Thanks to the rise of things like the selfie – a picture taken of oneself with the front facing camera on a smartphone, for those who don’t know – people often believe that millennials are very selfish and apathetic people.
Similarly, the general feeling is that they are self-centred and obsessed with social media, but the reality is that they’re much more outward-looking than any other generation before them. This means that they tend to be much more interested and aware in issues that affect other people and have a higher level of empathy for other cultures than the likes of baby boomers, for example.
Millennial 20/20 summit 2016
Nick Blunden, global managing director of the Economist, has nothing but nice things to say about the millennial generation. At the Millennial 20/20 summit, he commented: “They manage their own personal brands, not just as an ego trip, but because they want to inspire action around the causes they are passionate about.”
The Economist has actually conducted research this year that shows around 33 per cent of millennials in 2016 are influential, active, interested in current events and entrepreneurial. In contrast, only 12 per cent of baby boomers were in this category and generation X came in at 21 per cent.
Mr Blunden said this research was conducted globally and that overall, young people all over the world seem to be very in touch with their “personal brand”.
This means that they have an idea very early on of who they are, what they want to do and how they’re going to do the things they want to do. They seem to be able to be selective about the ways in which they use their power and influence too, recognising that a strong opinion can be carried across the world incredibly quickly and easily now.
Authenticity plays a large part of the millennial’s interest in their personal brand; everyone wants to be unique and varied.
Thanks to having access to so many different platforms and being able to see creative and innovative processes online every day, it’s easy for millennials to be inspired into building their own branding and influence.
Due to the ease of gathering information, millennials have a sophisticated understanding of creating an image for themselves and they know how important it is to be authentic in everything that they do.
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to the way they conduct themselves personally, when we talk about personal branding we also mean their approach to business. Millennials have creative minds and are always looking for new solutions to problems or ways to make theirs and other people’s lives easier.
Things like Airbnb and Uber are a great example of this aptitude towards personal branding and being creative towards business. These are both essentially hotel and taxi services, but they have found a way to integrate into the everyday digital life and patterns of millennials, which is what has helped to make them such a success.
You’ll probably have noticed too, that more and more young people are becoming concerned about politics. This isn’t just reserved for their regional or national parties, as millennials are becoming much more outspoken about global issues that concern the welfare and equality of other nations.
Although this might not instantly seem relevant with regards to how millennials approach business, it can actually be very important.
By having an understanding on how global politics changes – for better and for worse – they can take away a lot of knowledge about how these decisions by governments can have massive effects on the industries that they work in.
A millennial who is clued up in politics will know that there are specific legislations that relate to how their company trades with other businesses around the world. Similarly, they will know just how easy it would be for them to find a new and relevant job in their industry in another part of the world.
In this way, we can see that a millennial with their nose in their phone all the time, isn’t necessarily on Twitter to check up on what the latest celebrity gossip is. Instead they could be keeping up with a live session of a political debate – it’s a mistake to assume that because a millennial is attached to their phone it makes it a bad thing. Often it can be quite the contrary.
Overall, millennials are less interested in hemming themselves into a specific job role, like their generation predecessors.
Instead, you will see them keen to have an impact and constantly have their finger on the pulse regarding new jobs and product and service updates to keep them moving through different spheres of work.
Really, the world is more like a massive classroom for millennials, as they’re constantly looking for ways to learn and make their careers more inspiring, not just for themselves but for the people they work for.