Know how to think like Millennials with these research findings
June 1, 2010
From Facebook to YouTube or Mozilla to Threadless, Millennials are dominating the social media landscape. But a new study asked what will happen when they start populating the C-suite.
The project, titled “Millennial Inc.” and jointly conducted by Intrepid research consultancy and Mr Youth integrated marketing agency, focused on the question: What will your company look like when Millennials become the executives? Based on some 800 respondents in a six-month study across the United States and the United Kingdom, your company will look different — a lot different.
“In order to succeed, organizations will need to have Millennial values sewn into the fabric of their companies,” said Brandon Evans, managing partner, chief strategy officer at Mr Youth. “They must strive to find new ways to empower this budding generation and unlock employees’ creativity as they advocate change.”
The following are the values today’s twentysomethings will weave into their companies in the future, categorized into “organization,” “product” and “marketing” categories.
- Flattened. Millennials view success as something shared across the organization, and leadership hierarchies will be flatter as a result.
- Stimulated. Because Millennials grew up in a fast-paced, changing world, the “ADD Generation” needs more than fancy 401(k)s or spiffy stock options to keep them motivated at work – they need innovation-driven cultures.
- Customizable. From the customizable Scion to recommended purchases on Amazon.com, Millennials prefer products that are personalized. “We should create products using a model like Threadless [and] have our consumers design what they want,” said Mia, 24, a survey respondent. “That way we’re always producing what our customer base wants.”
- Ecological. While Millennials value being environmentally friendly, only 20 percent of respondents were concerned about the effect their lifestyle has on the environment.
- Quality. Brands like Sony, Apple and Nike are loved by Millennials because of the consistent quality of their products. Respondents ranked quality first when describing desirable brand traits.
- Everyday. Millennials prefer endorsements done by “people just like me” rather than by celebrity-laden sponsorships. Celebrities are more like overpriced mannequins rather than trusted spokespersons, the analysis found, because the typical Millennial doesn’t identify with the average superstar.
- Interactive. The Net Generation loves brands that are peer-to-peer, not one-way. Tomorrow’s communicators will engage their audiences in a similar way they engage their peers today: through interactive social media.
- Personable. Members of Generation Y want humanized brands. As a result, tomorrow’s marketers will push word-of-mouth programs fostered through peer advocacy.
Considerations when hiring Millennials
Based on the results of the survey, here are some important considerations to take when hiring the generation that will one day run your company.
- Hide the corporate ladder. Less than 10 percent of respondents said that they sought new jobs in search of a more senior position. Instead, the No. 1 reason the coming generation cited was because they “just needed a change.”
- Expect long résumés. By the time the average 26-year-old Millennial comes to you looking for a position, he or she has likely held seven other jobs already.
- Forget seniority rules. Millennials don’t always believe that age and experience trump direct interaction and innovation when it comes to choosing leaders. –Philip Volmar