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Lean in (to relationships)

“Hard work pays off.”

The American dream is built upon the concept that you can achieve what you want through hard work, grit in hard times, and a pinch of luck. Fame, riches, and a lifetime of happiness abound for those that follow this mantra. Or does it?

Millennials are unsatisfied with the status of the workplace, they want somewhere they can make a contribution, lead, make an impact, and still have a life outside of work. They are ambitious but are unsatisfied with their options. They are facing the same engagement and dissatisfaction issues that young workers 80 years ago faced.

Results from the longest happiness study conducted, spanning 75 years, speak to this crisis of disengaged or partially disengaged workforce. It is especially enlightening, because the speaker mentioned that even though these people were successful or not, the greatest indicators of long-term health lived in relationships. Results of the Harvard Study of Adult Development include:

  • Good relationships keep us healthier and happier. – Health and brain functions decline sooner, and lives are shorter for people that are lonely.
  • It’s not the number of friends or relationships, but the quality of close relationships that matter. – High conflict marriages can be worse for health than divorce and the most happily partnered people in their 80’s considered themselves just as happy when they were in physical pain or not.
  • Good relationships protect out brains. – People that are in a securely attached relationship in their 80’s have memories that stay sharper longer.

So what does this mean for marketing?

Think about what relationships matter and help people tune into these kinds of benefits.

While not every product has a relationship aspect to it, there are plenty of products that are successful by promoting themselves as an activity to do with others. Coca Cola is great at this type of marketing.

Make relationship building easier.

Just sharing on Facebook isn’t enough to develop lasting social bonds. What type of content can you create that will help people develop bonds together outside of the social media space? This could also be an event or engagement type of marketing to drive people to an event. Exciting brand activations, like at SXSW, are something to look out for.

Think long term when developing marketing solutions.

Maybe silly bands are hot now, but they won’t always be. Think about longer term habits and conditions that turn products from a “nice to have” into a necessity. This could be by building on a habit or buy seeing how it can be incorporating into a new one. Relationship building is key to long-term success, but think – what else do people rely on for the long run?

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