Configuring Brand Strategy for Millennials
Millennials are constantly in the news it seems. Whether it’s spending on avocados instead of putting it away in a recurring deposit, putting their pets first while buying home or simply for being Netflix addicted couch potatoes. Generally put, the public opinion of millennials is low, with people finding them to be lazy, no ambition or drive and demanding a trophy just for showing up. Contrary to these beliefs, millennials are actually quite the opposite. Working longer hours than any generation before them while earning less (and spending more) and with less of a likelihood of enjoying future retirement plans. They are also the first generation to grow up with easy access to both the internet and social media. So as it turns out, millennials are now the largest generational demographic, changing the way companies are designing their brands. So how you appeal to these internet fiends, animal loving, avocado obsessed, meme sharers?
01. Story Telling
Millennials are attracted to a brand with substance and want to make sure they are associating with brands that have the same shared values and ideals that they do. As such, storytelling is one of the most powerful way to breathe life into your brand and a great tool for content marketing.
Storytelling is not inventing a story or simply dictating a narrative. In fact, it’s all the things why your business exists, how and why your products were made and your brand’s ongoing journey. This gives your products and service an identity, thereby taking your target audience on a journey and sharing with them an experience that shapes your culture.
It’s about building something that people care about. In order for your audience to form a real and a personal connection with your brand, your brand’s story must be relevant, authentic and inspirational. Example: Starbucks vs Cafe Coffee Day / Coffee Bean Tea Leaf. The story is the reason why people opt for Starbucks.
02. Digital First
Digital media is a vast spectrum and brands need to be careful while navigating. When done right, it’s a great way to build brand recognition via building trust, and staying open to a two-way communication, and most importantly, building on the network of digital communities. Millennials were the first to be exposed to the internet and smartphones.
Today Millennials spend anywhere between 4 to 6 hours every day online and use emails and social media channels, the majority of which is spent on social media platforms.
Hell for some of them, their jobs depend on it (tsk tsk). As so, digital media and channels are key when reaching and engaging with Millennials. In addition, digital platforms provide an excellent opportunity when it comes to targeting data. Millennials are always on the go with their work and social life. Getting them when they’re on the go is your best shot! With these segments in place, media can be used to deliver a tailored and relevant message to the right person, at the right time for maximum relevance.
03. Being Connected
Millennials were the first ones to meet smartphones. As such they grew up connected via the internet and social media and all of its camera, video – basically all things visual. They’re always plugged in, from the moment they wake up to the time they go back to bed. They sought for product research, reviews, prices, features, comparison online and they’re not afraid to share their experiences online. Their devices are pretty much their personal shopping assistants. If your customers love to post content, share pictures and stream videos, it makes sense to connect with them via visually appealing assets to promote your brand.
According to surveys, snack sized video content (psst. cat videos) are the most popular and consumable form of online content today which is again a great way for a brand to connect and share more about their products and services with their audience in a great way.
Don’t use digital media channels such as social media just for ads, instead, use it to communicate with the people who love your products and use social media as a customer service tool.
04. Engage and Empower
Millennials value co-creating products with brands they engage with. They love to participate and share inputs for products they wish to purchase. They like to feel a part of the process and are quick to share feedback, opinions and suggestions on new products.
Millennials also appreciate brands that are transparent. They will support brands that are human, make mistake and work on fixing those mistakes. However they won’t accept brands that hide away or play the blame game and take zero responsibility.
Hence, brands need to be more honest about the working of their business and shouldn’t shy away from showing some BTS (behind the scenes) every now and them to gain trust of their audiences.
Millennials value their individuality and uniqueness. They stand up for what they believe in and won’t shy away from saying no to what they don’t. They also value brand’s efforts to cater to them in a personal way. As such brands have a great opportunity to share products and services with a little bit more personalisation.
With Millennials looking for such experiences, brands can provide a personal advertising experience rather than generic ones by targeting ads based on consumer segment profiling and target audience filtering and the digital media provides an excellent opportunity to do so.
Consider Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign where they replaced the Coca Cola logo with names and inviting them to share the beverage with their loved ones. Small and medium business can be also get personalised on a small scale with personalised notes, understanding the consumer profiling of their audience and offering similar products.
06. Service Driven
Brands getting more personal before, during and post sale is what makes a brand attractive to the Millennials.
Around 56% of the millennials would leave brand loyalty for the dumps if they received bad after sales or terrible customer support.
So, think about your company’s customer service. Is it good for the always on the go audience? Quick and convenient to use? Accessible? If you’re answering to these no, you might want to reconsider these things. More than half of the population of millennials prefer options like live chat, Tweets, Instagram DM’s and Facebook messages and emailing to contacting customer service instead of speaking over the phone. If you can’t answer them on the go, it’s likely they’ll just go somewhere else.
07. Ethical and Inclusive Brand - Corporate Social Responsibility 2.0
Millennials have increasingly high expectations out of brands and expect authenticity, accountability, honesty, openness and emotionally rich experiences.
When it comes to these turn-of-the-century babies, you have to fight the good fight. They are the most socially aware and woke generation.
Millennials are conscious about the environment, social issues, sustainability, gender, race, diversity and sexual preference inclusivity so it’s no surprise they would embrace brands that are more into creating a positive landscape for the future and create a safe and just environment for everyone.
Companies who have done well with campaigns featuring a social angle are MAC with their Viva Glam ranges (money goes to those affected by HIV and aids) LinkedIn’s non-profit initiative, LinkedIn for Good, works with various organisations to connect underserved communities to economic opportunity. On a more local space, Tata Tea with the “Jaago Re” Campaign which aims to bring social awareness on various ongoing topics to people.
08. Embrace Experimental Design
With a higher education, early access to the internet and a larger social group, the millennial have cultivated a broader palate than generations before them. They want adventure, exotic tastes and don’t mind pushing the boundary. As such, brands are coming up with creative and innovative designs and concepts to everyday problems.
Depending on your product or service, you can push the boundaries of branding design, support progressive growth and individuality.
Millennials aren’t the lazy potato bums that they are portrayed to be contrary to what goes on in the media. They are headstrong and media savvy and If marketed well, they are very receptive. With the right content, product or service and great service, they’re likely to be a long and loyal customer.
Take it from the millennial who wrote this article!