In case you hadn't noticed, millennials exist. This has caused a lot of people to be very angry, because change can be scary and new things are not always easy to understand at first. Thus, the incumbent generation has suffered mightily at the hands of their predecessors, just as the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers suffered before them. But some companies are not content to simply inherit the cycle of hazing as it was passed down to them, but instead, bridge the gap between Millennials and the modern workplace. As customers and as employees, Millennials represent the current future of business, and in order to continue to grow and succeed in this evolving market, the smartest play is to stop crying wolf at the newcomers expense, and to start thinking about how to incorporate them into innovative new business strategies.
Mind the GAP
So what does it look like when a company takes the first step across the generational divide? It looks a lot like GAP, a brand founded in 1969 and made popular by its attention to the needs and interests of the new generation of the moment - the Baby Boomers. Now, years later, the Gap's customer base had aged out of the core demographic, and with this opening came the realization that millennials were the new generation to get. SO rather than turn their noses up at the prospect of dealing with millennials, GAP execs put their heads together in order to think of ways to really connect with and understand this generation. Their solution?
To meet the people where they were, GAP decided to take their wares to the beating heart of the Millennial generation - Bonnaroo. The company sold the festival's official T-shirt, and provided a booth experience featuring fun snacks, live music, and more. The event very successful - drawing over 3000 people and generating tons of buzz across all social media platforms. GAP went on to sponsor and partner with other big name festivals and events heavily trafficked by millennials, including Lollapalooza, South by Southwest, Stagecoach, Sasquatch, and more. The company sees it as really important to bring millennials into focus for their marketing efforts, and rather than trying to force old molds onto a new model, they adapted and overcame this interesting new challenge.
So GAP was able to move from the back of the herd to the front of the pack with their efforts to understand millennials, and their efforts have been mimicked across many brands and industries. And this is just with millennials as your customer base; imagine if you worked to make millennials feel at home in your multigenerational workplace, or built objectives plans around their interests and inspirations to unlock their full potential? There is a lot to learn about this new generation, and none of it will be discovered by shutting millennials out of the process. It is time to embrace the millennial, and discover what new heights they can achieve.