Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mastering The Youth Equation

I took a quick weekend trip to Dubai, a city where I spent my youth, to visit my “chuddy buddies”, many of whom moved to the US around the time I did but decided to come back home to join and run their family businesses. Some of them shared their struggle with taking over from their dads because of the generational gap and different visions and approaches to running a business. On one side you have the wisdom of experience and on the other you have the “Connected Generation” who take technology for granted and focus on “new age”  business practices that are defined by open, collaborative, flexible and socially and environmentally responsible.  My father was a businessman also and if he were still alive today and running his business, I am sure he and I would have tussled over many of the same issues.

Coincidentally, I also spent the weekend preparing a presentation I delivered this week at the Youth Marketing Forum in Mumbai.  Now, you must be wondering what the regional CMO of a B2B brand that is over 100 years old would have to say at such about targeting the youth, right? Believe or not, this is the single most important thing I think about in my role as Desi CMO. This is the youth equation:

Business performance is a function of customer experience
+ Customer experience is primarily driven by employee engagement
+ The IBM brand is experienced by the IBMer
+ Over two thirds of the IBM India Workforce are Millenials/GenY
= Designing effective employee engagement initiatives for the Gen Y IBMer will be critical for business performance.

Checkout the presentation:

It relies of many of the interesting findings from the 2012 IBM Student Study and the IBM CEO Study. One key area I focus on is how critical corporate responsibility is for the millennials and that CEOs today are underestimating the importance of the role of CSR in attracting, recruiting, retaining and motivating millennial employees. This is a key area of focus for IBM which is the reason we launched Desicorps last year to communicate our CSR efforts both internally and externally. I am extremely proud of this initiative and all the IBMers that contributed to it. It’s nice to see that the Student Study validates the importance of this initiative!  Millennial input welcome!

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