Brand Buzz: Millennials & Brands
In case you missed Brand Buzz with Jaci Russo on KPEL 96.5 this morning at 7:40AM, here’s what we covered:
Some of this content is from Jeff Fromm’s article in AdAge titled “How to Get Millennials to Love and Share Your Product” (dated August 14, 2013). Read the original post here:http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/millennials-love-brand/243624/
Let’s face it: Millennials have grown up while the world at large still views them as young and unattached. And now, many have kids of their own. The lesson here is that millennials aren’t necessarily who you think they are. That’s a tough pill to swallow for brands that want to target millennials. But millennials are a perpetually moving target that deserves ongoing study.
But if your brand is targeting millennials and seeking to engage them, here are five lessons to keep in mind:
1. They celebrate brand purpose. Millennials are one of the most compassionate generations with regard to social issues. They will seek out and buy brands that support a cause that aligns with their values. When you analyze brands they love — Whole Foods Market, TOMS, Chipotle — each is strongly connected with a social purpose. The purchase then makes the buyer feel better about him or herself.
2. They want a personal connection. Millennials don’t want to be spoken to; they demand to be spoken with. They engage with brands that allow them to make personal connections. Want an example? Look no further than hashtags. Hashtagging on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. let’s you see who else referenced your “thing.” Many brands (most notably TV shows like Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Scandal) can attribute much of their success to grassroots social-media efforts. Viewer connection has become such an integral part of the TV experience and it speaks volumes for what millennials want.
3. They embrace disruption. Vice, DollarShaveClub.com. Kanye West. Enough said.
4. They accept difference. Brands like Dove are winning with millennials, while brands like Abercrombie & Fitch are faltering. While the old adage “sex sells” can ring true for any generation, it’s in its stance on personal confidence and acceptance that A&F falters. As this generation continues to mature, brands that portray a message of negativity and body image shaming will look more and more archaic. At the start of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, some critics felt it seemed false for a beauty brand to promote acceptance of superficial flaws. By facing this challenge head-on and offering a solution embedded in the brand, Dove is able to inspire confidence in its audience. Almost a decade later, Dove continues to create messages that resonate with Millennial.
5. They expect a dialogue. The days of pushing a brand message only through storytelling are over. Brands must embrace a two-way dialogue and feedback-loop-closure. Give consumers the opportunity to co-create products, services (or ideas if you are starting a movement); the experiences by which the products/services/ideas are delivered and enjoyed; and the marketing and social-media messages.
Brands that talk back understand that consumers who act as participants feel better about themselves when they support a brand and share with their peers. And that they are the most influential and passionate consumers.
The truth is: All millennial trends will be applicable to every brand. But brands that understand millennial behavior can reach them.
Oh, and don’t forget: Brand Buzz with Jaci Russo on 96.5 KPEL has moved to the Monday morning drive! The show is now at 7:40AM every Monday, so be sure to tune in on your way to work.