Throughout our work as a brand consultancy and creative studio here in Los Angeles and beyond, we’ve had countless conversations about millennials and Gen Z. Clients want to know these social-native unicorns.. Who are they? What do they give a shit about about? What inspires them? By now, we all know the answers to these questions to some extent… but the biggest surprise? They’re onto something. Yep, Millennials and Gen Z, in all their requisite love for Twitter and Snapchat, have a real wisdom about them that we’re paying attention to.
Purpose — It’s not new, they are just getting there WAY faster
Even though purpose may be front and center now, it’s hardly a new or unfamiliar concept. Every generation has a relationship with purpose, but it’s come in different shapes, sizes and, most notably, at different times. For the post-war Boomers, there was the promise of glorious, glorious retirement. Work hard, retire, enjoy the fruits of your labor, find your REAL purpose post-60-years-old when you were basically just burnt out and in need of a hobby (not awesome). During the 80s and 90s, the work-induced burnout and desperation started coming earlier (cubicle-phobia, anyone?). Middle-aged adults were dropping out’ of their ‘serious’ jobs on Wall Street because they’d ‘had enough’ or could no longer play the game for the paycheck alone. Early .com companies started to brush the surface of replacing things with a ‘new normal’, valuing quality of life additions to the workplace like bringing your dog in. But soon it became clear that ping-pong tables weren’t the end of this evolution (or certainly shouldn’t be). So, while purpose is hardly new… it was kind of an “Ah ha!” moment. What we’re seeing is this ‘Ah ha’ moment is happening BEFORE the burn-out — go figure.
They Want Purpose — Now
The obsession with so-called work-life balance is also not new, but Millennials and Gen Z tackle this concept differently too. They make work all about their lives and passions, and go after their vision with serious hunger. In a way, this enlightenment is less escapist as it is realist. Okay, so maybe “enlightenment” is a little much, but there’s something to be said for the foresight of this new approach.
Today, we see people seeking alternate, proactive paths in order to intertwine work with purpose from the beginning. Work/life balance is a buzzword, sure, but in fact the field of Positive Psychology suggests that to find happiness, we must commit ourselves to the things that provide pleasure and meaning. So rather than dismissing them as ‘idealists,’ we should probably pay attention to what Millennials and Gen Z are up to..After all, this new way of working might just mean we can work better, longer — and for things that are simply better for the world. Welcome to the Purpose Generation.
OK, but why should brands care?
Millennials are 50% more likely to purchase from a company that supports a cause they also believe in. 91% of customers value honesty in the companies from which they buy products and services. ** What’s extra smart, is that through their purchases and loyalty, Millennials and Gen Z are helping grow the types of businesses they themselves believe in — say what! **
Patagonia — patagoniaworks.com
The Purpose Generation rewards brands committed to these practices. It isn’t a flash-in-the-pan marketing scheme and it’s very real. It’s worth making these responsible tenets a big part of your strategy because they’ll be rewarded, big time. While we’ve been over here working to move the world with things like conscious capitalism, the purpose economy, and so on, this generation of consumers are the ones that are going to bring about real change with their personal missions and the brands they turn to over and over again.
ASPIRE TO INSPIRE
-IN GOOD CO