Looking at Millennial Metaphors#4: Affiliation

Millennials are considered to be the most connected generation with technology and social media supporting their need for affiliation.  The CONNECTION metaphor speaks to this desire to belong and helps to explain the deep metaphor’s status as one of the ‘giant’ universals.

Millennials have grown up in the ‘thumbs up’ culture of Facebook. It is in the digital village of social media that they have learned the power of sharing ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ with others. They are an empowered generation of consumers who are quick to publicly ‘shame’ brands and organizations online when they do not deliver on their promises and praise those who exceed expectations.

Using the power of the connection metaphor as a catalyst for brand building is a wise move for those wanting to create deep relationships with millennials. A wonderful example of this comes to us from Sweden and the not-for-profit world of blood donor services.  The brand builder recognized millennials’ desire to ‘belong’ and affiliate with a worthy cause, giving blood.  Armed with a deep understanding of affiliation as it relates to their organization, they designed a unique donor experience. Specifically, the organization created a community in which the act of donating is directly connected to the saving of a life. They do this by texting donors every time the blood they give is transfused, acknowledging that because of their generous donation a life has been saved. This ‘thumbs up’ turns donors into acknowledged heroes and helps to strengthen the bonds between the organization, donors and the cause.  It is a community of giving powered by leveraging the connection metaphor in which donor relationships with the organization and cause is deepened with every text sent.

Growing up in a digital village millennials are a generation that are expanding and shaping the meaning of connection.  They continuously interrupt activities using social media to reach out to affiliate, friend, like or share.  In doing so they are turning the experience of disruption into an experience of connection. How might exploring the nature of connection among millennials help you strengthen your organization brand’s relationship with this important cohort?