Like so many in the U.S and abroad, we at Breakthrough were moved by the mass shooting in Orlando on June 12th.

As the news cycles continue with more details about the shooter, the political response, and the overall public sentiments, including 27 world leaders tweeting about the incident, we decided to take a poll to compare attitudes toward and perceptions of the incident between three generational cohorts:

  • Baby Boomers
  • Generation Xers
  • Millennials

Our sample was random and intentionally small (100 people), but it provided a level of insight that we plan to test further—both for our own knowledge and on behalf of our clients.

Perceptions by Generation

Most characterized the shooting as a hate crime. There was a shift in perceptions after introducing information from the 911 call about the shooter’s pledged allegiance to Allah and the leader of ISIS. However, even with this information, the majority of respondents (with the exception of the Baby Boomers) still classified the shooting as a hate crime.
orlando pulse shooting motivation graph

Baby Boomers were more likely than other generational cohorts to believe that the rights of the LGBT community are already sufficient.

orlando pulse lgbt rights graph

Almost half (48%) of Millennials do not believe there’s anything they can do to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of terrorism. This cohort has grown up in an era where terrorism and mass shootings are part of life—not surprising anymore.

orlando pulse reduce risk graph

We found great receptivity, even among Millennials, to the idea of prevention training to reduce the potential of becoming a victim of a hate crime or terrorism. This could be a way to reach and educate audiences to perform a public service. This could also represent a new offering or the extension of an integrated communications campaign.

orlando pulse edu resources graph

There was a significant difference, by age cohort, in the five preferred resources tested.

How Are Brands Reacting?

A number of companies/brands have contributed to the GoFundMe campaign that raised over $5 million for Orlando shooting victims in its first week. Others have demonstrated their support via resources such as airfare. Is there a long term impact for brands that “do good?”

To learn more about what we found—including how interest in five specific educational resources varied by age cohort—please contact us. Join in the dialogue about events that impact our culture.

About Us

Breakthrough Marketing Technology is a business and strategic marketing consultancy serving clients looking to innovate and grow. We work across business sectors, leveraging a common set of unique tools, analytics, and processes to generate actionable insights, recommendations, and processes to improve business growth. Our onsite diagnostic gets to the bottom of the barriers stalling business growth.


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