A Millennial warned a room full of procurement leaders that they need to rethink their mindset if they’re ever going to win the hearts and minds of Millennials.
Too many Australian leaders overlook the fact that 50 per cent of the world’s population is aged under 30, and have no idea how to effectively communicate with them.
Holly Ransom is the CEO of Emergent Solutions, which works with leaders, organisations, and governments, globally to set the benchmark, and be frontiers of change and innovation.
It helps challenge their thinking, evolve their strategy and build their capability to engage with market disruptions head-on, unlocking new opportunities, outcomes and value.
The room full of procurement leaders collectively leaned in while Ransom spoke, captivated by her high energy talk despite it being the last session of the 9th Asia-Pacific CPO Forum, held in Melbourne last week.
Ransom outlined some research around purchasing decisions among Millennials that found that 1 per cent of Millennials trust advertising, 30 per cent trust blogs, while the majority are looking for some sort of online reference before making a purchase. And 65 per cent of Millennials are judging companies and businesses based entirely on their digital presence.
“Sometimes we seem to forget that half of the world’s population is under 30; probably because we spend so much time talking about the other end of the spectrum – the elderly.”
She urged the room to bear in mind that the average American male has spent 10,000 hours gaming by the time they reach of the age 18, which is exactly the same amount of time they’ve spent in school.
“It’s about thinking about how you can leverage that to your benefit,” she says.
The procurement sector needs to understand that trust is manifesting in new ways, citing the fact that people are prepared to jump into a car with an Uber driver they’ve never met, and appear to feel safe.
“This younger generation wants to see, connect and feel. They want authenticity from our brands and businesses, and they want to see that footprint extending to something far more than just shareholder returns.”
Ransom also touched on the changing face of the workforce, explaining that Millennials with a laptop and a few clients much prefer to work from anywhere.
“Freelancing is a reality and it unlocks the global human capital pipeline, which presents huge opportunities for businesses. You can hire someone to handle a project for you, rather than having to hire a new employee.”
The benefits of being able to outsource to a freelancer includes allowing leaders to think more laterally, and spend more time on their leadership approach, she says.
“Through leadership when dealing with consumers and suppliers, we need to make sure that Millennials can see, touch and feel what we’re trying to get across to them. They want to come on the journey with you.”
The ‘Why’ in Communications
Ransom also spoke about her initial cynicism toward Rotary International when invited along to a meeting, but the statistics prompted her to get involved to bring about change.
“When I thought about Rotary, I thought of pale, stale and male. I couldn’t believe it when I was told that there were 1.2 million members, and yet only 12 per cent of that were women, and 2 per cent of that were under 30. Hearing that was enough for me to want to get involved.”
Ransom has helped Rotary lead with the ‘why’ in their communications to help build engagement, and better explain what they’re about.
“We realised that Rotary focused too much on the youth message. It’s a classic example of how easy it is to assume that our why, is someone else’s why. And that wasn’t the case here.”
Ransom ended by giving an example of innovation that involved a young girl who was given $10. She used the cash to hire two DVDs, which she played them in two halls, and charged everyone a few dollars to come and watch the movie. She turned that $10 into more than $300, in a clear demonstration that innovation doesn’t have to be expensive.
“I challenge you to think about what that $10 could do to build engagement in your business in the next two weeks. We need leaders to stop thinking that innovation needs to be hugely expensive, and that you need entire teams to drive innovation. That’s just simply not the case.”