Millennials are seeking out employers who do good. How marketers can do good, too.
Millennials are a demographic whose members, many think, enter the workforce envisioning free bagel Fridays, flexible schedules and an open floor plan. Turns out, their expectations may run a little deeper. According to the Millennial Impact Report, produced by Achieve and sponsored by the Case Foundation, more than 50 percent of millennials say that a company’s involvement in various causes influenced whether or not they accepted a job—one of the top three sentiments overall, behind “work culture” and “what a company does.”
Emily Yu, the Case Foundation’s vp-partnerships, summed up the results to Fast Company in “Want To Attract Millennials To Your Company? Engage Them In Causes,” saying cause-related work “has morphed from a little side thing” into something that could “become one of the strongest tools in the arsenal for recruiting.” And it might help in retaining employees, too. When asked what inspires them to work for their company for a long period of time (on top of compensation and benefits) 53 percent of respondents said “having their passions and talents used to their fullest,” 20 percent said “bonds with coworkers” and, most notably, 20 percent said, “to believe in their company’s mission and purpose.”
What does this mean for event marketers? Here, more insights from the study and programs by three brands who leveraged their mission, purpose and a cause to recruit and retain consumers.
78 percent of millennials prefer performing cause work in groups versus independently
Strategy: Ah, the shared experience. Millennials crave it and Ben & Jerry’s delivers. The brand is a cause-related marketing machine devoted to a whole host of issues, from climate justice to fair trade to GMO labeling. The brand is constantly incorporating do-goodness into its activation footprints, but for last summer’s City Churn pop-up series—unveiling parties of crowdsourced local ice cream flavors—the brand took it off-site. Before each party, Ben & Jerry’s encouraged consumers to participate in a local community service project it organized. Among projects: urban farming for underprivileged schools and cleanups at war memorials. More here.
92 percent of millennials are more likely to give (as opposed to volunteer) if they are with a company for five or more years
Strategy: Cheerwine, a bubbly cherry soft drink sold primarily in the South, found common ground with southern-based indie rockers The Avett Brothers in community, family and giving back. So, the two joined forces for a Legendary Giveback concert in Charlottesville, VA (near the University of Virginia and the all-important college millennial demo), the net proceeds from which benefited three nonprofit organizations. Among other charitable components to the program: the event live-streamed nationally to anyone who pledged to volunteer in their community. Check out more from the program here.
Millennials support issues rather than organizations, and they prefer to perform smaller actions before fully committing to a cause
Strategy: Starting small could mean the simple, yet meaningful act of recycling beverage containers. And in that spirit, Dasani transformed the perception of waste into an eco-friendly, feel-good purchasing experience. As part of parent company Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle initiative (a 100 percent recyclable bottle made with plant material), Dasani launched an eco-friendly tour. Each footprint featured the Designed to Make a Difference Gallery showcasing recycled plastic bottles reinvented into everyday items. The tour visited 18 college campuses, two Six Flags Theme Parks and three music festivals. Read about the whole campaign here.
WATCH—Geoff Henry, Brand Director at Dasani, Chats with EM About Earth-Conscious Millennials
The lesson? Millennials are connected, not just to themselves and their friends, but to issues. They value experiences, and if those experiences have a feel-good mission attached, you’ve got their attention.