According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, there are approximately 18.2 million veterans in the United States.
That’s 18.2 million opportunities to connect to American society’s vast and diverse landscape; a formidable community that stands resolute. This resilient collective comprises active-duty members, veterans, military spouses, dependents, and supporters. What sets it apart is their unwavering commitment to service and the treasure trove of technical and soft skills that they bring to the table—a veritable goldmine of potential. Yet, astonishingly, this remarkable resource largely remains untapped.
Over the past year, we’ve embarked on a journey alongside several visionary clients. Our mission? To reach out, engage, and connect with military-affiliated individuals in ways that resonate deeply. We’ve discovered something remarkable – a way of connecting with them that requires being real, showing respect, and understanding their unique blend of life experiences and dreams.
Mastering the Art of Connecting with Military-Connected People
Avoiding the Traps of Tropes
One cardinal rule when engaging with the military-affiliated is to navigate the minefield of stereotypes and tropes with finesse. This community is different; they come from various backgrounds, have different skills, and like different things. Pigeoning veterans or military spouses into predefined molds is a disservice to their diversity. Instead, take the time to unravel each individual’s unique journey and let their stories and aspirations guide your connection.
Unveiling Their Passions
You must dive beneath the surface to forge a genuine connection with military-affiliated individuals.
Veterans, reservists, and military spouses are not defined solely by their time in uniform. They are driven by passions, interests, and aspirations that stretch far beyond the boundaries of military life. Delve deep to uncover what truly ignites their souls—is it the thrill of innovation, the canvas of creativity, the challenge of problem-solving, or the art of building meaningful relationships? Tailoring your message to align with their passions creates a connection that reverberates on a profound level.
Focus on Community Connection
Military service forges bonds that transcend time and distance—a powerful sense of community, camaraderie, and trust. When you talk to people connected to the military, it’s important to recognize and respect their shared experiences.
It’s more than just an experience; it’s a shared journey. Demonstrating your understanding of their collective experiences can be the cornerstone of an enduring bond. But don’t stop there—create avenues for them to reconnect with peers who’ve walked similar paths. This sense of belonging can be the driving force behind their decisions.
Trust is the bedrock upon which meaningful connections are built. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon, requiring careful cultivation over time.
Military-connected individuals often rely on the wisdom of their fellow service members when making life-altering decisions, be it pursuing education or career opportunities. To gain their trust, you must consistently show strong support for their community. Provide spaces for them to engage in meaningful conversations with trusted peers and mentors. Position yourself as an accessible and steadfast ally by consistently demonstrating your unwavering commitment to their welfare.
Delving Deeper into Opportunities
Military Spouses: A Reservoir of Untapped Talent
Hidden within the folds of the military community lies a treasure trove—the military spouses. These unsung heroes often defer their aspirations to support their loved ones’ service. Yet, beneath their selflessness lies an incredible wellspring of talent and dedication. Many military spouses deeply desire to further their education or enhance their skill sets. They yearn for opportunities that offer flexible, accessible learning modalities tailored to their unique needs. Recognize their potential, design programs that cater to their circumstances, and unlock a talent pool that remains hidden no more.
Veterans and Reservists: Diverse Passions, Unique Stories
It’s a common misconception to confine veterans and reservists within the boundaries of their military occupational specialties. This group comes from different backgrounds and has lots of different interests. We should stop thinking that someone who used to be in the Air Force must only like aircraft technology. Instead, invest time in understanding their motivations—innovation, creativity, problem-solving, or relationship-building.
What To Do with These Insights?
3fold Communications provides real business results for our clients by affecting change in brands, communities, and lives. We bring performance to cause marketing, from education to workforce development, rallying the public into action to reaching niche groups with crucial information.