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To Engage The Next Generation, You Have To Beat Netflix

The owner of a booming Crossfit gym in Minneapolis pinpointed the key to success in the modern world as he was signing me up for membership. He said, “We’re not teaching a workout class so you can be healthier, that’s just the outcome. We create dynamic experiences that stack up against anything.”

The owner of a booming Crossfit gym in Minneapolis pinpointed the key to success in the modern world as he was signing me up for membership. He said, “We’re not teaching a workout class so you can be healthier, that’s just the outcome. We create dynamic experiences that stack up against anything.”

He knew that he was not just competing with other gyms or clubs for my health dollars; he knew that he was competing for my after-work time against other gyms and, more so, against Netflix and happy hour and errands, and time with family or friends. He knew that if he couldn’t deliver more value in that time, he would lose.

This is a microcosm of what is occurring everywhere, but getting little attention anywhere.

WORK AS AN “EXPERIENCE”

As the data show, employee engagement, as an example, is an incredibly difficult task for traditional employers. That is in part due to the view that work is considered by Millennials as an experience in competition with all others.

Look at how the most desirable employers in the country – Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon – have dealt with it. It is not by raising salaries or more vacation. These companies are places where work is considered an experience and the experience is designed to be incredible. These top employers have created holistic experiences that enable employees to work, play, socialize, be healthy and have a rewarding day on many levels. They have higher rates of productivity, lower turnover and the pick of top talent from around the world.

This holds true with anything organization though.

FORGO TRADITION

The traditional models for engagement in all types of organizations are under siege because many have not recognized that the sands of competition have shifted and their experience is competing with all others. The following are a few tips to take stock of where you are and what can be done to increase engagement:

Empathize

Empathy is everywhere these days. From the Marine Corps field manual to designing water filtration systems in the developing world, people are using tools and methods to truly understand who it is they are engaging. Without asking a lot of questions of what it is people actually want, you’re either throwing darts or sticking your head in the sand. Neither will really get you to the point of creating a dynamic and engaging experience.

Understand your fundamental value proposition

And then, take what you’ve come to know as your value proposition and compare it to a very broad set of “competitors”. Are you really all that valuable compared to the rest?

Define the components of your experience

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are you asking for in return for the person’s time, energy or resources?
  • What are you planning to deliver to each person who walks in the door?
  • What is the value proposition of your experience?

Create an experience with multiple components

Remember, you’re competing for the next generation’s time or resources against all competitors. For example, if you are a church, you are not just competing with other churches. You are competing with the challenge of getting the kids dressed and out of the house on time. You are competing with the early NFL game or College Game Day. You are competing with brunch at a friend’s house. You are competing with the weather. Is your value proposition strong enough to beat all of those competitors?

Stay in touch

It is very important to keep checking back in on experiences to ensure they remain engaging but more importantly to ensure that your audience–Millennials or otherwise–feel like they have a stake in the development of the experience.

Using tools of deeper understanding of your audience, your value proposition and the competitive landscape can wipe out the most persistent engagement challenge for any group, organization or experience.

Take the first step towards your future.

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