Jeff Fromm Design Corner
Designing for Millennials
M ost nonprofits have a lot of equity in old schemas, but illennials have little equity in them, creating a fundamental conflict. If we start by looking at the core product or service that the nonprofit offers, and examine it for what reasons people are engaged by and resonate with it, we begin to understand its attraction. For someone who is 50 or 60 years old, it might be very different than for a Millennial, so think about the core product or service as just a starting point.Then look at all facets of what creates meaning: “How is this unique?” or “How are we going to co-create this?” Moving from a telling to an asking model for why Millennials should do something is a major change. I feel that many nonprofits are interested, but not willing, to make those kinds of changes. The issue for the nonprofit is quite clearly, “How do we create meaning in their lives, because that’s what they seek? How are we unique and different?” If there is no uniqueness, and there is no meaning, then there is no reason for me to want to do that; it’s just that simple.Millennials want to create story-living opportunities, not story-telling opportunities, and most nonprofits grew up in a story-telling era.They’re going to have to think about story-living a lot more and story- telling a lot less.Those committees need to be about the actions we take. Millennials want concrete, meaningful, unique experiences. How does the nonprofit deliver on it? A committee feels pretty old-school, old style, traditional, so even the language you use around it and the process needs to change. Millennials are interested in companies and people who do good. How do you do good and make a profit? They’re not mutually
much equity in an old schema with a consumer who’s older. In many cases, they shouldn’t give up too much of that equity because that’s what drives their economics today, so they just have to think through what they would trade up.What are the common threads that would cause a younger consumer to get involved, and what equity would they trade up? Because, otherwise, you never make the leap - but it’s really hard. Sitting down in front of nonprofits, my advice regarding harnessing the power of the Millennial generation starts with the core product: • How are you going to be authentic? • How are you going to be unique? • How are you going to be meaningful? • What are you going to do to add value for them? That’s the core. Then you can get into things like communication, marketing, packaging, and everything else. But if you don’t get the core product right, you have no chance. Most nonprofits have not really looked at the core product. Is this core going to resonate with this next generation, or do we need to think about the core? Not how we communicate it, not how we package it, not how we market it, not how we sell it, but the core itself. Those who do this are going to be big winners, because Millennials want to engage. Those who don’t are going to get passed over for things that are more unique, more meaningful, more new, more modern, more authentic. If you’re an iconic brand with a lot of equity in old schemas, you’d better think about what equity you’d be willing to give up or trade to modernize your brand.
exclusive. Think about how you treat people, how you help them achieve their personal goals, how you integrate their personal goals to the goals of the company so that there’s synergy between what the company’s trying to do and what individuals are trying to do, and whether they feel good about what they’re doing when they come to work. It’s not just about a paycheck; it’s how I feel about myself, because what I do has meaning, and meaning is really important. Millennials have a new definition of brand value. The old definition of brand value was the sum of your functional and emotional benefits divided by price.The new Millennial definition of brand value is the sum of your functional, emotional, and participative benefits divided by total cost. So we have a new numerator and a new denominator. On the numerator, they want to co-create the customer journey, the products, and the market. They want to have an active seat at the table. On the denominator side, Millennials are able to crowdsource more information from more sources more rapidly than any generation ever before them. So, when differences in price are very small, total cost becomes a huge factor. The more success you have as an organization, the more uncomfortable you’re going to be making changes. So the biggest thing that threatens most of the successful organizations is their success: they have too
36 I Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine
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