Learn to communicate with millennials

I’ve just started working at Northern Link PR, being one of the millennials, I’m right now the youngest person at the agency, which I don’t mind. I learn a lot from my colleagues and also hope that they can learn something from me. I’m included in the generation millennials – a generation that many people have prejudices about. Millennials is the biggest generation ever and will, according to Forbes, stand for 75% of the whole labour market by the year 2025. We are often accused of being lazy and uncommitted and it’s popular to generalize us. However – now we are here! Very soon the younger generation millennials will also start their job careers and be colleagues with you and me. The positive news is that they will contribute with knowledge and skills that are new for many of the older generations.

The generation millennials usually include those who are born between 1980 and 2000. They have often grown up with parents that constantly told them how special they are, that they can be whatever they want, without ever being told what they need to do in order to get it. So if it’s true that they are lazy and uncommitted, it is usually the result of the environment they grew up in.

Millennials are distinguished in their working life. It’s important for them that their work has an important purpose and that they are able to change things for the better. This is a working situation that an employer can create instantly. Since a typical millennial is impatient, it is not uncommon for him or her to consider to leave their workplace after a short period of time. Millennials are criticized for having unrealistic expectations of what the workplace can offer them. There are often reasons for this criticism, but sometimes it’s a frustration that the employer does not allow them to take full advantage of their potential. Millennials are often good at standing up for themselves and unlike previous generations they can speak for themselves when they consider something to be wrong. For example, millennials might not be suited for working in the office from 8 to 5. They are happy to work 40 hours a week or more, but they want themselves to decide how and from where to work. Working is for them something you do, without caring too much about where their work is carried out.

Millennials are online basically all the time. Social media is as important as it’s natural to them, simply as an obvious part of their everyday lives. This also means that that the millennials actually holds a lot of power. Their constant presence on social media means that they can quickly criticize a company that they dislike. Their strong online presence is of course interesting to advertisers. Even though millennials are eager users of Adblock, they do not really mind receiving ads and information from companies, as long as it’s relevant and doesn’t bother them. The important thing is that companies understand that the communication needs to be adapted, both in terms of message, context and channel.

Even though the millennials are using many different channels, they are really conscious of what they share on social media. It’s essential that the brand stand for something they think is important. Therefore, you can’t expect that millennials care very much about the price tags and the product characteristics. Instead, it’s important for the companies to focus on the brand’s story, and the feeling that the brand wants to bring about. Given the fact that millennials have high ambitions to influence and to make the world better, it also places higher demands on the communication.

So how should you communicate with millennials in the best possible way? The most important advice that I can give you is probably to avoid what I did in this text, namely to generalize them as a homogeneous group. They are individualists and therefore you should communicate with them in an individualized manner. This means that you really need to know the ones you want to reach at a detailed level, so that you can understand them. It’s not an easy task, but the fact is that the data explosion and new technology can make it truly possible to both get to know and communicate with millennials at an individual level.

/ Alicia, PR Consultant at Northern Link PR

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