Four ways industry is changing fast to engage the digital native generation through the work, life, community, wellness mindset


A new consumer mindset inspired by the digital native generation is profoundly changing the way our society approaches "doing good" as part of a healthy lifestyle. Here's what's going on:

  • Fueled by technology and social media, community impact has become intertwined with the way consumers judge brands, make purchasing decisions, choose an employer, give to charity, invest assets, and make health care decisions.
  • This "work-life-community-wellness" mindset is beginning to define the way we live and work.
  • The digital native generation--people born after 1983--is already a population of 80 million and growing. In an era where Uber, Amazon, and crowdfunding have become the norm, this generation has very different expectations for access, service, and cost from companies with which they do business.

Check out these industry trends to see how things are changing--fast:

1. Trending in the healthcare sector

Technology continues to drive a consumer-centric healthcare mindset, moving away from the hospital and clinic mindset. Here's how::

  • "Inside" technology. In 2013, for example, the top new technology breakthroughs included robotic telepresence in hospitals, Watson in medical practice, social media in hospitals, robot exoskeletons, Google glasses, and genome sequencing for under $1000. In 2017, this list looked a lot different.
  • "Outside" technology. Last year, the top new technologies deployed in health care included artificial intelligence, patient/provider platforms, transplants, remote testing, advanced therapies, 3D drug printing, and personalized dosing. Indeed, technology is causing care to move out of the traditional hospital or clinic setting. 
  • New definition of "health." Market changes continue to indicate that the emerging consumer's definition of “health” is influenced by work-life-community wellness factors, including social impact. As a result, the connections between wellness and a consumer’s physical health, mental health, and social impact behaviors are defining 21st century health care.
  • New data is needed. Consumer perspectives about the broader roles that health and community play in their lives present a key factor to interpreting and applying rich stores of pharmacy, medical, and behavioral data. This, in turn, will better optimize how to interpret consumer data for better patient health outcomes and more cost-effective treatments.

2. Trending in the philanthropy sector

The entry of the socially-conscious digital native generation into the workforce has failed to make a difference in the social sector. Here's how this is playing out:

  • Supply and demand disconnect. The number of charities has more than doubled from 654,186 in 1996 to more than 1.6 million today. According to Giving USA, at end of 1999, dollars flowing from philanthropy to these organizations stood at 2.1% of GDP. And that's exactly where it sits now, at 2.1%. Supply and demand are out of balance.
  • Increasing social consciousness. At the same time, the data points are consistently documented in dozens of studies showing that Americans are committed to philanthropy and want to make a difference.
  • Donor power. There is perhaps no better example of the shifting philanthropic mindset than the rapid rise in popularity of the donor-advised fund. According to a report issued in 2016 by the National Philanthropic Trust, contributions to donor-advised funds hit an all-time high of $22.6 billion in 2015. This represents a record-setting 8.4% of total giving in America. Assets held in donor-advised funds now tops $78 billion, which is more than double the 2011 level of total assets which was just over $38 billion. The total number of donor-advised funds in 2015 was 269,180, up 11% from the year before. By comparison, the 81,802 private foundations in the U.S. grew at only 3% year-over-year. Donor-advised funds are quickly becoming the charitable planning tool of choice, showing us that people enjoy getting involved with their own giving and pursuing philanthropy, by doing it their way

3. Trending in the workplace

With 94% of millennials reporting that they want to use their talents for doing good, employers are starting to pay attention to "doing good" in the workplace.

Here's what you might be seeing:. 

  • Employees want to celebrate "doing good." If you are in charge of a community engagement program at your company, you're no doubt seeing the new mindset at work when you ask your employees about the ways they prefer to do good and you get an overwhelmingly positive response.
  • Employees want employers to pay attention to it. The positive response you get is because you are reinforcing your understanding that freedom in philanthropic pursuits is a driving force in their lives, and you are signaling that your company will honor employee passions for making a difference..

This employee-centric approach is good for business, according to studies:

  • 87% staff turnover reduction in companies with high engagement
  • 88% of new job seekers choose employers with a high employee engagement
  • 20% improvement in financial performance in companies with high employee engagement

4. Trending in the consumer goods sector

Advertising firms are very aware that 90% of consumers want to purchase products and services from companies that support social impact. The evidence is everywhere:

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No matter what your profession or business, it's time to get in touch with the emerging work-life-community-mindset. Don't let your target audience engagement strategies fall behind. Seek out and adopt effective tools to gather, analyze, and use contemporary behavioral and cultural data to drive your business growth.