While it is easy to overgeneralize what Millennials want, mobile, entrepreneurial-minded young leaders are often misunderstood by the older generations attempting to reach them. It is crucial to distinguish what Millennials are actually spending their money on before trying to identify how to engage them authentically. Based on recent studies, 78% of Millennials are more inclined to become part of a brand if they have face-to-face interaction with it. This is why building physical experiences are so important. It is also integral that you involve some sort of impact strategy that is authentic to your brand. There are two reasons behind this: 1) all companies should have an authentic connection to making the world better and 2) when companies support social issues, 91% Millennials respond with increased trust, 89% with increased loyalty and 91% are more likely to purchase your brands products. The goal is for companies to leverage online and offline experiences to build networks that enable people to interact with each other in more "connected" way.
Here are four ways that a company can engage Millennials to not only listen to what a brand is saying, but feel empowered to participate in building the future of a brand's story.
1) Be authentic. Millennials see right through false attempts to 'relate'. Make sure that when you share your messaging around impact, it is integral to your brand's core values. If you have a strategy that you want to engage Millennials around, get ready to have holes poked in it, as Millennials want to know that you do what you say, and that you have clear intention to make the world better. Here is an example of what happens when Millennials feel that what you are doing is not in line with the world in an impactful way.
2) Invite the right people, not just as many as possible. Bring the right people into the conversation. When you give ambassadors that are already passionate about your brand a chance to share how much they love it, you are providing a microphone to your most engaged followers to share on behalf of you. There is nothing Millennials hate more than brands selfishly pushing their message or product, and it's much more authentic when you let those who love your brand share with the world why.
3) Create a safe place to share. Engagement is not about having the same ideas, missions and values, but rather creating a safe space to share different ideas, missions, and values. Because Millennials have been raised around different opinions and ideals, it is important for them to have a space where they feel like they can share without judgment. If there are people who are "disengaged" or frustrated about something you are doing as a brand, respond and give them a space to feel like they are heard. Create opportunities that let people share personal stories of how your brand has affected them, humanize the experience so others can relate even if they don't necessarily agree with everything you are doing.
4) Provide valuable content. Are you offering them information that inspires them? Makes them laugh? Moves them? Makes them better? Are you starting a conversation or treating them like customers? The more you create an opportunity for Millennials to feel like they are receiving knowledge and growth, the more they will want to participate. If you talk down to a group of Millennials, get ready for a lot of backlash. Make sure that whatever you do, you do it with a level of humility as well as integrity so that Millennials know that they can leave feeling inspired, ignited and connected to themselves and the world.