A Gen X Perspective of the Working Millennial

Today's post comes from Dan Coates, President of Ypulse. As President of a youth market research company and father of two Millennials, Dan has plenty of experience with this generation. Below, he gives his perspective on what Millennials are really like to work with and gives them some advice to help guide their way.

MILLENNIALS IN THE WORKPLACE

No matter what generation you belong to, you'll never forget your first job.  That time when there is nothing but potential and possibilities.  You're young, energetic, determined and the simple fact is that, at this early juncture, hopes outnumber disappointments.  Freshly minted.  Bright eyed.

While we X'ers and Boomers like to tease, the fact of the matter is that we're all jealous as hell.  While experience is merely a by-product of age, youth is fleeting and those of us that let it slip away unnoticed realize that we're never getting it back. Less than a quarter of our organization is comprised of non-Millennials. 

We X'ers would love to tell you how awful it was when we entered the workplace, but it's hard not to see that, following the great recession, you Millennials have been dealt a pretty dirty hand.  Try to think of this as more of a temporary setback than a defining moment. 

While I'd strongly recommend Lindsay Pollack's book, Getting from College to Career as great advice on how to get your first job and Neil Howe and Reena Nadler's Millennials in the Workplace as a primer for where your generation fits in, here's some inter-generational advice as to what to consider once you've gotten in the door:

1. It's Not About You:  I know, I know.  You're really focused on you right now.  Totally understandable.  You've spent years learning and studying.  You want to flex those muscles.  You have student…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I thought that Kate Spade had the best Cyber Monday deals this past December.” –Female, 25, CA

Electronic dance music, EDM, has been on the rise for a few years, but if you’re unfamiliar with the upbeat, untraditional, and loud music genre and culture, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself here. Although most EDM listeners are under 25, the fastest growing segment of new listeners are Millennials between 25 and 34. EDM is already a $6 billion dollar industry, and as it continues to grow and go more mainstream, brands like Jeep, Ford, Red Bull, and Trident have begun to tap into EDM communities, advertising on EDM.com and SoundCloud. Though some brands may be wary of EDM’s somewhat wild rep, its massive growth as a genre and industry shouldn’t be ignored. (Adweek

With 22.8 million 18-34-year-olds watching, there is a considerable amount of pressure for brands advertising during the Super Bowl to appeal to Millennials. But one firm’s survey found that 82% of Millennials said past ads are usually “just ok,” “disappointing,” “plain awful,” “offensive” and/or “not as good as they used to be,” making the big game a big missed opportunity. Commercials like Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” may receive 54 million views, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to loyal consumers. What works are ads rooted in consumer insight: “Dos Equis, and other Millennial favorites like Chipotle, Old Spice and Dove, win because they know who their audience is and they deliver the unexpected, rather than blandly pandering to everyone.” (Forbes)

While it used to all be in the name, now brands need to prove themselves as tech savvy to appeal to young consumers. A recent study reports that 52% of Millennials say “the technology a brand uses is the most important factor when making a purchase.” Technology is impacting young consumers’ relationship with brands because tools like apps streamline processes and personalize experiences, two characteristics that are very important to Millennial shoppers. The app store also acts as “digital-word-of-mouth,” where over half are discovering new brands and using reviews as a trusted filter. Over a third of Millennials said they would “remain loyal to brands using up to date technology” and that “technology adds value to a brand.” (Wall Street Journal)

We know Millennials care about what they’re putting in their bodies and where it is coming from: a 2014 Ypulse monthly survey found that 62% of 13-34-year-olds say eating and drinking healthy is extremely important to them, and 68% say that a local label will make them more likely to buy a product. But grocery stores hoping to attract and create relationships with Millennials need to know that it’s not just about products, but also “about authentic, real service.” Experts say listening to and connecting with the new generation of grocery shoppers will be a key factor in attracting them. For example, grocers could provide guidance for those young shoppers just learning how to cook. (Super Market News)

Agender is in. British retailer Selfridges is launching the Agender project, a gender neutral collection described as “a fashion exploration of the masculine, the feminine and the interplay … found in between” Several British designers who create gender neutral fashions will be included, including “Lady Gaga’s favorite,” Nicola Formichetti, and clothes will be partnered with music, photography, and film with gendered themes. Mannequins displaying the looks will not have male or female features. Rather than being “fashion forward,” Selfridges feels the project is simply “of the moment” and “responding to a cultural shift that is happening right now.” (International Business Times)

Need to know what this generation is thinking about right now? We may not be mind readers, but Silver and Gold Ypulse.com subscribers have access to the Live Instant Q&A Stream of questions being asked and answered in our mobile, social Q&A network in real-time. The questions that they ask each other can be more revealing than the questions that we ask them, and give you an unfiltered look into the trends and concerns of young consumers as they are happening. (Ypulse)

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