How do you connect with millennials? – Tips from Bernie Sanders…

By Daniel McCabe
Image: John Locher (AP) via Chicago Tribune
Bernie Sanders reportedly bought a lakeside holiday home this week on the heels of conceding to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential nomination. As he slips out of the headlines, there are lessons for businesses to learn from the Bernie Sanders revolution, because that's what it was, a revolution.

Bernie Sanders captured the hearts and imaginations of America's, scratch that, the world's youth. The world over, young people 'Felt the Bern'. Applying his strategies to your business can help you to connect with and impassion a young audience.

4 things to learn from Bernie

1 - Have a clear message, repeat it!

I've seen more interviews with Bernie, I'm on a first-name basis by the way, than is normal for a guy who isn't really into politics.

"The top one-tenth of 1 percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent". He said that so many times that I can repeat it verbatim. His messages about getting the money out of politics, the "grossly unfair distribution of power and wealth" and the need for healthcare and education to "be a right, not a privilege" resonated because of their simplicity and clarity.

He used simple language in terms that people understood and gave examples they could comprehend.

Your businesses' reason for existence needs to be short, sharp and to the point. Repeated a clear, easy to understand message over and over again.

What value do you provide your clients or customers and can you say it in one well-crafted line? Is your business unified in what it aims to do? If not, it needs to be. An effective, consistent message should live throughout your organisation.

2 - Use statistics

Bernie told the truth and he used statistics to support his message. Critics could challenge his philosophies, but there was no hiding from the stats and he continually relied on them to validate his point.

People bought into his campaign because they trusted him and he built that trust by supporting everything he said with statistics and cold, hard facts.

You can do this for your business.

Don't just say that the service you provide or the product you offer can "optimise your operations" or "increase your bottom line", show me how. How does it do that?

Use real examples and customer stories to illustrate the message you're trying to get across. What kind of statistics do you have available that can validate your claims? If you don't have any, prepare a survey and go out and get them.

Image: Rob Brown (AP) via npr.org
3 - Social media – maximise your message

At Clarity, we say "one piece of content used many times". Bernie Sanders was a master at this, or at least his team was, because personally I can't imagine ol' Bern on Facebook.

He posted highly engaging content and he did it regularly. By using captivating quotes with powerful imagery, infographics, YouTube videos, links to news clips, graphs and statistics via multiple social media platforms his campaign was able to engage with their audiences in a meaningful way that enabled people to buy into his beliefs.

The golden rule of social media is be where your audience is. Bernie was on every social media platform you can think of but your business doesn't need to be. Rather do one platform really well than putting a half-hearted effort into multiple platforms.

4 - Be authentic

People have become increasingly distrusting of corporations and mainstream media, to a point where they can smell BS a mile away.

At a time where we are beaten down by a perpetual barrage of messages through every imaginable platform, Bernie tapped into our generation's desire for authenticity. You can find videos of him espousing the same things in 1988 that he was saying in 2016. Views that weren't necessarily mainstream at the time, I might add.

Your business probably doesn't have that luxury but if you are prepared to deliver an authentic message, something different to that of your competitors while staying true to who you are as a company, it has a greater chance of getting through the clutter on social media and resonating with your audience.

The result

Okay, so Bernie didn't win the nomination. But he brought millions of people into the political process and started a movement which will forever change the American political landscape.

Need assistance?

For more information about how to apply these communicative strategies to your business, please contact us on 09 950 2690, on LinkedIn or via Twitter @ShapeTheMessage


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