BACK TO THE START: MILLENNIAL BRAND CONNECTIONSThe Cause and Effect of Millennials’ Upbringing on Consumer Behavior
ANOTHER MILLENNIALS ARTICLE?Everyone has been searching for the Rosetta Stone to finally crack the code onthe Millennials (born 1977–1994 according to the US Census). It seems likeevery week someone publishes an article about who the Millennials are, whatmakes them tick, how to reach them,and why they are so…ENTITLEDOVERLY CONFIDENTPAMPEREDSHELTEREDTECHNOLOGY-OBSESSEDATTENTION-DEFICITNON-COMPETITIVEThis document explores why Millennials behave they waythey do and offers insights into the understanding of the upbringingof this “hard-to-pin-down” generation.
WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?NEARLY 80 MILLION MILLENNIALS MAKE UP MORETHAN ¼ OF THE US POPULATION.• As Millennials grow in the job market and in purchasing power, marketers are looking for ways to influence their spending.• Millennials form strong brand loyalties — 70% come back to brands they truly love. The 8095 Exchange, Edelman Digital Report, 2010.• They are considering and starting to make bigger life-decision purchases.• As major cultural influencers, this generation has the potential to influence other generations in a meaningful way.MILLENNIAL PURCHASING POWER MILLENNIAL WORKFORCEPARTICIPATION Millennials are arising power in the US workforce.2014 202046%36%$500 BILLION INDIRECT$200 BILLION DIRECTMillennials have a strong influence overtheir parents’ spending.GARTNER RESEARCH, 2008
UNDERSTANDING MILLENNIALS: UPBRINGINGTo fully understand why Millennials act the way they do and how brands can effectively communicatewith them, it is important to consider what factors influenced their behavior.BEHAVIORSPAMPEREDSHELTEREDOPTIMISTICENTITLEDBEHAVIORSNON-COMPETITIVEMINDFULNESSTEAM-ORIENTEDPOLITICALLY CORRECTBEHAVIORSSOCIAL IDENTITYFAST-PACEDINFO-HUNGRYATTENTION-DEFICITBEHAVIORSTHRIFTYRESOURCEFULREALISTICPRIORITIZED
BECAUSE PARENTS WERE…• Hyper-present parents, ensuring their safety in every situation.• Overly involved in children’s school and personal lives.• Anti-spanking, anti-bullying, anti-risk-taking.MILLENNIALS ARE…• PAMPERED – Accustomed to getting what they want,whenever they want it.• SHELTERED – Lack of experience with hardships and failures.• OPTIMISTIC – Expectant of positive outcomes in any context.• ENTITLED – Attitude of unprecedented ownership or divineright to “something.” BRANDS SHOULD…• Adopt A CONSUMER-CENTRIC MENTALITY, via delivery of EXCLUSIVE EXPERIENCES and USEABLE REWARDS (Nordstrom – free fashion stylist advice).• Offer products and services that are CUSTOMIZED and PERSONALIZED to suit individual needs (Nike ID – customized shoes).• Appeal to Millennials’ acceptance of brands their parents love — NOSTALGIC RELEVANCEto their “happy childhood” (Converse Chuck Taylors).UPBRINGING: HELICOPTER PARENT INFLUENCE
BECAUSE MILLENNIALS…• Grew up as “trophy kids,” rewarded for participation vs. merit.• Were taught not to discriminate toward others based on individual shortcomings, and that group success outweighed individual success.MILLENNIALS ARE…• NON-COMPETITIVE – Working together instead of in opposition.• MINDFUL – Understanding the impact of their actions upon society.• TEAM-ORIENTED – Able to work effectively and cooperatively inside and across groups.• POLITICALLY CORRECT – More sensitive to issues regarding tolerance and human rights.UPBRINGING: “EVERYONE WINS” PHILOSOPHYBRANDS SHOULD…• Incorporate product features/promotions that are COMMUNITY-MINDED and allow customers to BENEFIT SOCIETY through their purchase (TOMS – matching pair to child in need).• UTILIZE CROWD-SOURCING to inspire COLLECTIVE GOALS with incentives for all (Home Depot – Facebook fans vote on a deserving charity to receive $25K).
