It looks like marketers are starting to catch on. If you go to YouTube or AdWeek, you will see some of the most popular campaigns are ones that are asking their millennial audience for input in creating content and conversations around their brands.
But millennials have the resources to easily see when brands aren’t truthfully walking the walk.
In order for brands to create meaningful relationships with millennial consumers, they must first win over their millennial employees.
We often talk about the importance millennials have in influencing others with similar purchase habits. These “Millennial Mindset Consumers” are influenced by millennials’ every day choices. Who do you think taught that 50-year-old woman how to use her phone to pay for her drink at Starbucks?
Likewise, many companies and HR departments are changing everything from benefits to company culture. You might even know someone who goes into the office at 10 a.m. in sweats, gets free beer, and rides a four-story slide to the conference room.
While some of these perks are extravagant, the idea remains the same: When your millennial employees show love for your brand, they become your strongest brand advocates.
The key factors that drive profitable modern brands also inform the thinking of companies trying to engage their millennial employees. Let’s take a look at a few.
1. Embrace the participation economy.
Just as we have reimagined the definition of a brand value by adding participative benefits, we can now see the same can be said for the value in the workplace. It is no longer good enough to be able to work for a company and receive a salary (functional need) and enjoy what you do (emotional need). Brands must now allow their employees to help co-create everything from the culture to opportunities to give back.
Allowing your employees to help build your brand not only creates an environment for them to excel, it builds trust.
Remember a few years ago when Domino’s Pizza tasted like cardboard? They decided to listen to their audience and fixed the problem. Their CEO publicly admitted that they had made a mistake in neglecting the quality of their pizza and then promised change. Not only did the consumers appreciate the change, the employees did, too.
2. Create experiences and adventures.
When it comes to creating experiences and adventures for your employees, don’t overthink it.
Google is one of the most loved brands by millennial consumers and also the company millennials want to work for most. The fact that Google tops both of these lists is no coincidence. Millennials appreciate the fact that Google provides employees with all sorts of experiences—from creating top-notch facilities and hosting unique company events to providing seminars and education opportunities outside of the office. You don’t have to throw a parade to create experiences that will make a difference in your employees’ lives, so start small and they’ll notice your efforts.
3. Stand for more than your bottom line.
Finally, millennials love standing behind something they truly care about.
A company can make a huge difference when it inspires its employees to stand for something bigger than the products or services sold. By providing this inspiration, companies can not only improve their company as a whole, but also improve their workplace culture for their Millennial Mindset Employees.
So the next time you assume all millennials are sitting on the couch in their moms’ basements, you might instead look at ways to embrace your millennial employees, ask them to help foster your culture and ideas, and create a space where they can help your company excel. Because if not, you might find that your greatest brand ambassadors are leaving for another company.
Editor’s note: Brendan Shaughnessy, a millennial account coordinator at FutureCast and a social contributor at MillennialMarketing.com, contributed to this post.