More than any other descriptor, it seems the most fitting word for millennials is 'elusive.' Try as they might, people searching for adjectives to describe this generation seem to fumble all over themselves in the process. For marketing agents, the one thing that resonates across the board is this: millennials have a different relationship with brands than any other group of people in the past. So how do you become successful when branding to millenials?
The Driving Factor Behind Branding to Millennials
It's time to toss out any preconceived notions of marketing rules and instead get to know what makes this generation tick. After all, they represent the largest population of any generation (80 million) and carry a purchasing power of $170 billion a year in the United States alone. So what makes them form brand loyalty?
Hint: It may not be what you expect.
We've all heard the never-ending criticism of millennials. Despite all of the negative adjectives to describe this subset of people—lazy, entitled, etc.—the key to making millennials like your brand is simply authenticity.
Authentic Branding Is What Resonates With This Demographic
Authenticity? That doesn't seem so bad, does it? Here are the 4 secrets that you might be missing when it comes to creating and promoting an authentic identity:
1. Be Socially Conscious.
The most successful branding to millennials carries a message. Overall, this group is far more socially conscious than previous generations, and they want brands to reflect this. Seventy percent of millennials indicate that they would rather read about a brand than have the brand blatantly advertise to them. They want their favorite brands to commit to a cause, whether that be lessening their carbon footprint, refusing animal testing, treating employees well, or helping out the community. The idea that a company is transparent and authentic means a great deal.
2. Use Technology.
This generation grew up with the Internet readily accessible, so digital marketing is more effective than television advertisements. Go where your market is, and that's online. That doesn't mean that traditional marketing avenues are out. Just make sure that you utilize the full range of online possibilities and make sure that your entire strategy is cohesive.
Technology should still play a big role even outside of marketing. People in this age group are acutely aware of what technology can offer, and so they anticipate that brands will afford them authentic, customized services. They expect continual stimulation and immediate access to the entertainment and products that they want.
3. Interact With Them.
Most millennials want to feel informed and involved, not merely marketed to. They recognize the plethora of choices available to them, and they want you to recognize this as well. Show them how the product or service you offer will solve real problems; when you get feedback, acknowledge it by trying to do better. A newish company that excels in this area is Uber. Uber emphasizes endless possibilities, convenience, reliability, and most importantly, connections that people make by using their service.
4. Make It Easy.
Avoid trying to trap this generation into committing to your product or service in the long term. Unlike in years past, when marketers tried to recruit customers at a young age in hopes of keeping them loyal for years, this generation wants to experience everything with minimal commitment. Put your brand in their hands right away so that they can interact with it immediately. Don't demand long-term contracts; allow them to rent your product for a weekend and give them the freedom to speak with your experts without signing up for service. Trust that if your product or service is good enough, millennials will return.
5. Offer Perks.
Keep in mind that millennials crave recognition. Because that repeat business and those long-term connections are so difficult to establish, branding to millennials should involve recognizing customer loyalty and rewarding it with incentives to continue staying loyal. One way to think of this is to consider the prevalence of video games. Most popular games involve 'leveling up,' wherein you receive awards for advancing through the game. Consider how your company can reward customers if they continue using your products or services.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
With the vast number of channels companies have to interact with potential customers, there is tremendous opportunity for building more meaningful, authentic relationships. Expose yourself and your company's values. Don't merely state what you can offer; show and prove what you can offer. Millennials are a savvy, innovative group; the sooner you acknowledge this and shift your marketing paradigm, the better you'll be.
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