Joe Tripodi, EVP, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer for Coca Cola was invited to speak on behalf of Georgetown University’s alumni center. The discussion included several themes: the millennial generation, driving growth, and staying relevant in turbulent times, as there are disruptions in all organizations and across all industries. Staying relevant requires change at an ever-increasing rate than in the past. When you consider the statistics found in an Ernst & Young survey, most employers in America’s organizations are young: “62% are from Generation Y, 29% are from Generation X and just 9% are baby-boomers.” Consequently, leaders need to not only understand the millennial generation but win their hearts and minds whether it be as your valued employee or potential client/consumer.
Some of the characteristics echoed about the millennial generation are that they value transparency, authenticity, and sustainability. They expect more choices, responsibility, and meritocracy; possess more entrepreneurial skills, and will not stay around for long if they are not offered challenging work. While they may lag behind the other generations in being perceived as hard workers and team players, they are digital natives who are enjoying quick promotions for their technical skills, as these skills are becoming more important during times that demand change to remain relevant. Since there is so much data, they are super sensors and have more personal connections with people; they are considered more kind and accepting; they are the “we” generation versus the “me” generation of X and baby boomers. It is the perception of “we”, oneness, connection, and participation that is at the root of the new world order. The millennial values and those individuals and companies resonating with this order are catalysts for fostering change in society.
Joe Tripodi’s other focus for the new order was in the area of marketing and business development, offering advice on strategies and driving growth.
- Historically, branding existed in the context of what you sell or the service you provide and evolving to include what you stand for—critical to the transparent, authentic, and sustainable principles. To stay relevant, it requires consistently earning and having trust as a brand.
- Instead of wanting to be the best at what we do, the new order has shifted to wanting to do the best for the community and world. While being global may be at the top of the pyramid, the ability to network, adapt, participate and lead is becoming more relevant.
- Collaborative partnerships are about expanding and managing your network internally and externally, developing those relationships that will concomitantly strengthen the service or product that one is offering. This transfers the perception of separation to unity, dismantling the silos that may exist within an organization and embracing other business sectors that will promote one’s service or product.
- Consumer provocation involves the act of moving an organization’s plan from talking about client satisfaction and happiness to provoking it through the art of engagement, attention, and social platforms, developing human connections and sufficiently powerful stories.
- Community outreach that can impact and improve the lives of others is essential. Local communities need to be healthy, as it will promote a healthy business.
- Innovation is at the core of change and it builds brands. What innovations can be implemented that will deliver a product or service to consumers’ needs and promote the paradigm of remaining relevant in today’s market?
Change is uncomfortable for many, requiring courage, more risk, and letting go to reinvent the company in how one is structured and networked. Innovations may be required across all systems. Begin with looking at the facts in order to choose the right activities and decisions. Identify a catalyst as a leader or utilize outside intervention; develop a clear and detailed process. Lastly, provide leadership that goes beyond the status quo of heavyweights to actual managers with leadership skills.
Karen Sadowski, President
KMS Associates, Inc.