BECAUSE MILLENNIALS…• Have never experienced a non-digital world, growing up with rapidly evolving technologies.• Are constantly plugged in and engaged with technology and social media. + 83% of Millennials sleep next to their mobile devices. Pew Research Center, Millennials Study, 2010. + Multi-tasking is second-nature.MILLENNIALS ARE…• SOCIAL IDENTITY – Online profiles used as expression of self.• FAST-PACED – Accustomed to fast-moving interfaces to perform necessary tasks.• INFO-HUNGRY – Demand instantaneous information at their fingertips.• ATTENTION-DEFICIT – Decreased attention span due to regular multi-tasking.UPBRINGING: DIGITAL NATIVES BRANDS SHOULD…• Build STREAMLINED USER EXPERIENCES, facilitating SIMPLICITY and SPEED(Starbucks – in-store mobile payment system).• Integrate REAL-TIME UPDATESto keep customers CONNECTEDand to HOLD THEIR ATTENTION (Domino’s – “pizza tracker”).• Develop INTRIGUING ONLINE CONTENT to appeal to and nurture Millennials’ SOCIAL IDENTITY(Puma – The World of Puma website features running and fitness best practices).
BECAUSE MILLENNIALS…• Raised in an era of strong family disposable income and a thriving housing market.• Faced with a Recession (2008) that was a reality check for their high optimism. + Increased student debt, unemployment, financial constraints.MILLENNIALS ARE…• THRIFTY– Changing shopping habits, seeking value over brand name.• RESOURCEFUL– Utilize all available information to make wise decisions.• REALISTIC– Have a less naïve approach to adjust inside present economic realities.• PRIORITIZED– Make decisions on new set of prioritized standards — value, quality, relevant to me.UPBRINGING: ECONOMIC ROLLER COASTER GUARD RAILS BRANDS SHOULD…• BE TRANSPARENTand HONEST in order to will gain trust and build loyalty (Patagonia – provide “The Good” and “The Bad” environmental footprint features).• Develop a “HUMAN” brand to overcome big business skepticism (Miracle Whip – “We’re not for Everyone”).
THE RIGHT BRAND EXPERIENCE CAN DELIVER CRITICAL BENEFITSBrand benefits must be true to the connection opportunities for Millennials to engage and participate with the brand. Failure to meet the needs ofMillennials will result in brand disengagement, as shown by messaging flops such as Burger King’s Mary J. Blige chicken commercial and JC Penney’sfailed “Everyday Low Prices” initiative.BRAND CONNECTION OPPORTUNITIESEXCLUSIVITYPERSONALIZATIONNOSTALGIC BRAND VALUEBRAND BENEFITSPERSONAL-EXPRESSION“MADE FOR ME”BRAND CONNECTION OPPORTUNITIESCOMMUNITYPARTICIPATIONOPENNESSBRAND BENEFITSCOMMUNITYSHAREABILITYPERSONAL REWARDBRAND CONNECTION OPPORTUNITIESCONNECTIONSTREAMLINEDREAL-TIMEBRAND BENEFITSSEAMLESS-EXPERIENCEIMMEDIATE GRATIFICATIONBRAND CONNECTION OPPORTUNITIESTRANSPARENCYHONESTY“HUMAN” ASPECTBRAND BENEFITSVALIDATIONEMPOWERMENTSECURITY
BRAND EXPERIENCE OPPORTUNITIESEXCLUSIVITYPERSONALIZATIONPARTICIPATIONREAL-TIMEBRAND BENEFITSPERSONAL-EXPRESSION“MADE FOR ME”COMMUNITYSHAREABILITYCASE STUDY: LAY’S POTATO CHIPS• In July 2012, Lay’s introduced the “Do Us A Flavor” Campaign, in which fans were asked to submit NEW POTATO CHIP FLAVOR IDEAS, to attract online engagement via crowd-sourcing.• ThecontestTARGETEDMILLENNIALSthroughFacebook,invitingthemtosubmitchipflavorideas online, then vote on their favorite chip flavor idea.• The brand INTERACTED WITH FANSvia Facebook and sought advice from fans on new product ideas through online conversation.• Chip flavor finalists WERE RECOGNIZED AND AWARDED PRIZESwhile all FANS RECEIVED COUPONS UPON ENGAGEMENT.• The crowd-sourced campaign received 3.8 million submissions and drove trial/sales throughout the duration of the contest.
