CSR & Millennials: More than extra guac
Yes, the avocado is a symbol of millennial excess but the all too cliche predisposition coining them as self-centered and glorified does not exempt them from demanding brands to care.
The millennial’s raison d’etre is far more than to be entitled graduates. Cynical baby boomers can cut some slack because millennials are demanding more than just a hashtag to make an impact. Millennials are changing the branding game and how companies engage with their customer.
And no, “100% of all proceeds go to x charity” does not count as social impact. Social impact strategy is not an add-on like rye instead of sourdough or a drizzle of olive oil. Social impact needs to be an embedded philosophy that drives change at the heart of a company’s vision.
There’s a difference between gunning for a charitable cause and standing up for change. Millennials will see right through a company simply picking a cause if they don’t genuinely believe in it, comments School CEO, Max Lenderman.
Millennials are generous with their money, time and even the double-tapping action on Instagram; and you can bet a pretty penny they’d be generous if a brand does more than a viral hashtag and a charitable slogan about donation.
Millennials want their finger in the pie, too, and if you make sure that pie will make a difference to everyone who put effort into making it, you’ll have a company millennials keep coming back for. Case in point, RockCorps is a platform selling tickets for concerts across the world. However, without demanding money in return for a ticket, customers pay back by volunteering to transform community areas. Four hours of work entitles a volunteer to one ticket.
What does that tell us? Millennials are begging for one thing: action, and they want it now. They want brands to take action and make millennials part of it. Millennials are not patient creatures. The change a brand makes should not be a separate and suspended activity from their day-to-day lives.
RockCorps CEO, Stephen Green explains that millennials will be motivated if the change is imminent and goes beyond a predictable function of CSR.
United by Blue, a durable retail company is not only minimizing and ridding the world of pollution, but they are putting millennials at the centre of it. Customers have the opportunity to actually be apart of their clean up projects and even suggest places the company should help clean. This year, the company celebrated its 10,000th customer volunteer and is also seeing their $$$ skyrocket.
Brands need to go beyond the “take-a-look-at-our-green-and-lean-manufacturing” style of social impact and take charge of affecting millennial lives. Because hate it or not, millennials are self-centred and if that is the trajectory of their mindsets, why not use that to a company’s advantage?
So, yes, millennials like their avo on toast, but they’ll damn well pay an extra dollar and a little more if it means it’ll make an impact.