Build your reputation by connecting with Millennials
There are some fascinating findings in the Cracking the Millennial Reputation Code, released this week by Reputation Institute, but what stood out for me most is that of the 230 000 respondents across 15 major global economies (none in Africa), the smallest psychographic segment by far are those that identify as “selfless” – spiritual / religious, charitable and eco conscious.
However, don’t let this fool you into thinking that the narrative around the importance of sustainability is therefore not important. The truth is that, what Millennials lack in selflessness, they more than make up for in their reputation influence – ironically, especially across dimensions like Governance and Citizenship.
The fact of the matter is that Millennials score high-reputation companies lowest for their Corporate Social Responsibility efforts and yet if these companies had effectively communicated with the most influential Millennials segments (“In the Know” and “Traditionalist”), they could have lifted their scores by 8 – 9%.
These two largest psychographic groupings of Millennials place significantly outsize importance on Citizenship and Governance and the fact that company messages aren’t resonating with them needs to be urgently addressed. If non-millennials ‘get’ that Global Top 10 Reputation Companies do great work in this space, then why don’t 22 – 37 year olds?
From the research it seems to be because Millennials require far more in terms of expressiveness and personality from a corporate brand. It’s not enough to just tell your story… you need to do so in a way that positions the business as progressive, caring and straightforward. And you need to leverage your CEO to tell the story in a way that aligns the values of the brand to the audience!
Given the already significant buying power of this generation and their increasing global influence, it’s time to make sure that your corporate branding and reputation management efforts take cognisance of them. They may not yet be your shareholders or your regulators, but they definitely are your employees and your customers, so you need to go out of your way to give them some love if you want to win the reputation game!