PR Points to Remember When Reaching out to Millennials

Mickey McDermott

Millennials are a much sought-after demo by communicators, but they’re not an easy bunch to nail down. In 2008 and 2012, the Obama presidential campaign wisely targeted Millennials (born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s), but since then the president’s communications team has learned the hard way that their continued support is not a foregone conclusion.

Recent polls show a majority of the 18-29 age group disapprove of the Obama administration’s handling on most major issues, including Syria, Iran, the economy and health care. How did things get so bad?

The Obama communications shop, and quite a few other communicators in the private sector, may have misjudged what makes Millennials tick. Glynn Murph, a senior account executive in Edelman’s Atlanta office (and contributing writer to PR News), notes that there are different standards at play for this generation that communicators need to understand in order to reach them.

1. We have a strong, but different work ethic: We may not want to work the way you did, but by no means does that imply we do not want to work hard. Technology has afforded us the opportunity to be productive from anywhere at any time and we are taking advantage of it.

2. Different definitions of success: Millennials are placing greater importance on quality of life than on monetary success alone. With the constant restructuring of modern businesses, we are concentrating on building our individual worth by pursuing careers we are passionate about with the hopes of achieving long-term success.

3. We’re tougher than you give us credit for: We don’t expect success to be handed to us on a silver platter; we just want the opportunity to prove ourselves.

Follow Glynn Murph: @GlynnCocoa.

Follow Richard Brownell: @RickBrownell