This originally was published on Social Media Explorer on June 4, 2019.
This originally appeared in MediaPost on April 17, 2019.
Every day, a new bell tolls for something millennials doomed into obsolescence. Industries and brands point fingers at the generation for “killing” things like cable, diamonds, golf, and casual dining.
“Millennial,” typically used to classify someone born between 1981 and 1996, has become a catchall phrase to describe lazy and selfish tendencies — and credit the decline of older ways of thinking to youthful folly. But the negative media discourse surrounding millennials is inherently flawed.
Blaming Millennials Benefits Nobody
Blaming whole swaths of consumers for changing trends can backfire. Millennials are the bulk of the workforce; they’re an economic power to be reckoned with. In fact, the World Data Lab predicts that this generation will soon have more spending power than any other group.
Over the past few years, the issue of racial and ethnic minority representation has taken center stage.
We’ve seen campaigns from well-known brands ranging from Airbnb to Budweiser to Coca-Cola touch on important topics such as immigration and diversity. This shift has been a wonderful starting point, but we’re nowhere near finished. There continues to be an indisputable lack of diversity within the PR field, particularly where talent is concerned.
Consider that as of July 2017, people of color made up more than 41 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Our talent pool needs to adapt with the changing demographics in our nation; otherwise, it’s very unlikely that we can remain in the sphere of relevance. Even still, the issue of representation isn’t something we can fix with the wave of a magic wand, and that’s most likely why many PR firms have remained so homogenous: They simply do not know where to start.
It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of cracking jokes at the expense of Millennials and Generation Zers.
They're obsessed with their smartphones!
They change jobs every five minutes!
They're putting entire industries out of business!
These are just a few of the preconceived notions that seem to dog young consumers today. But by subscribing to stereotypes like these, brands discount an incredibly important segment of our population. Across the globe, there are 1.8 billion Millennials and more than 2 billion members of Generation Z. Combined, they make up a potential $165 billion marketplace.