Today’s best marketers and many startups getting so much traction because of: passion, purpose, stakeholder integration, conscious leadership, authenticity, inspiration and a positive culture, which encourages activism.
Additionally, the best companies also understand that they need to inspire both customers and staff in order to win in the Digital Age. In fact, this will have a major impact on a significant segment of the workforce – the ‘Millennials’.
The Millennials are the largest generation in US history and as they reach their prime working and spending years, their impact on the economy is going to be huge.
Millennials are dedicated to wellness, devote time and money to exercising, eating right and are huge advocates of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Millennials look for inspiring companies and brands that compliment their lifestyles and values. They also desire more flexibility and often have conflicting values with their existing employers. They are dramatically different from all previous generations in the workforce too. Purpose is their ‘guiding star’.
However, Millennials want a constant and dependable world in an ever-changing global digital world.
As Deloitte recently pointed out in the ‘The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016 Report, ‘…two-thirds of Millennials express a desire to leave their organizations by 2020. Businesses must now adjust to how they nurture loyalty among Millennials or risk losing a significant percentage of their workforces. Now, that’s an ‘eye popping’ stat for all companies business plans and success!
The best companies in Silicon Valley or New York specifically choose to actively be caring corporate citizens and become more socially responsible than the more ‘traditional and older’ peers. Having purpose is on the top of their agenda, not money or profits.
Today’s best practice is about: focusing on employee engagement, not worrying so much about the current competition (who are focused on profit only), becoming more customer focused while enhancing customers loyalty. Once they combine these elements, innovation flows.
Some of the leaders developing programs based around ‘Purpose’ include: Microsoft, Wal-Mart, P&G, McDonald’s, Newell Rubbermaid, Southwest Airlines, UPS, and Tata to Costco, Panera, Google, the Container Store, Amazon. UPS, and Tata to Costco, Panera, Ben & Jerry’s, Starbucks and others.
- Millennials are #VC and ventured backed tech consumers. Just look at the investment in outstanding startups like: Airbnb, Stripe, Mixpanel, Dropbox, Pinterest, Instagram, Zenefits, WhatsApp and others. Additionally, research shows that conservatively over 70% of Millennials aspire to launch their own startups AND, they do not want to join big established banks, Wall Street, global marketing companies or old school Fortune 500 companies, like their parents did.
- Millennials are MOBILE First. Let’s highlight a few key points:
- 90% admit that their smartphone never leaves their side, night or day.
- 80% + are active on social networks
- 80% spend more than 2+ hours a day on their smartphones.
- Over 70% search for reviews from their friends and peers for recommendations before walking into a restaurant.
- Millennials are VC and venture-backed tech consumers
Millennials, more than any other generation before them; they prefer and want a company or brand whose offering and purpose closely mirror their own unique and distinct values.
Importantly, as they reach peak spending age, their dollars and investments will fuel new lifestyles and markets globally.
Some keywords that can be used to categorize Millennials are: Activism, on-demand, authenticity, customization, global, culture, convenience and efficiency. AND, companies and brands that understand the importance of these characteristics are: Warby Parker, Esty, Instacart, Kickstarter, Atlassian and JET to name a few.
Imagine a world where people wake up every day inspired to go to work, feel safe while they are there, and return home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled by the work they do, feeling that they have contributed to something greater than themselves.
Many of the best VC’s and tech companies, in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley have already developed advanced strategies to engage and attract Millennial entrepreneurs and founders. E.g. Hackfests, Techfairs, etc.
Again, as I have written in earlier articles and blogs, Millennial’s were born between 1980 and 2004, and grew up with the Internet and mobiles (and are highly active on social media too). They also have grown up in a time with soaring educational and student debt, tumultuous political times, global terrorist threats, civil unrest and parents struggling with lower than expected pay growth.
Many VCs in California and New York have also shifted their marketing efforts into social media, blogging and podcasts to extend their reach to younger, more entrepreneurial audiences. In fact, some VCs, especially in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, have hired Millennials or built ‘Intern Programs’, to serve as their eyes and ears on college campuses in order to learn what’s hot and trending! I personally think Fortune 500’s and more ‘traditional’ companies are missing the boat on this front.
Having run many businesses and startups with Millennials, here are some leaderships tips I have found useful:
- Use emotions more frequently while being authentic – get excited about success; express appreciation and be grateful and humble.
- Reach out to staff, partners, stakeholders and customers while initiating conversations and interactions.
- Set aggressive targets BUT, while involving your team from the start.
- Create a vivid picture of the organization today and then three years in advance – get each person to identify how this affects their job and how they can make an impact.
- Practice lavish communication – and always get and give feedback.
- Create positive consequences for those who have a personal development plan in place and for pursuing it.
- Schedule regular mentoring and coaching sessions with your team.
- Immediately identify and resolve conflicts within your team.
- Set expectations for innovation and customer experience from the team.
- Shower positive attention on new ideas.
- Be ‘the positive’ example and lead from the front.
- Build a culture of hope, positivity and purpose!
Stay passionate; capitalize on this connected group and play to win!
I hope this article inspires you and helps you define your company’s purpose and lets you think more deeply about your core values and purpose in the coming months. Importantly, if you want to have success in attracting the best and brightest Millennials – this is a MUST.
I wish you continued success with your journey to become a high performance, purpose-driven company, brand or organization.
Make your difference!
More about Geoff De Weaver:
Hailing from New York; Geoff De Weaver is a global digital pioneer, globally experienced entrepreneur and marketer, transformation expert, author, keynote speaker and CEO.
Feel free to get in touch with Geoff for further information:
- Personal Website: http://geoffdeweaver.com/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/geoffdeweaver
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/geoff_deweaver
- Touchpoint Entertainment Website: http://touchpoint.best/