Baby Boomers To Millennials – Balancing Expectations Across Generations

Written by William Fuller

Lots of people using their laptops and smart devices on a wooden table

So yes, I’m a millennial, or should I say, a member of Generation Y. You’d have thought they would have come up with something better by now, but nonetheless, it seems that millennials are reshaping expectations across the communications landscape.

Whether you’re an ambitious and hard-working baby boomer or a sceptical but self-reliant Generation X, every generation has found itself under the microscope. It seems that millennials, roughly comprised of people between ages of 21 and 34, have stirred things up in the workplace. A simple Google search of the “M” word and you’ll find articles, blogs and studies labelling millennials as narcissistic, lazy and self-centered.  Being associated with the “M” word comes with a few negative connotations and whether deserved or not, these connotations have wider implications in the workplace. There is certainly a deeper discussion to be had, and this is where my attention turns to the world of communications, in particular how we go about balancing expectations across generations in the world of PR.

Having come of age during the information revolution, millennials have armed themselves with technology, which in turn has shaped choices, belief systems and expectations. Millennials are more plugged into a global network than their predecessors ever were. The traditional platforms of print, television and radio have been overshadowed by a new love for social media, with 71 per cent of millennials checking social media sites at least once per day. As such, these changes have presented new challenges, gone are the days where human agent was the only solution for tackling an issue, the millennial generation has raised the level of expectation. In doing so, we have set ourselves the task of anticipating and mastering new forms of technology to ensure success within the team and success for the client.

With an increasing number of millennials entering the workplace, the way we interact with clients, the culture of decision makers and the shift in the audience has rapidly moved away from the traditional PR methods. As such, the communications industry needs to drop the stereotypes and embrace millennials, perhaps through the power of the human interest, bad news and topicality aspects of storytelling we can begin to create positive perceptions of an entire generation.