At 26 years old, I don’t fit the profile of a typical PR agency owner. I was even more out of place when I started my company at age 23. Fueled by naive ambition, a boost of confidence after winning PRWeek’s Student of the Year award, and a desire to make a difference, I set off into the wild world of entrepreneurship 13 months after earning my degree with little idea of what I was getting myself into.
Looking back from where I sit today, with a downtown office, a business partner, and a team of six, I’m still somewhat surprised that my plan to build a successful small agency in my early 20s has come to fruition. The odds certainly were not in my favor.
While my age and that of my young team has brought challenges, it is also the thing that has been crucial to our success.
This advantage starts with the fact that we’re all digital natives. Because we’ve grown up online, we’re as comfortable building a campaign around social, search, and blogging as we are running a traditional media relations program. While we may not have years of experience, we’ve attracted clients by living on the leading edge of an industry revolution that to us feels like second nature.
But digital literacy hasn’t been the most important contributor to our success. I give that credit to our focus on social impact. There is a great deal of data confirming what we’ve all been sensing for a while: Consumers are increasingly prioritizing causes when making purchasing decisions. According to Nielsen, 50% of global consumers are willing to reward companies that give back to society by paying more for their goods and services. These numbers are even stronger among Millennials.
We’ve built our firm around serving these shifting consumer preferences. We work exclusively with organizations that want to make a positive social impact, and our cause-conscious clients are attracted to us because of our Millennial mission-driven mentality.
As our generation grows up to become the consumer majority, we only expect this trend toward cause-conscious capitalism to grow. So if you’re a Millennial who wants to make it in PR, have heart. Your age might be more help than hindrance. And if you’re a company aiming to reach increasingly connected and cause-conscious consumers, take notice of Millennials who can help you get there.
Alyssa Conrardy is cofounder of Prosper Strategies.