How branding can help you reach the next generation
As written by a Millennial
There are 79 million millennials (born between 1980-2000) in the U.S. compared to 48 million generation Xers (born between 1965-1980), and in the next 5 years, millennials will have more spending power than any generation—$170 billion.
You can’t avoid them, so how do you face them?
We’ve outlined a few tips. However, at the end of the day, Personify believes it comes down to connections. You need to meet millennials where they are at and create a meaningful experience.
Millennials want to feel a stake in your brand and create a personal experience. You want them to as well. How else are you going to get them to buy into your brand? Ask them to get involved or add a personal touch. You’ll be surprised by the response.
Example: Not only do Millennials appreciate Airbnb’s revolution of the hotel business and significant cost savings, they also resonate with the personal experience of staying in someone’s home. Hosts often go out of their way to insure guests are happy with the accommodations, and millennials are often more considerate and respectful of personal spaces. The platform also encourages users to share through comments and ratings, allowing millennials to buy into the brand and share their personal experiences.
CREATE A TRANSPARENT ENVIRONMENT
Millennials want to feel valued. Even at a young age with relatively little experience, they want their opinions to matter. They also value honesty and mentorship. That’s why large companies with huge perks and benefits have won the hearts of so many.
Example: Large tech companies such as Google, Apple, and Facebook have a relatively flat hierarchy, which is attractive to Millennials looking to make an impact and gain mentorship from experienced professionals. They also have crazy perks on their campuses—think free live music from top artists, free food, and free gym facilities. Did you notice another pattern there, too?
ALIGN WITH A CAUSE
Millennials want to feel a part of something bigger—contribute to a larger purpose. Growing up in a time of economic instability has led this generation to believe in “paying it forward”. Millennials want to be associated with brands that are making a difference.
Example: Toms shoe brand found huge success with millennials. It is recognized for their buy one, get one mentality—buy a pair of shoes for yourself and give a pair to a person in need.
95% of millennials say that friends are the most credible source of product information. So, I hate to break it to you, but your traditional advertising methods aren’t going to captivate this audience. Especially since only 6% of millennials consider online advertising to be credible. Instead, they’re looking for your brand to stand out, disrupt the clutter of everyday marketing and create something entirely new.
Example: All millennials will remember the hilarious “Your man could smell like this” Old Spice campaign. It became a viral sensation practically overnight. Currently it still has well over 50 million views. At it’s peak the “Old Spice Man” came to life and interacted with users via social media. This was such a huge departure for Old Spice and the personal care market. Millennials couldn’t help but laugh and share it with their friends.
CAPITALIZE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
With traditional online ads getting overlooked by millennials, it is time to step up your authentic social media presence. 83% of millennials say sponsored stories make their social media experience worse. However, word of mouth is real with this group. 91% of millennials would consider purchasing a product if a friend recommended it. These digital natives are scrolling through tons of content a day—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Email. Although they have short attention spans, they see right through your advertising efforts. This means your message needs to stand out with a clear directive or ditch the words altogether and opt for a video.
Example: What began as a series of Snapchat videos between high school students commenting on fashion with the phrases “Damn Daniel” and “Back at it again with the white Vans,” soon went viral as it was shared hundreds of thousands of times across all social media platforms. While it didn’t start a sponsored ad campaign, it proves not to under estimate the millennial’s aptitude for videos and willingness to share with friends. Now, many brands have capitalized on it’s success with brands such as Clorox alluding to the trend in their advertising.
After years of trying to fit a mold, millennials are stepping out. With LGBT and race issues at the heart of large conversations today, millennials are looking to be accepted for who they are, and you should too. This generation will respect brands who are not afraid to be themselves. You don’t have to be one for all anymore, pick an niche and gain respect from this generation.
Example: Started by the founders of popular social media accounts @thefatjewish and @whitegrlproblems, White Girl Rose capitalizes on their success within this niche market. It speaks directly to the millennial market in a funny and unapologetic way they resonate and interact with. Their brand name and flip language may offend some, but their target respect their out-of-the-box approach.
CREATE A LIFESTYLE
A brand is more than just a logo these days. It’s about creating a lifestyle. Whether its aspirational or attainable, you need to create a larger than life persona to let millennials know you get it and you are with them.
Example: While Netflix did not set out to spearhead the millennial hook up culture, the Netflix and chill concept has become a social media sensation. Now, the brand name is being used as a verb. While Netflix didn’t set out to capitalize on this trend, it is brand recognition with millennials across the country. Not a bad deal.
CONNECTIONS: Meet them where they are at
That’s what it is all about. Millennials aren’t going to seek you. They are already inundated with information. Instead, head to social media with a striking message and stand out graphics, be willing to give back, or create a story they want to share. Evolve with the times, but focus on yourself to create a brand millennials want to be associated with. I bet you’ll be surprised with what some clever connections will do.