With wages not reflecting the fact that Millenials are the most educated generation ever, passive income is a large topic of discussion when it comes to getting off the hamster wheel. This is heightened by the sharing economy of vacation homes, cars, and even work gear - practices that have been so popular with this generation of consumers that they are often referred to as “generation rent”. But if Millenials are so obsessed with passive income, then why are they the least invested generation in history?
Home-sharing websites have now become the norm, yet, in the past, real estate was considered one of the most difficult businesses to get into without a large starting sum - in addition to a very risky one. A bit like the stock market. The reason those home-sharing websites have done so well is because of the ease of use and immediacy in reward. In essence, if it was easier, less risky, and more immediate to acquire stocks, this typology of earning could suddenly become just as popular. We believe that a change in mindset is necessary to lead Millennials to their financially stable futures.
This does not mean a change in lifestyle. Just as peer-to-peer networks allow people to travel and experience more while earning passively, so do fractional shares present the opportunity to form a new kind of relationship between brands and people, where companies allow their consumers to share their value, as well as their values. And that’s how we see the future: fractional shares, or Bits of individual stocks, earned while shopping with the brands one already loves. By a customer passively earning fractional shares while doing what she/he already does, companies also benefit as their customers have yet another reason to shop with them. And while cashback rewards in return for loyalty are an immediate, tangible benefit for the consumer, Bits of stocks are transferable, long-lasting, and have no expiration date! And that’s the kind of loyalty brands should seek - one that sticks around for the long haul.
A Bit of stock can become an enduring commitment to a brand, allowing both brands and consumers to gain and engage without changing their current behaviors. This can develop an ownership mentality, where consumers feel empowered to be part of a brand’s destiny. Customers want to be part of the process in creating and shifting a company’s image: this has already been proven by the way social media has redefined marketing by allowing consumers to be influencers. By brands giving fractional shares of their stocks, their reward program would no longer be a one-way loyalty streak. Rather, it would become a multi-dimensional, robust relationship in which both parties actively engage as their futures are now intertwined.