I recently had the opportunity to Skype with a PR professional who works in Boston.
Sam Melnick is a 24-year-old PR practitioner at Dewey Square Group, a political PR agency. Sam graduated from Syracuse University and has a political science background.
My interview with Sam affirmed many of the ideas I wrote about in the capstone paper. During the interview, Sam repeatedly referred to the stereotypical millennial, mentioning how much millennials care about giving back to the community and that companies act as responsible citizens. Secondly, he discussed the importance of the baby boomer generation and how essential it is not to forget about this particular segment of the population. Additionally, he talked about how from his perspective, it is important to stay on top of the news, particularly about different companies.
Along with the other millennials who took my survey, Sam also displayed a stronger distrust when thinking about larger corporations. In the interview, he had quite a cynical view, particularly on CEOs and other C-suite executives. He claimed that CEOs only agree to partake in CSR initiatives after a communications practitioner tells them to do so.
After interviewing both millennials and baby boomers who work in PR, one idea has really stood out to me. Much of the focus on millennials is not about understanding WHO they are. Rather, right now, PR practitioners are very fixated on HOW to properly communicate their messages with millennials.
I believe Sam’s interview reveals that PR practitioners have not really considered doing a more intensified examination of millennials as stakeholders. Rather, the close look has been at the platforms used to reach millennials, such as the latest social media site and/or app.
Here are my thoughts: If we don’t fully understand WHO millennials are, no matter HOW many platforms we use, the ability to effectively implement a CSR and/or PR campaign will prove to be much more challenging.
As we wrap us the discussion, at the end of my interview with Sam, I asked him if he knew anything about “Generation Z,” the next generation to take over the marketplace. Sam had no knowledge about Generation Z. Rather, Sam only really had a full grasp on his perceptions of the millennials generation. Perhaps we are all guilty of paying too much attention to our own generational understandings. Furthermore, perhaps we are each guilty of stereotyping our own generations.
I will be extremely interested to see how CSR and PR practitioners learn about the current and future generations as time continues.
Below you can find the entire interview: