October 31, 2011
This is what I knew about millennials: I wasn’t one. I also knew that if I intended to communicate with this next generation, that was no excuse.
I got a great head start at understanding millennials at our PRSA Kansas chapter’s professional development day. Jeff Fromm (@JeffFromm), senior vice president of sales, marketing & insight for Barkley, shared stats and attitudes from his agency’s study of nearly 5,000 millennials and non-millennials : American Millennials, Deciphering the Enigma Generation.
First, three reasons why it’s important to understand, decipher, and communicate with millennials: size, spending power, and influence.
“Since the Millennials generation is larger than the Baby Boomers and three times bigger than Generation X, marketers’ understanding of Millennials’ needs, tastes and behaviors will clearly shape current and future business decisions,” said Fromm, when the survey findings were initially released in August.
Some of the findings us non-millennials could guess: Millennials are “digital natives” and multitaskers. Others were surprising: They support big government and want to become involved with causes.
Here are more details and highlights:
1. Millennials are the first generation of “digital natives.”
- The research showed that millennials are 2.5 times more likely to be an early adopter of technology than older generations.
2. Millennials are interested in participating in social marketing.
- Millennials are significantly more likely than to explore brands in social networks. And when it comes to making purchases, millennials are far more likely to favor brands that have Facebook pages and mobile websites.
3. Millennials believe in cause marketing.
Millennials are more likely than non-millennials to develop a more positive image of a company as the result of cause marketing programs. More millennials than non-millennials attempt to buy products from companies who support the causes they care about.
4. Millennials crave adventure.
Significantly more millennials than non-millennials described themselves as adventurous and expressed a desire to be considered a “done-it-all.” More millennials reported a willingness to encounter danger in pursuit of excitement, compared to non-millennials.
5. Millennials strive for a healthy lifestyle.
60% of millennials say they try to work out on a regular basis. 26% consider themselves health fanatics.
6. Millennials seek peer affirmation.
68% of millennials usually don’t make a major decision until they have discussed it with a few people they trust.
Lots of good insights on how to better communicate, market, friend, work with — and for — this powerful generation. Thanks to Jeff Fromm and Barkley for sharing this data and helping make millennials less of an enigma.
September 16, 2010
Gayla — with her shoulder-length curls and awesome purple cowgirl boots — greeted me when I arrived a the Agriland booth at the Kansas State Fair. I was volunteering for the Kansas Agri-Women, one of several groups that sponsor the booth.
Gayla squeezed my elbow, looked me deeply in the eyes, thanked me for joining and for helping out, then said, “Let’s go find a spot for your purse.” Loved it. She embodied what I admire about many I meet in agriculture — warmth, simplicity, authenticity and always being ready for a hard day’s work, no matter where they are.
She introduced me to a long-time leader of the group — who is still active in the organization at 80 years old. I took over at her station, a scale where kids could be weighed and then compared to a farm commodity. The kids loved hearing they weighed as much as a baby calf (about 75 pounds) or were only a few pounds shy of a bushel of corn (56 pounds). Surprisingly, parents and teachers joined in.
The booth was loaded with other hands-on activities — a combine cab, buckets full of seed, a soil tunnel, even Blossom, the full-sized cow with her squeezable udder. (“Squeeze, don’t pull,” the sign read.)
It was a fun day of answering questions and listening to stories. Gayla’s grandson stopped by. I’m sure the little boy, who was barely walking, has a limited vocabulary, but he exclaimed, “Big. Cow,” when he came upon Blossom. It was the powdered sugar on my funnel cake of an afternoon.
July 15, 2010
A big deal happened for me this week — I was featured in the “A Conversation With…” feature in the Wichita Eagle’s Sunday business section: http://bit.ly/9750Gz. I was flattered, flabbergasted and flushed. What would we talk about?
The business reporter, Karen Shideler, was interested in my roles as a writer and PR counselor — and that of a farm wife. Karen is a pro and very easy to talk with, so it was a fun conversation. I greatly appreciated her take on my life here on Woolf Farms.
The conversations after the Conversation have been just as fun. Two families are planning visits to our farm. I’m meeting with one soon-to-be ag journalist and connected with a colleague, who is also doing ag advocacy, on the ethanol front. Others sent notes detailing fond memories of their grandparents’ farms. This note from retired schoolteacher and farm wife Kay Wulf made my day.
Today’s Americans may be generations removed, but the family farm is still very much embedded in our culture. Let’s keep it that way.
July 12, 2010
So, what do you think of the term? I saw it a few weeks back in a Twitter post. Sorry to say that I lost its owner. (Please claim if it’s yours.) It spoke to me. One day, I’m a PR counselor, the next day a journalist. And, on the third day, I’m both, writing journalistic copy for a client.
I’ve written before about this mini identity crisis. Am I not an authentic journalist if I also do PR? I’ve moved on. I’m claiming the title. Good communication, whether it’s for editorial or PR, is all about finding a good story, conducting solid research, following ethical guidelines and convincing an audience why they should care.
My goal as a writer isn’t to fit a category, but to excel regardless of the format. Here are some resources and experts that are helping me become a better communicator. Thought you might find them helpful, too:
Poynter News University – Online journalism and media training center
- http://www.newsu.org/ (courses, seminars, blog, newsletter, daily tip)
Mindy McAdams – Professor of online journalism at the University of Florida
- Blog: http://mindymcadams.com/tojou/
- Reporter’s guide to multimedia proficiency: http://www.jou.ufl.edu/faculty/mmcadams/PDFs/RGMPbook.pdf
Society of Pofessional Journalists Digital Media Handbook – First part published in March, second half by year-end: http://bit.ly/9CsIv8
- 8 must-have traits of tomorrow’s journalist: http://mashable.com/2009/12/09/future-journalist/
- 10 ways journalism schools are teach social media: http://mashable.com/2009/06/19/teaching-social-media/
Ann Wylie – Writing and business communications expert
- Writing tips newsletter: http://www.wyliecomm.com/resources/wylies-writing-tips/
Andy Goodman – Expert in public interest communications
Public Relations Society of America
- Free webinars – http://www.prsa.org/Learning/FreeWebinars/
- PR QuickStart online training – http://www.prquickstart.org/
AgChat Foundation – Site to educate the ag sector re: social media tools, www.agchat.org
March 29, 2010
Bill Gardner, a Wichita-Kan.-based national logo trends expert, gave a captivating presentation at our recent Public Relations Society of America – Kansas lunch program. The topic: the top 15 design trends for 2010. Gardner has tracked trends for several years through research and the online database he created, www.logolounge.com. The site now boasts more than 133,000 logos, all searchable by keyword, designer, timeframe, country or more. His 2009 report can be found here, with the 2010 posting soon: http://www.logolounge.com/logotrends/.
The logos he presented were fascinating, even beautiful. However, Gardner’s take on what logos can — and should — do for a company also fascinated.
“Design makes a difference in purchasing when products are homogenized,” says Gardner. He asked such questions as ‘What does your logo sound like?’ and discussed logos that confront, or make you interact. He also talked about how some companies use words (taglines) as part of the logo, to make the most of that impression with the customer.
Gardner’s presentation reinforced the message that knowing who you are as a company — and reflecting that in all you do — is a powerful tool for success. You can check out more of his thoughts on trends in the sixth of his LogoLounge book series, due out soon. Follow him, too, on Twitter: @logolounge.
September 24, 2009
(Guest blog post on www.lifemeetswork.com)
A funny thing happened on the way to my home office. Actually, it’s not all that funny. I’ve lost my knack for time management. Here’s why.