Finding your way through the Millennial maze: Wing Man knows how

Published on October 18, 2017

It’s no coincidence Wing’s surname is Man. She is like a matchmaker between brands and millennials, the genius behind catchy one-liners and smooth talk that will make millennials tick. But more than that, as part of the Ngrane family, Wing is our coach for all things millennial. After her corporate job created her own burn-out, Wing came across the lost-in-life dilemmas that many of her generation have faced. She tells us “Basically, I have learned the hard way on how to pick yourself up again, how not to live by approval from others and how to be kinder to myself. Also on how to find my purpose and make full use of my talents.”

Not knowing where to go for help has given Wing the first-hand experience that inspired 3310.s, a school to make the lives of fellow millennials easier. And with businesses going mad for the attention of millennials, who wouldn’t want to find out more about how to tap into this eponymous generation? We talk to her about all things millennial: who they are, what interests them and how 3310 is ticking all the right millennial boxes.

“Basically, I have learned the hard way on how to pick yourself up again, how not to live by approval from others and how to be kinder to myself.”

3310 School for Millennials

Looking for happiness, finding choice

When I asked Wing to describe who exactly the millennial is, she answered, “There isn’t one archetype millennial. What ties this generation is a much broader sense of transition.” Spanning 15-20 years (there is an ongoing debate about the confines of this age group), across different social classes and cultures, it makes sense there aren’t prototype millennials walking around in trance of exactly the same apps, drinking overpriced Flat Whites and passionate about the same brands. Wing tells us “Even if we just look at Amsterdam, we can’t say that a 25-year-old Snapchat enthusiast and a 34-year-old startup founder should always be marketed to in the same way. But you can say that they have experienced similar if not the same things, coming across the same challenges and searching for the same enlightenment.”

Instead of a unified identity, this generation (much like any other) is defined by a broader social, economic and political unification. “Millennials have all gone through the same transition of growing up without technology and emerging into a digital evolution with the blink of an eye,” says Wing. As guinea pigs of the technological revolution, they became adults in not only one of the worst economic recessions but in a world where choices were in extreme overload. As Wing puts it “Things changed rapidly for us. The route to success was no longer simple. Going to a good school, getting a good job, a family and house were no longer the key success signifiers. We were taught to search for happiness, not money, but in return all this did was overcomplicate things.” Income, the burn-out.

3310 School for Millennials

The ‘Always on’ generation

LinkedIn invitations, 5 pm Instagram posts, office happy hours, morning Pilates, catching up on the latest NYT article… the list goes on. “We want, need and have just about anything; creating endless choices and expectations” says Wing. Indeed, we want to feed Thursday night dinner conversation with tales of our buzzing social life and unique jobs. Yet, more importantly, we want an Instagram feed that perfectly captures and literally filters our days into likable content. With a generation that is in the grips of social media, it often feels like there is always someone scrolling through your feed or checking on that spelling mistake you tweeted. Or worse, judging you when you’re slacking off on your millennial duties.

“Being ‘always on’ does not only apply to our digital lives, it counts for every aspect of our day. We’re not spared any breathing room.”

Go on LinkedIn and you won’t find a job description that doesn’t say “not a 9 to 5 mentality” as one of the criteria for an ideal candidate. Work trickles into our evening hours like never before, as Wing puts it: “Being ‘always on’ does not only apply to our digital lives, it counts for every aspect of our day. We’re not spared any breathing room in between. It drains our mental capacity and energy levels: that’s what causes burn-outs.” She goes on to say that “Now when you ask people ‘Hey how are you doing?’ The answer is almost always: Tired or busy. That really got me thinking: there is something fundamentally wrong in the way we are living.”

3310 School for Millennials

From burnouts to flaming hot life skills

To help ease these generations problems, such as burn-outs, Wing started the 3310 school: a school for grown-ups you actually want to go to. She says that “You don’t have to teach us how to use a smartphone, but we do want to learn how to keep a healthy work-life balance. With 3310, I aspire to help fellow Millennials with my experience to make our lives easier for ourselves.”

Am I doing what I love? How do I put myself on the map without boasting? How do I deal with unwanted feedback? These are all questions that weren’t answered in our days at school and often not easy to find answers to now. As Wing puts it “Unless you have found the meaning of life, why stop learning?”

3310 School for Millennials

Don’t go chasing waterfalls

As there is no millennial prototype but a broader sense unification, getting the attention of millennials is about tapping into the generational challenges. 3310 school may be a literal translation of problem-solving, but if you’re a brand and looking to connect with millennials the same will count for you. We can learn from Wing and her school that as a brand, you need to have a good understanding of what this generation is put up against.

“We can learn from Wing and her school that as a brand, you need to have a good understanding of what this generation is put up against.”

There’s one more thing that has created a bond between millennials: an intoxicating cocktail of nostalgia and pop-culture. And Wing has the perfect recipe for throwback themes and languages in the way her brand communicates. “The name 3310 actually came from the old Nokia 3310 that was the ‘it’ phone for a while. Nostalgia can tie us together, we all loved that phone, we can all relate to Gameboy obsessions and sing along to Craig David.” Wing has cleverly used this to create a connection and engagement between her and her millennial audience.

Turns out brands and ultimately fussed-over generation are equally lost in the ‘millennial maze’. Finding a meeting point somewhere in there is not an easy feat. Try reading up on what they’re going through, talking to millennials or if you’re a Millennial yourself, contemplate on where you and your friends feel lost in. Understanding millennials on a ‘meta-level’ will foster loyalty and build meaningful relationships. To stay in the 90s lane, it’ll make sure you ‘don’t go chasing waterfalls’.

Check out 3310 for more millennial know-how, see you at the next workshop?

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About the author

Annabel van Eijk
Annabel van Eijk

Copywriter and Content Advisor, Annabel has got engaging stories at her fingertips. She is a digital native with a flair for fashion and lifestyle brands, blending branding expertise with a creative panache. Having travelled and lived around the world, she’s always gathering diverse inspiration to help her fuel unique brand voices.

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