That's one reason why Kathy O'Brien, vice president of skin and marketing services at Unilever, the consumer goods conglomerate behind brands including Dove and Ben & Jerry's, is on a mission to better represent what it means to be a modern male.
"Only seven percent [of men] around the world feel that masculinity is accurately represented in media," O'Brien says. "If we all figured out a way to acknowledge and better represent men, all of us would benefit."
This number comes from a Unilever study that also says nine out of 10 men feel that their caring side is a sign of real strength and masculinity. Being a man is "no longer just about getting the girl," O'Brien says.
So Unilever began telling a new story through its fastest growing brand, Dove Men+Care, complete with a tearjerker ad that ran during the Super Bowl.
The company's "Real Strength" campaign encourages men to share their stories of strength and empowerment. "Men should be portrayed as parents [and] bright human beings," O'Brien says. "This caring side of men is actually a sign of strength."
Dove Men+Care generated two million social engagements, and the campaign was a trending topic on Twitter after its Super Bowl commercial ran. "Real stories in real time resonate," O'Brien says.
Like it or Not, Millennials Are Adults
Media giants like Mashable don't have to wrestle with the same problems as Unilever or Wells Fargo, but they do still have to work to tell stories that resonate and matter to audiences. In Mashable's case, those stories seem to matter a great deal. Mashable is capitalizing on this period of immense change and calamity with remarkable results: The company has 21 million social followers and sees three articles shared every second.
A third of the global population is composed of millennials, and "like it or not, they are the adults," says Stacy Martinet, CMO, Mashable.
It's important for brands to remember that the millennial generation came of age in an unstable economic environment, but this period was also defined by momentous innovation, Martinet says.
"They want to be part of something greater, bigger than themselves ... This generation more than any other has that self-awareness," Martinet says. "Your brand should anchor where your customers are living, and they're living online."
Mobile and social aren't just distribution channels, they're where people live today, she says. "It's not just marketing at them, we need to market to their values"
To be relevant is to be authentic, Martinet says. "Be good. Do good."
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