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Millennials: So much more than selfies

Tue, 15/03/2016 - 00:00

Millennials aren’t just about taking selfies. Soon they will be the largest part of the workforce, an increased number of them are running companies, they have massive buying power and soon they’ll be leading the country.

Yes, they do enjoy taking and sharing selfies. But millennials are so much more. And it was this that I was invited to discuss at last week’s Leading Women Summit.

The event, presented by MTN Business and in association with Forbes Woman Africa, was the first of its kind in South Africa and was organised in order to bring about an exchange of ideas and experiences. Keynote speakers and panellists discussed female millennials and their impact on the world.

“The focus of this year’s women’s summit is the rise and rise of Generation Y, also known as millennials. This emerging generation of female entrepreneurs is redefining pathways to power in their businesses, communities and the social causes they champion,” says Methil Renuka, editor of Forbes Woman Africa.

“Most importantly, the summit will harness the intellect and influence of these leaders and connect them with well-established role models and mentors across generations so they share insights and build positive partnerships.”

Millennials are the generation born between 1980 and 2000. They are tech-savvy, ambitious, hard-working and self-obsessed. They’re complex and are proving to be difficult for employers and marketers to understand.

I was invited to be a panelist on Marketing To Millennials: Redefining Strategies. It explored how marketers should plan their strategies to appeal to this generation. The difficulty, I mentioned, was that this generation included everyone aged between 16- and 36-years-old. Marketers should be more strategic about who they’re targeting. In addition, millennials tend to resist traditional forms of advertising, preferring to interact with brands on social media and often become swayed by online influencers. I made the point that millennials make brands work hard

to get their attention. But, I added: "Once a brand wins over a millennial, they will be loyal to a fault."

Joining me on the panel was Student Village founder and chief executive Ronen Aires. With years of experience as a public speaker and with an endless supply of fascinating tidbits into the lives of millennials, Ronen was an excellent addition to the panel. For instance, did you know that 60% of female students have a pair of Converse in their cupboards?

Our conversation, moderated by the knowledgeable Nozipho Mbanjwa, concluded by looking at millennials in the workplace. Millennials may have many demands for their employers but they are extremely hard-working. The point was made that once a millennial is happy working for a company, they’ll stick around, do excellent work and strive to become a leader. Once an employer wins over a millennial, they will be loyal to a fault.

Michelle Jones taking a selfie with her iPhone