At The Washington Post’s 2015 inGENuitY Millennial Entrepreneur Summit held last week in Washington, D.C., Senator Penny Pritzker said, “Taking risks should be valued and nurtured because it allows us to be innovative.” Sitting in the audience as both a millennial and budding communications marketer, I couldn’t have agreed more.
Here are some of the biggest lessons I walked away with that can be applied to our own work in communications marketing:
Social consciousness: “Keep the ‘why’ in mind” – The millennial generation has been hailed as a group of fearless self-starters, unafraid of shaking things up and ready to make changes in the world. &pizza’s Michael Lastoria, Netcito’s Peter Mellen and Pluralsight’s Nate Walkingshaw noted that at the root of any brand, a company’s story should focus on the “why” more than the “how.” When creating and developing messages, our stories should reflect this same type of awareness and broad social consciousness. CEO Josh Tetrick of Hampton Creek said, “Narrative reflects who you are and what you do,” so it is important to make sure that the heart of our client’s stories are rooted in values for the future, not just for the time being.
Storytelling: “Let your best self shine through” – Companies are constantly searching for ways to cut through the clutter and make their voice heard, especially with millennial audiences. Thrillist co-founder Ben Leher and theSkimm co-founders Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin said the most important thing about a brand is its voice. To get stories across, a brand’s voice must maintain consistency, focus and most importantly, reflect a deep understanding of who their audience is and what they stand for. If we can thoroughly understand the content we’re pushing out for clients, we will be able to create flexible and adaptable messages that resonate and inspire action from consumers.
Collaboration: “Learn how to play well with others” – Brands that are able to connect with millennial audiences have shown their ability to be team players across multiple industries. Innovators in technology and food sectors are learning how to “meet in the middle” with policymakers in Washington, D.C. to successfully enter more established markets. Politics and social media have intersected to create tight-knit online communities, which will likely become an even more dominant force during the upcoming U.S. Presidential election in 2016. By working together across disciplines and industries, we can not only utilize our own resources to the fullest, but also deliver messages that are compelling, well-informed and relevant to many types of influencers.
Right now, we are walking alongside the biggest and brightest emerging talent to discover new ways of spreading messages in a constantly changing landscape. With so much going on, it can be impossible to accurately predict what people want and need. But after hearing and seeing these great minds across industries coming together to discuss the future of entrepreneurship, it was clear to see that things can only get better from here.
Image by Kate Warren For The Washington Post.