MIAMI — Millennials put more trust in their fellow consumers than in brands — reinforcing how important it is for brands to engage in authentic and transparent communication — a prevailing theme throughout this year’s Global PR Summit.

Today’s session, moderated by Mitchell Communications CEO Elise Mitchell, involved an “open mic” conversation with Millennials Gabriela Lambertus from Wells Fargo and Rafael Sangiovanni from rbb. Taking into consideration the mounting economic and professional influence of Millennials, the panel sought ways to ease intergenerational communications.

“Labels are very restrictive,” said Sangiovanni. “Just because you are born in a certain era, it shouldn’t define you. Instead the focus should be on building trust and listening.”  

In professional situations, eschewing the traditional office hierarchy for a mentorship model will yield better work and more loyalty from this generation that is slated to make up 75% of the workforce by 2020.

“If you talk to a Millennial about work, you’ll see that compensation is as important as work-life balance,” said Lambertus. “We might be job hoppers but that’s because there are work environments that aren’t right for us. We want our bosses to be more like mentors.”

Feeling like their contribution has meaning and purpose and working within inclusive environments also ranks highly.

When it comes to spending their $170 billion in purchasing power, Millennials trust peer recommendations over brand speak. Rather than pushing products, brands should engage with Millennials in a two-way conversation.

“I’m not an online shopper — but I’m an online researcher,” Lambertus said. “I couldn’t care less what the brand tells me, for me, it’s about the people.”