As millennials take over the workforce and become the driving force of the economy, businesses are noticing that millennials are living their lives differently than previous generations. For most millennials, things no longer matter, experiences and purposes do. With this shift in values, the definition of success is being redefined from prosperity and stability to freedom and flexibility.

According to Harvard University Millennial employees value engagement, and a study by Cornerstone OnDemand found that the biggest motivator for changing positions was not financial incentive, but instead was the promise of purpose and fulfillment. According to Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Mobile, “The boundaries between work and higher purpose are merging into one” (Screw Business As Usual, 2017).

The biggest questions in the coming years will be; How will a “thing” driven economy look once people stop buying items, and instead focus their spending power on experiences? How will businesses need to position their products in order to earn the loyalty and support of customers?

Many businesses are beginning to try and bridge the divide between product and experience/purpose by focusing on lifestyle branding, or by getting behind social causes. In a study by Strandberg Consulting, who surveyed 32 companies, nearly half of the companies surveyed indicated that they had, or were developing, a social purpose.

If your business doesn’t have a clear plan on how to shift its values to match those of millennials, you could be left behind in the emerging experience/purpose driven economy.


  • Millennials are living their lives differently than previous generations
  • Success is being redefined from prosperity and stability to freedom and flexibility
  • An experiential/purpose driven economy is emerging
  • Nearly half of companies have, or are developing, a social purpose

Last modified: December 31, 2019

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