The Millennials are the fastest-growing demographic in both the workplace and marketplace. Globally, they are the emerging adult population that is gradually exerting more influence due to their sheer numbers, expected longevity and hyper-connectivity.
Talking on the “The Role of Millennials and their Impact on Brand Reputation” Pascal Beucler, Global CSO, MSLGROUP was very clear. They are different, socially conscious, tech savvy and the first generation to have access to the social media. They are experimental in many ways. They are entrepreneurial, confident and progressive in many aspects of life.
The Millennials are – confident, connected and open to change. They are definitely purpose-driven, and want to be absolutely sure about what to stand up for. They are influential, “skyrocketing”… it just doesn’t stop!
Let’s keep in mind that Millennials have aspiring power; they are a highly influential force. They are the largest, most diverse generation in the world; more than half the world’s population is under the age of 30. They boast of more spending power than any other generation. Plus, the combined global spending power of Millennials in 2015 was $2.45 trillion. They will influence the workforce in the future and Millennials are expected to make up 50% of the global workforce by 2020.
This is crucial in these times of a “war for talent”! And, this war is happening right here, right now, he says!
“We saw it two years ago with our ‘Millennials & Business Citizenship’ worldwide survey. In October and November 2015, we engaged with a community of 270 Millennials, ahead of the COP21 in Paris, to understand their views on climate change,” explained Beucler. Yes, Millennials expect more from business, particularly on climate change; they show strong emotions about climate change. “This was based on the 3-month long conversation we’ve had with that community of 270 Millennials on Instagram and Twitter in the fall of 2015: with the words, images, videos they shared to express their hopes … but mostly their fears, frustration and anger.” They are – Sad, Powerless, Frustrated, Scared and Hopeful; “Hopeful is the magic of this generation, as they are willing to find solutions!
Millennials think it is possible to mitigate the effects of climate change. They want businesses to play a significant role. “If you’re not where Millennials expect you to be, you’re nowhere,” he spelt out.
Touching on the new boundaries of Reputation Management, he pointed out that Corporate & Brand Reputation is under pressure. Here several questions came up, like: What’s the link between Business and Reputation? How should we address Reputational issues vs. all stakeholders? Why and how is the digital revolution changing the game? Why is Business Citizenship necessary for Reputation Management? What’s the value of Corporate Reputation?
“Reputation is a shield for each and every aspect of a corporation/brand ecosystem” was his clear statement. It protects the company’s equity, strengthens consumers’ confidence in the company, nurtures key opinion leaders’ appreciation, helps recruit and retain the best talent, plays a growing role in investors’ eyes and attracts the best partners
The evolved Reputation Complex is mainly about four essential pillars: Purpose, Social Openness, Employer Value Proposition and Corporate Citizenship. Purpose is what you stand for, your raison d’être in the business but also in society at large; Corporate Citizenship is putting your commitment to society and people at the heart of your business strategy, in close resonance with your purpose; Employer Value Proposition is the value you create for your staff, thus for their clients, for the company and for each of them individually; Social Openness is being active on social media, sharing rich content, creatively engaging with your audiences, and thus making your voice matter.
Over 75% of Millennials say that they’re looking for a company with a clear purpose, and one which delivers on it. Millennials want businesses to be part of the conversation, be vocal, be committed and take a stand on pressing global issues. Millennials strongly impact reputation in their roles as: consumers employees brand advocates.
How do you win in the reputation economy? It’s the doing and not the talking that matters, was his observation. What and how companies actually do in terms of driving change is more meaningful than why they do it; micro initiatives will lead to macro credibility; broad, philosophical promises without tangible results lack credibility with this action-oriented generation.