Given the increasing rate of retirement for many baby boomers, companies must reset their expectations around attracting and retaining Millennials. We can learn a lot from the retail and fashion industry regarding their strategies to grab the attention and loyalty of their Bespoke consumers. As native digital users, Millennials process multiple streams of information at warp speed, have voracious appetites for multisensory stimulation, and delight in the abundance of choice that comes with demands for constant and continuous upgrades. These patterns have significant implications for the scale of diversity that will become the new normal. The leaders they choose to follow and the followers they choose to lead must be able to evolve in creative ways through an agile balance of insight and action.
The Bespoke mindset is less oriented towards profitability because of growing concerns and activism around social and economic justice. Credibility in their eyes is less based on formal education, and yet they may appear decades wiser because of their gravitation towards online learning, making them more politically and culturally informed. As consumers, experience will be prioritized over products and services. So how will this impact how we think about business and leadership? Business cultures that are lifestyle-centric and wellness focused will have great appeal, reinforcing a way of working that is driven by more being and less doing. A sharing economy will be cultivated that minimizes individualism and supports interdependence. Wisdom will be valued more than wealth. Loyalty to companies and brands will diminish because there will always be something better waiting for them. So what about the rest of us? We may be headed toward extinction rather than retirement if we don’t learn to say no to fast fashion!