by MJ ONeill
August 11th, 2017

Weber Shandwick’s recent CEO Activism 2017: High Noon in the C-Suite report has once again highlighted that Millennials engage with brands very differently to other generations. Weber Shandwick Singapore‘s WeiWen Sng provides a firsthand perspective on how to most successfully engage her generation.  

Connecting with Millennials can seem difficult. We’re fickle. Too skeptical. We like sharing ‘selfies’. More of us are choosing to forgo the security of a 9 to 5 job and instead opt for graduate school, work at a co-op or risk and set up a start-up. Predictability is definitely not in our dictionary.

Engaging with us is not impossible but you do need to know what makes us tick. For many Millennials, it means being able to change the world for the better, in any way we can. Equality, access to social services and climate change are some of the issues we care most about. Instead of bearing arms, we advocate and activate with our wallets and job choices.

Findings from Weber Shandwick and KRC Research’s recent study, The Company behind the Brand II: In Goodness We Trust, indicated that nearly half of consumers choose brands based on the positive personal impact of their products and the social impact of their behaviour.

As such, your brand’s social responsibility initiatives are vital for business growth. According to a Nielsen report, 3 out of 4 consumers aged 34 and under would accept price hikes from brands pledged to making tangible social and environmental impact. This is further supported by the recent findings of our CEO Activism 2017 report – which highlighted that, compared to our forebears, we Millennials are highly responsive to displays of CEO Activism.

While we may seem more idealistic than earlier generations, we are a demographic to be reckoned with. By 2020, more than 60 percent of Asia Pacific will be Gen-Y-ers. By then, we will have more than $6 trillion in spending power and we want to spend it on causes we believe in.

How can brands capture millennials’ hearts and attentions? Here are five tips on how to incorporate social responsibility in your brand strategy:

1. Tell us your story

Let us know what you’re doing and how it’s improving society. We want to feel like the brands we engage with understand us and share our values.

2. Make it visible

Whatever social platform you choose, ensure your brand’s CSR efforts are public. All the better if it’s mobile-optimized. Even the smallest ripple can affect distant shores. Why? More than 40 percent of consumers are likely to talk about a brand’s honesty or ethics.

3. Be authentic

We want to know why your values matter to you. To gain our trust, build a voice that’s open, personal and honest. Findings from The Company behind the Brand II: In Goodness We Trust  revealed that brands over-communicate community contributions, but under-communicate their values or ethics.

4. Get us involved

We appreciate opportunities to help make the world a better place. Make your brand’s CSR initiatives a perk of joining the company. Sign up your employees for volunteering at an animal shelter or teaching young children, and let them share their involvement on social media.

If you choose to engage millennials as your brand advocates, tell them what you care about. Let them know how you’re putting resources into initiatives that’ll make the world a better, more inclusive place for all.

For further insights into the increasingly powerful relationship between ethical values and brand engagement, see our in-depth reports The Company behind the Brand II: In Goodness We Trust, CEO Activism 2017: High Noon in the C-Suite and Conscious Crowdsourcing.

Weber Shandwick Singapore’s Engaging Millennials series continues with Douglas Yong’s investigation into the power of nostalgia marketing

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