Archive for the 'Millenials' Category


Brand Your Company Socially and Ethically Responsible (Or Lose Consumers)

In the past few years, numerous studies have shown a significant increase in consumers that care about responsible corporate practices. A recent survey stated that over 62 percent of consumers say they genuinely care about companies’ policies more so today than 10 years ago, and four in 10 consumers say they have decided against a product or service because they didn’t agree with the company’s practices.Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 12.17.43 PM

Because of the recent added pressure on organizations, a majority of Fortune 500 companies issue a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Sustainability Report available to the public. This increased importance on corporate responsibility has also encouraged more than 8,000 businesses to sign the UN Global Compact Pledge to commit to good citizenship with regards to human rights, labor standards, environmental protection, etc.

One brand that is proactively addressing social responsibility is Visa. The organization recently created new markets in developing countries by aligning social causes with corporate strategies. Wal-Mart is also pledging to be more corporately responsible by committing to sustainability in order to save money and tighten their supply chains.

The motivation for companies to adopt a CSR can be significant. Consumers, vendors and partners are likely to avoid firms that develop unethical reputations. Additionally, companies that disregard ethical responsibilities are at a higher risk of stumbling into legal issues.

Do you think companies are responding to consumers’ demands concerning human rights, labor standards and environmental protection? Will the continued persistence of consumers forever change corporate practices? Does your company have a corporate responsibility plan? Let us know!


Top 5 Things Learned At IFA Conference 2012

The Weise Communications team is back from the International Franchise Association (IFA) conference in Orlando. The conference was full of highlights, including newest Hall of Fame inductee Jim Amos  and his moving prayer breakfast speech; Bonny LeVine award-winner, SuperWash COO, Susan Black-Beth; the two keynote speeches – one was from host of the O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly and the other was New York Times best seller, Guy Kawasaki. There was even an appearance by Shaquille O’Neal, performing a random act of Shaqness on behalf of the Original Soupman. The four-day conference didn’t disappoint. After sessions, roundtables and a host of meetings, here are the top five things Tracy and I learned at the conference.

1. In 2011, there was a lot of discussion about access to financing as the biggest hurdle to overcome for franchise systems to grow. In 2012, financing wasn’t nearly as significant of a topic. There appears to be much more optimism that economy is turning and that the rumored lowering of the corporate tax rate from 35% – 28% will keep the U.S. competitive in the global economy.

2. Millennials, those born between 1980 – 2000, currently make up 25 percent of US population and account for $200 billion in direct spending. This generation is going to be very important for marketers; here are four considerations when marketing to millennials:

  • They consider themselves health fanatics and live a lifestyle to back it up.
  • They actively support causes and prefer to spend with companies that support causes as well.
  • They are early adopters of technology and avid social media participants – more connections and greater frequency.
  • They create and consume more “word of mouth, mouse and thumb.”

3. Social media in a vacuum is not going to sell you a franchise. Any franchisor that doesn’t believe in the value of social media most likely has the wrong mindset. Social media is not a vehicle to pitch products and services; it is one of the tactics a franchisor should use to develop a relationship with a prospect. According to Jeff Hayzlett, your social media goal should be to engage, educate, excite and evangelize.  Thanks Jeff, your session was awesome!

4. There was a lot of interest in franchise sales lead generation. Despite franchisors overwhelming their business development system with poor quality leads, they kept asking the question: “How do I get more leads?” Weise Communications believes that franchisors should be more interested in the quality of lead they generate rather than the volume of leads. There are plenty of methods to generate volumes of poor leads. If the franchisors were more interested in conversion percentage, they wouldn’t stand for the tactics that waste time. Instead, they would ask, “How do I close the sale?”

5. Veterans are going to be a target and a trend for franchise sales and franchisors should strongly consider participating in Operation Enduring Freedom through the VetFran Program.  For the uninitiated, VetFran is a voluntary effort of IFA members that offers financial incentives to encourage franchise ownership to honorably discharged veterans.

We have a sixth thing we learned, you must be very careful at the passenger drop-off at the Orlando Airport. Cars, taxis and shuttle vans are constantly moving in and out of very tight spaces. It is possible for a person removing luggage out of the trunk of a car to get their legs crushed between their car and a run-away shuttle van. The results of Tracy’s MRI will be in later this week.

Let us know if you think we missed something. Share your thoughts about IFA with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

See you in Las Vegas in 2013.


How to become fluent in the language of millenials

Additional things I learned at SHSMD 2009

More than one SHSMD 2009 session I attended had a “millennial” focus. What was clear from all this talk about millenials is that they are a major focus of everything right now, which can only mean it’s because Gen X and Baby Boomers just don’t understand this younger generation.

Here are some issues to consider: From a marketing perspective, millenials are difficult to reach. From a recruiting perspective, they want different incentives. From a management perspective, well, you need to learn a whole new language to communicated with them.

Picture 18Instead of spending time researching how the millenials got their personalities, why their personalities are as they are, and who is to blame, I would prefer to focus on the top three take-a-ways for dealing with millenials in the three areas most marketers will care about: marketing to, recruiting and managing.

Top three ways to market to millenials:

• Mobile marketing is growing and will continue to be more important to reach this audience. They live on their PDAs.

• Social networking is huge to this group, and if you don’t have skin in the social networking game, your message won’t get heard.

• It’s not business as usual. In rather recent history, we purchased TV time for advertising based on the demographics of the show. Forget it. Millenials are watching their shows on the computer.

Top three incentives for recruiting millenials:

• They have a social conscience, so make sure your recruitment campaign explains either the job’s elements of social responsibility or your company’s the social consciousness.

• Try to create flexibility in the workplace. What options can you provide offer that will allow for some freedom and flexibility in work hours?

• They care about work/life balance. Learn to accept this and determine ways you can help make this a reality for potential recruits.

Top three management styles for working with millenials:

• They grew up working in team environments and they prefer it this way. Foster this type of environment in your office. Don’t worry, it’s not just a social thing, they really will get the job done for you.

• They can multi-task. Even the men in the demographic can multi-task. So set short deadlines and demand things get done quickly and efficiently. They are up for it.

• Provide flexibility by telling them when the work is due, but not necessarily when it needs to be worked on. You may not like the hours they work, but they will meet the deadline.

How do you speak to millenials? Share with us your ideas on marketing to, working with and recruiting them!

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