There's a stat that's been floating around marketing & branding circles this week that says 87% of Millennials contributed to a charity last year. Now, we'll be the first to admit that this number seems high, and there are hundreds of variables that go into the creation of surveys, so stats like these always taste better with a grain of salt. But even if that number is knocked down by 20%, you still have a majority of Generation Y that not only believes in a cause, but is helping to fund it.
Again, it's an interesting statistic, but it's not worth focusing on – instead, it hints to a bigger picture that most of you probably already know. Millennials want to believe in things, and that includes your brand.
We work with a lot of entrepreneurs that comes to us with ideas for making the world better. But at the end of the day, the desire to do good can only take you so far. So if you rememeber anything from this article, remember these two things:
1. Do good.
2. Do a lot of things good.
Grammar aside, this is an easy-to-remember barometer with which to judge a brand's efforts. Want to start a butcher shop that serves only locally-sourced, grass-fed meats? Great. Millennials are going to love it. But you better have great food, top-notch customer service, convenient hours, connections with other food brands in the community, a unique in-store experience, etc. You get my point. You've got to be firing on all cylinders, because once that 60-day newness wears off, you've got to give Millennials a reason to keep coming back, a reason to evangelize your brand. And that's where 'Do a lot of things good' comes into play.
On a much larger scale, there's Chipotle. Surely all of you have frequented one of their restaurants, or at least eaten three-quarters of a burrito before calling it quits. If not, here's a look at the ad that just took home the Cyber Grand Prix from the Cannes Lions Festival (marketing's version of the Academy Awards). As you can see, Chipotle is knocking #1 out of the park. Their call to all of us is to cultivate a better world. And they're doing it by only serving humanely raised beef, chicken and pork. That's how they're doing good.
But they're also doing other things, too. Like setting off on their own when cultures and beliefs clashed with fast food giant McDonald's (resulting in McDonald's divesting its shares entirely in 2006). Like hiring employees at well-above minimum rates of pay to work in their restaurants. Like teaming up with notable authors to publish short stories on their bags and cups to promote reading and literacy among its customers.
The results of all this good are nothing short of astounding, with 1000+ restaurants in 5 countries. But this is a Millennial Insight and this article is about Millennials. It's about what they support and why they do it. So take a quick field trip to the nearest Chipotle this weekend. Any time of the day is fine. Take a peek around the restaurant and you'll see Gen Y'ers everywhere. Most of them probably standing in line.
Because sure, the food is great. I'd stand in line for a great meal, too. But there are lots of places with great – sometimes beyond great – food, and very few of these places has 1000+ restaurants in 5 countries. That kind of success transcends food. For Chipotle, and for Millennials, it's about doing good and doing lots of things good. And that's something every brand can believe in.