More Anything? More Everything! -- Millennials & The More Movement

08/30/2011 12:19 pm ET | Updated Oct 30, 2011

What do you expect?

Ask someone that question and I think what you will find is that expectations are on the rise. I want more out of my marriage, my career, my car, and my investments. I want my employer to care about the community as much as they care about profit. I want The Bachelorette to pick JP and not Ben (Go ahead and click. You know you want to.). I want my president to be Green. I want my president to single-handedly lower the price of oil. You know, expectations within reason.

Are we entitled to want more? Of course we are. That's the American way and will continue to be even after we become part of China. This movement though, this "More Movement" that is underway as a parallel path to capitalistic ideals, is being driven by millennials and, in particular, by two of their characteristics:

1. They want to feel good about what they're doing and where they're spending.

Employees are entering the workplace and are willing to make a sacrifice to get more value and rewards outside of monetary return. "What is the CSR strategy at the company?" is a question hiring managers are hearing almost daily from Gen Y. They want to be part of something different in an environment that makes them feel good. This includes working from home, quick advancement and salary increase, but also charitable contributions, community outreach and flat out recognition for what they have done.

2. They want control.

It is in their role as consumer that Generation Y is truly changing expectations and how these are managed. In a study by Ford in association with Twitter, millennials' expectations as consumers were sliced and diced. Millennials want brands to enable self-expression, connectivity, gamification, access and brand as content. Price and relevancy are the table stakes. This consumer wants skin in the game; they want a say in what they buy, when they buy it, and, of course, how much they pay. To say that the consumer is in control is an understatement along the lines as the statement that congressional bickering is a small roadblock.

Smart brands understand that the consumer is in the driver's sear and embrace it -- Apple, American Express, and Starbucks are great examples. Hell, even Obama knew. Access? Self-Expression? Connectivity? Yes we can, but only if we use Facebook and YouTube.

The daily deal sites, however, are an X Factor. They are rolling across the more movement, overwhelming consumers with constant advertising and a tidal wave of offers not seen since permission based email was all the rage. The problem? They understand pricing, sure, but what about the model says access, connectivity or self-expression?

Quirky emails and copywriting don't go far enough for Generation Y, which can see past the mental image of the world's most interesting man taking tango lessons to the true end game: real value, reward and recognition. Those are the pillars of what brands and, not surprisingly, politicians, need to deliver to this audience. There is more research on this topic already than can be read. But is it really that hard? Isn't it just common sense that people want as much as they can get out of any relationship they commit to? Of course it is. But as people demand more they seem to be getting less.

Would you expect any differently?