain lessons, prompting Zs to realize that mishaps are only natural in business. #Fail videos have become an entertainment genre as consumers find others’ flops humanizing. Given how often they’re exposed to failure, it’s fitting that more than a third of Zs believe getting something “wrong” isn’t a big deal. LEGO’s “Inspire Imagination and #KeepBuilding” commercial conveys this sentiment, as a young girl declares it’s not wrong when things don’t turn out the way she intended, explaining how she likes to learn through experience.

041215-3Turbo Tax’s “Where’s Janet?”: Zs are highly resilient, a characteristic inherited from their Xer parents, and a byproduct of their unprecedented exposure to the complexities of the world. Taught to be tough, they’re well-prepared to bounce back from failure and to consider it helpful feedback for improvement. In fact, nearly 4 in 10 Zs say they see failure as an opportunity to try again. Turbo Tax’s “Where’s Janet” commercial makes light of all the gaffes that occur throughout the year, showing how they can have a ripple effect right down to people’s annual tax forms. However, the ad also suggests that people shouldn’t feel discouraged.