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Tell Me a Story: Connecting with Millennials in a Digital World

A rising generation primed to change the world as we know it, millennials command the attention of businesses worldwide. They are an attractive demographic, defined by compelling characteristics that shape their lifestyle and communication preferences, in both content and channels. 

We Care

More than previous generations, millennials focus on the needs of society versus the needs of individuals. USA Today wrote “People born between 1980 and 2000 are the most civic-minded generation since the 1930s and 1940s.” Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial Survey revealed that millennials believe government have the greatest potential to address society’s biggest issues but almost half feel governments have a negative impact on key challenges.

Often called conscious capitalists, this generation values corporate social responsibility and applauds businesses that serve the interests of all stakeholders beyond customers and employees. Their broad view includes communities, the environment and equality. More than 81 percent expect business to act for the greater good.

In the broadest definition, a socially conscious mindset is one of the defining characteristics of millennials. Their connection to the world makes them citizens of the world. Coupled with this mindset, they respect and value diversity and are outraged by social injustice. They’re bent on making the world a better place.

We Don’t Do Cubicles Well

Budding entrepreneurs that disrupt traditional industries are everywhere in this generation. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a role model for millennials, and many have built successful businesses out of the ruins of recession. In 2008, Brian Chesky co-founded Airbnb. Daniel Ek founded Spotify, Matthew Mullenweg built WordPress, and Blake Ross created the web browser Firefox. These famous names and successful companies are just the tip of the iceberg. Business Insider says “Millennials are on track to become the most entrepreneurial generation ever.”

Worldwide, millennials have launched almost twice as many businesses as boomers and they tune in to the benefits of going it on your own earlier than boomers did. Boomers launched their first businesses at roughly 35 years old while millennials are launching theirs around the age of 27. In a recent survey, only 13 percent of respondent said they aspire to be the CEO, while a whopping (67%) of said their goal involves starting their own business.

Other Things That Make Us Tick

Millennials are liberal-minded, pragmatic idealists, compassionate, confident, diverse, team players, practical and results-oriented. This generation doesn’t lay back and accept the way things are if improvements are needed. They challenge the status quo, call for change and put their wit behind it.

Let’s Talk Communication

You might expect that millennials want nothing more than bite-sized pieces of information, however there is growing evidence that millennials want to hear the stories that shape the world.

A recent Nielsen survey labelled millennials the “We, More and Now” generation. The survey pointed out that millennials love authenticity and 80 percent appreciate brand storytelling with transparency and involvement. Not so fast! Exactly what does that mean to employee communication?

Inside the workplace where millennials are quickly becoming the dominant group, storytelling is a powerful communication tool. Reaching the millennial workforce does not mean corporate speak. Provide enough details to give stories life, but cut the fluff. Make sure not to oversimplify because this audience will immediately identify it as dumbing down and take offense. Use clear language, make stories interesting and engage the audience in the storyline.

Millennials are a diverse generation and they want to see themselves in stories, so make sure you approach your communication through their eyes and not yours.

We invite you to view a great story “Google Search: Reunion” that captures the heart of millennial storytelling.

Now Let’s Talk Digital Technology

After all, digital technology is core to the millennial lifestyle. The Pew Research Center labeled millennials as “Digital natives in a land of digital immigrants.” It’s no surprise mobile technology is important to members of this age group, however mobile is not only for social use. Millennials use their devices for research and education. To say they are connected is an understatement.

Increasingly millennials are connected in the workplace and they connect the stories of the company with the rest of the world. The result? Companies are investing in employee apps that enable advocacy and give all their employees the opportunity to be part of the brand story.
There is one employee app that stands above all the rest. It’s called Sparrow. Sparrow’s power to connect people and stories is formidable. Better yet, Sparrow provides data that informs strategic planning and decision making. Quite simply, it is an app that people love to use.