How would you like to be voted the most influential person of your generation? Influence can come from the most unusual places these days in our 24/7 connected culture. Below is a screenshot of the results of Time's online Poll: Who's The Most Influential Millennial?
Time's Most Influential Millennial Poll
 (Click the image to enlarge)

Move over Zuckerberg, Bieber and Jennifer Lawrence because Jenna Marbles is the most influential Millennial. Who!? Yeah, that's what I said too. My vote was for David Karp who created Tumblr which gives life to over 108 million blogs. 
Jenna Marbles is the most famous person you've never heard of. She is a 26 year old American entertainer and YouTube personality who is crushing it on YouTube with 9 million+ subscribers and 146 videos that have billions of views. I believe most of Time's online voters were Millennials or iGens (today's youngest generation) since a majority of older generations I asked had no idea who Jenna Marbles was. Even if Jenna intentionally mobilized her online tribe to vote for her, that in itself would prove her superior influential-ness.
After some research and YouTube watching, I believe I uncovered what make's Jenna so influential with the Millennials. If you lead a team of Millennials or market to Millennials, understanding what it takes to be influential in the eyes of the largest generation on the planet should be extremely valuable.
6 Needed Traits To Influence Millennials

  1. Transparent: Jenna is not afraid to share all aspects of her life. She shoots videos anytime, anywhere in her house and during her most vulnerable states (i.e. drunk and trying to put on make-up…don't ask). Today's social media tools allow leaders to create context around who they truly are as individuals. Context creates connection which leads to influence.
  2. Humorous: All of Jenna's videos are light hearted, comedic, crude and ridiculous. It's clear Jenna has fun and enjoys creating content for her viewers on the "Internet machine." Overly serious and/or rigid communication will not resonate as well with the Millennials. Humor is a universal language, leverage it to connect with Millennials.
  3. Self-Deprecating: Jenna definitely does not take herself to seriously…at times telling her viewers "I'm alone" to justify her quirky personality. The ability to laugh at yourself has always been an admirable trait and it's an easy way to build rapport and deepen the connection with your Millennial audience.
  4. Authentic: Jenna is unapologetic and speaks her mind. She keeps the same voice and persona on video as she does on her blog, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Facebook and in interviews. Communicating across numerous platforms requires that you keep a consistent and authentic voice.
  5. Consistent: Jenna uploads new videos every Wednesday. To create an influential brand in this digital age, you have to create content consistency. At least once per week (no matter the content), because let's face it, you're not going to follow a blog or publication that publishes something once every 3 months.
  6. Relevant: Jenna has a strong and vibrant web presence. She achieved great influence via the relevant platform of YouTube and she integrates new platforms (i.e. Vine, Instagram) as they gain traction. To connect with the next generations, you must leverage relevant next generation tools.
Jenna didn't create a must-have app, or the next big social network or invent a new charity…she simply invited viewers into her mind and world. Essentially she has created tons of context online that people who have never met her, now feel like they know and trust her. Thus making her The Most Influential Millennial.
Question: What other traits does it take to influence Millennials?


Ryan Jenkins



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