Investing In The Future
2011 was a profitable year for brands.
In the beginning of the year, many of their approaches to connecting with Millennials were similar to the way some American tourists go to foreign countries and speak English to the locals, not understanding why they cannot communicate. However, as the year moved forward, so did their knowledge about Millennials.
At some point between the birth of “The Hangover Part II” and Google +, brands uncovered the sacred Rosetta Stone to our Millennial language and began to not only translate, but connect with us in our own language. They recognized all of the new technologies and platforms for establishing connections with Millennials, and began to get their feet wet in the SEE (as in did you see this and/or did you see that) of opportunities.
2012 has the potential to make brands even wealthier.
If brands take the right steps, they will achieve great wealth in the coming year; wealth as Millennials perceive it, a richness beyond tangible items and wallet size that results in relationships and experiences. Now that brands have seen what is possible, they must switch from being passive to being active participants and actually invest in the new connections they made…with Millennials.
This is important now because Millennials will have an impact on your top and bottom lines. Millennials:
- are the ones buying your goods and services and “will shortly become one of the largest in terms of spending power in the United States.”
- will become people you must connect with as a brand and newcomers possibly on your brand team. Millennials will become the largest workforce generation, and are on track to comprise about 50% of the 2014 workforce.
- are entrepreneurs and will become your competition in the office and in the world if you do not learn how to work with them. 54% of the nation's Millennials either want to start a business or already have started one.
Some musings for brands on obtaining said wealth through investment:
- Have a winning cocktail of old and new. Millennials are not just into all the bright and shiny new toys. Those are cool, but traditional media is still useful, reliable and popular. Just like your favorite mixed drink, what makes or thwarts success is how the ingredients are used together.
- Make sure all the breadcrumbs lead back to the house. And ensure the path is easy to follow and easy to find; if there are no secret clues, the information should not feel like it’s a secret. The content pushed out along the way is also important. Distracting one from getting to the house with interesting but irrelevant content is bad (e.g., people who used to live along the path). Adding to the experience that leads back to the house is good (e.g., a sword to up safety along the way).
- Get ready for more action. One way for brands to become more active and invest in connections is to help Millennials be more active too. Millennials, whether on your brand team or a fan of your brand, like to do stuff. This includes learning, sharing, seeking, creating etc. And, it is important to recognize this action can and does take place at any time, in any place.
Good luck investing in 2012!