Millennial branding is more important today than ever before with the growing number of millennials in the workforce.
In this episode of AMP Up Your Digital Marketing, Glenn Gaudet speaks with Douglas Spencer, President of Spencer Brenneman, LLC., a brand strategy consultancy based in Boston. On the show, they discuss the growing number of millennials in the workforce, and how organizations can approach millennial branding. This refers to brands being mindful of millennials in their target market and employee population.
- Why you need to keep millennials in mind more than ever.
- How you should adjust to millennials in your workplace and your target market.
- How millennials prefer to communicate and what that means for you.
Today, there are already more millennials in the workforce than any other generation, but they are about to take the majority of the whole workforce on their own. Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, according to Deloitte.
“That’s not too far away,” Douglas said. “They might not all be decision-makers in terms of buyers, but they will make up a fair amount of the workforce. To pretend like that’s not going to happen, or they’re going to act just like Gen Xers or boomers, that’s just foolish.”
Millennials are those who were born between 1980 and 2000. This is a wide range, but nevertheless, a very unique time to grow up considering the internet boom and growth in technology. This had an impact on the way many millennials work, communicate, and more
Glenn and Douglas are both early Gen Xers. In this episode, Glenn noted that while a large majority of the workforce will soon be made up of millennials in the coming years, that is already the case at his company, GaggleAMP.
Douglas emphasized that the change millennials bring is positive for all of us.
“I am really thankful for what they’re bringing to the world,” he said. “They are helping us evaluate what’s important and what’s not. For the most part, the change that millennials are going to influence is positive for humanity.”
Having said that, all organizations need to adjust for millennial branding and understand what millennials want from brands.
Modifying Branding For Millennials
When it comes to your brand, do you have to make any changes for millennials? Isn’t the whole point of branding to be as consistent as possible?
Douglas defines branding as the relationship you have with those most important to your success.
“Does your brand have to change when millennials start to take up the bulk of your employees or the bulk of your clients? Probably,” Douglas said. “If you want to have a profitable and equally beneficial relationship with these folks, i.e. a brand, then yeah, you’re going to have to figure out how to connect with them.”
The big change you will have to make is how your organization connects with millennial consumers and employees in a way that’s mutually beneficial. You need to know what millennials want from brands and know where your pitfalls are to adjust for millennial branding.
Branding isn’t just about your customers. It’s also about your employees. In order to have a brand your employees want to be part of, you need a strong company culture.
Many millennials tend to be more team-centric and inclusive. They are more open to a diversity of opinions than older generations, who are accustomed to a hierarchy of opinions in the workplace, Douglas said.
“If you weren’t at a certain level, well, then your opinion didn’t really matter,” Douglas said. “Millennials are far more inclusive of other opinions. They don’t listen just to who is saying something. They listen to what is being said.”
In terms of company meetings, this brings a very different dynamic as it introduces more voices, ideas, and perspectives. If all opinions are on the table, then the challenge is boiling them down and making sure the best one arises. This is much different than doing whatever the boss says.
People higher up in the organization need to do a good job of explaining the reasoning for their ideas, rather than expecting people to do what they say, Douglas added.
Even Established Brands Must Adjust to Millennial Branding
It doesn’t matter how long your organization has been around. You could have a brand that’s been well established for 20 years, but you still need to adjust for the next 20 years.
You have to keep in mind your workplace culture, and also external relationships. For example, your sales cycle may take longer since you have to give buyers more time to process a decision and review options. Again, many millennials are more open to all ideas, which leads to better outcomes.
It will be for commonplace for a millennial to be the one signing checks to vendors, Douglas said
“We have to figure out what they need from us to make the best decision,” he said. “How do we talk to people at other organizations? We will have to be able to listen to a lot of different opinions and be able to share them as well.”
Staying Consistent While Adjusting to Millennial Branding
Brands and brand messaging must always be consistent, so how do you adjust to a changing workforce?
“You cannot loosen the brand ever,” Douglas said. “You have to be consistent. However, you do have to think about what it is that makes you different from everyone else and what you do best. That might shift a little bit as your customer expectations shift. How do you communicate with someone? That might shift.”
Many of your customers and prospects want to talk to you on the phone or over email, but in recent years, direct messaging has grown immensely popular. That growth coincides with the growth in millennials in the workforce.
This is why chatbots have gained a great amount of traction. Do your customers and prospects want to talk on the phone or talk via a chatbot? Is the point of contact a millennial? You have to consider the option of chatbots going forward.
If you’re not sure how to adjust, there’s a great way to know what people expect from you, Douglas said.
“Ask,” he said. “If you think you understand what your customers want, double-check and ask. The best thing that could happen is you’ll get your opinion validated.”
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