As the generation that grew up in the digital area, one with global connectivity and social media, Millennials are revolutionizing the ways that consumers and businesses interact with each other.
For most people, the word “Millennial” elicits instant reactions – mystery, frustration or admiration. There is no neutral reaction to the Millennials. As a generation, they are not sitting idle, but rather at a rapid pace they are changing the way we do business, requiring new ways to communicate with them.
Inevitably, every youth generation pushes the boundaries of previous generations, but the Millennials are not the same youth as seen before. They mark a new era of thinking, interacting and existing. The Millennials, who are roughly 18-30 years old, grew up in a digital era, one with global connectivity and social media. As a result, they are highly connected, technologically advanced and globally conscious, and, according to Deloitte, they will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, making them the future leisure, business and family travelers.
What is modern brand loyalty when you live in a 24/7 connected state? Word moves fast across social media and the companies that are engaging are benefiting from the PR. Marriott Hotels recently launched a portal for feedback for innovation aimed at Millennials wordwide. This is a great tool to include this vocal and engaged community in a conversation around product development with the goal of ultimately creating brand loyalty.
Equally so, this loyalty can easily be damaged and Millennials are not afraid to tell you instantly what they think. Scared by failing economies and with a distrust of large companies such as banks, Millennials demand an honest, open and authentic conversation. For them, brand loyalty stems from the core values of the organization. This is also why the sharing-economy is blossoming. Companies that incorporate a social connection as part of their product provide a mechanism for trust and validation, easing the consumer’s barriers to buy.
With information at their fingertips and the ability to connect with peers globally, Millennials are holding companies accountable for their service to the world. They demand that they buy from and work for organizations that provide a socially conscious return to their environment, people and communities.
This passion to have global impact is more than a philanthropic or corporate social responsibility strategy, but rather Millennials want this impact to be wrapped in the core of companies’ product and services. In fact, according to the data released at MCON14: The Millennial Impact Conference by the Case Foundation, 55% of Millennials in the US were influenced to take their job after discussing cause work in their interview. In other words, a Millennial would only accept a job with a company that was already involved with social good activities.
Is your product environmentally safe? Who makes your product and what are the conditions that they work in? How does your company raise the level of human existence in these communities? These are just some of the questions raised by Millennials in evaluating organizations and ultimately using them as criteria when deciding to buy.
When traveling and when at home, Millennials are driving innovation to create new projects and services around the globe. They are highly open to new formats in products and services – but the way in which these are consumed, experienced and shared has new rules. Many travel companies have recognized this need and are providing more flexibility, socially supportive business models, technology and apps to support consumers.
This age group calls for targeted products, strong technology, new business models and an authentic way to impact communities worldwide. Ultimately, this provides a massive opportunity for those who can embrace innovation and be open to catalyzing their own product to meet the needs of this generation.