Many brands are doing a lot of solo run instead of building strong affinity, moving along in their journey with the millennia generation; still focusing, doing stuff which appeals only to the baby boomers. With this approach, many will soon become an object of laughter, shame and bywords or stale proverbs.
The Millennia generation is the generation born between 1982-90. The baby boomers are the earlier generation between 1920s-1950s. Millennia generation is a ‘nano generation’ with instant everything. They are techy -savvy, very restless and ready to try everything. They demand more from life. They can be very individualistic but sometimes very community, family oriented. They love to share, they enjoy story and they want brands to tell their stories. They can be very helpful if the brand has a good story to tell as they can help amplify the brand’s voice. If the brand is bad, they can help spread the word about its rotten wood.
Many brands are still ignoring this vital generation – the Millennial, which will form the bulk of their customers, employees etc. Many are still very confused by traits being demonstrated by the millennia generation; their only conclusion is to let this hyperactive generation be. They would rather flow with the baby boomers whom they are accustomed to than take the initiative of moving with this restless generation. Baby boomers are predictable, they stay on a job for life, avoid risk if it is possible and flow with the tide instead of working out a new path. But this new generation is very different, disruptive in thinking etc.
Millennia generation is not very reserved; they are outspoken, agile as well as troublesome. They can be a whistle blower if pushed to the wall. They view stuff from the ‘me’ angle even though they are willing to support creative ideas which appeal to them. They want to collaborate and want to jointly claim ownership not just a lacker. This age as we know is now in their twenties and thirties now. They are already in the job market, they are now consumers and creators of goods, ideas and in the not too distance future will become the largest population in the world.
This generation cannot be avoided or ignored. That is the simple truth. So how will you know if your brand is millennial compliant? Sometimes it is easier to say you are not affected or you are getting it right meanwhile there are tell tale signs which negate your brand assumption as well as position.
As consumers, the millennia want brands to invest heavily in technology that makes buying easy. That does not mean the use of technology without human face though. The kind of technology the millennia wants is the one that focuses on human and not on the technology per se. Every investment in technology must be viewed from a human point and not from technology as it were. Technology must aid speedy service delivery. The rise of E-commerce is here. Speed is the word with the Millennia. Millennia wants brand socialisation. Beyond the corporate brand, they want products, services, units to be socialised. They crave relationship like nothing else. They want to relate with the product, corporate brand through different communication platforms that are available under the sun. If your brand cannot socialise or will not make an attempt, a problem is lurking around the corner.
Millennia are creative innovators. They keep looking for the best new way to do stuff. They hate monotony. They want to create fun through everything and every process. They want your product to keep bringing attractive innovation through aesthetic, configuration, design among other. In fact their language is change. Your thinking cap must be on and updated. It is that simple.
As consumers, they want value added or else they look for other options. They like reviews and sometimes listen to peers when making choices. This shows that your brand’s voice is no longer enough to convince this generation to be on your side. You need to build a community of advocates which will help reach them.
As employees, they love to add meaning. They want to be seen as significant to the scheme of things and not just a number. A case where the leader takes all the glory and apportions blame will not be a great place to work. Work needs to include fun. Bureaucracy is a poison to this generation. They do not want to wait for a long awaited order before they can take initiative. They are gradually querying the ‘space of work’.
They want to be able to work from everywhere they are if that is possible not just sitting in the confines of a traditional office. If your brand can create this environment you may be on your way to the top. The note of caution here is that there must be a sense of monitoring and evaluations which can prove goals are being achieved on the go.
The millennia as employees may also question your top to bottom management style. Millennia are very disruptive when it comes to systems and process management. Unlike the baby boomer, they want access to authority. Not afraid to speak or seek audience with the Managing Director if need be. Millennia hates invisible CEOs. In the days of baby boom boomers, CEOs were like demi gods who should be heard and not be seen.
Baby boomers believe the CEO has earned his/her right to personal exclusivity. Having worked hard through the process to become the Group CEO, a millennial may want to feel the pulse of the CEO. This doesn’t mean they are rude but like we noted earlier, they are outspoken, and expressive. Can your brand CEO be available? Millennia as employee cherish leadership and processes that are open, transparent with nothing to hide. Secrecy is not a cherished word with them. They want constant communication and feedback on the progress and things that needed to be done.
This also shows in their learning and development process. Many want to learn new things and take new opportunities as they make progress. This may be a hasty generalisation but research shows many millennial are ahead of other generation in this regard. In communication, meeting management, Millennia do not like stereotypes. They desire and crave innovation. They want to be able to annex different platforms that make things easy.
They are at home with different communication platforms which reduce the effect of distance to zero. If all your meetings have to be physical or all communication process had to be hard copies or done in a particular physical location in this age you may be wasting millennia’s time. As soon as they see other brands which align with their values they are on their way out. On recruitment process, Millennia are looking at different options: e-recruitment, e – interview and selection process among many others. Is your brand millennia compliant? Meanwhile, generation Z is already here. Generation Z are much more disruptive than millennia. So brace up.
#Yinka Olaito is a communication specialist with 18 years in PR, brand, digital, media & development communication. He shares his thoughts at yinkaolaito.com