BRAND EXPERIENCE OPPORTUNITIESCOMMUNITYPARTICIPATIONOPENNESS“HUMAN” ASPECTTRANSPARENCYCONNECTIONBRAND BENEFITSCOMMUNITYSHAREABILITYSEAMLESS EXPERIENCEEMPOWERMENTCASE STUDY: ZIPCAR• ZipCar is a car-sharing company that charges by-the-hour to use one of their fuel-efficient cars.• The program allows users to communicate via phone, website, or mobile app, which can CONNECTand pinpoint the locations of other ZipCar users.• Mobile integration through the app helps to SIMPLIFY THE SHARING PROCESSbetween users.• Once a customer has finished using a ZipCar, it will be parked and PASSED ON TO A NEW CUSTOMER.• One of the advantages ZipCar claims is the REDUCED CARBON FOOTPRINT that a community can have by lowering the number of drivers.
BRAND EXPERIENCE OPPORTUNITIESCONNECTIONSTREAMLINEDREAL-TIMECOMMUNITYPARTICIPATIONOPENNESSBRAND BENEFITSCOMMUNITYSHAREABILITYSEAMLESS EXPERIENCEPERSONAL EXPRESSIONCASE STUDY: RED BULL• For years, Red Bull has remained one of the top brands among Millennial men.• Instead of focusing on the energy drink itself, RED BULL ATTRACTS ENGAGEMENT THROUGH ITS“EPIC” CONTENT MARKETING.• Videos, articles, games and music to appeal to the younger generation and has ACCUMULATED THOUSANDS OF SHARES AND LIKES.• The Red Bull “Stratos Live Jump” and Art of Flight skiing film are examples of the viral nature of Red Bull’s content.• The EASY-TO-USE WEB AND MOBILE INTERFACE ALLOWS USERS TO VIEW AND SHARE CONTENT EFFORTLESSLY.• The tagline, “Red Bull Gives You Wings” offers aspirational brand MESSAGING, encouraging fans to grab the bull by the horns.
BRAND EXPERIENCE OPPORTUNITIESTRANSPARENCYHONESTY“HUMAN” ASPECTCOMMUNITYPARTICIPATIONOPENNESSCUSTOMIZATIONBRAND BENEFITSEMPOWERMENTSECURITYCOMMUNITYSHAREABILITYCASE STUDY: CHIPOTLE• Chipotle was founded on the strategy of targeting Millennials by developing a REPUTATION FOR A HEALTHIER FAST-CASUAL OPTIONthan its competitors, using only local and organic products.• Initially, Chipotle spread its message using non-traditional media, understanding that “MILLENNIALS VIEW THE LACK OF TV AS MORE AUTHENTIC AND ARE LIKELY TO DISMISS A LOT OF CLAIMS.”• The “BACK TO THE START” ONLINE VIDEOfeaturing Coldplay’s “The Scientist” telling the story behind Chipotle’s local and organic background has accumulated over 7 MILLION VIEWS.• The Farm Team rewards program offers DISCOUNTS that can be obtained through online quiz scores BASED ON SUSTAINABILITY AND ORGANIC FARMING KNOWLEDGE.• Last year, Chipotle saw 23 percent sales increase and an 11 percent same-store increase.
IF NOTHING ELSE, KNOW THIS…• Ongoing interest by brands and marketers in tapping into the Millennial generation is not unexpected. This age group is simply too large in size and market influence to be ignored.• In order to fully comprehend why Millennials act the way they do, a focus on their behavioral development is necessary to identify how they react to certain stressors.• Behavioral trends resulting from their upbringing give us direction on how to connect with Millennials, as well as understanding the potential benefits brands can provide and leverage throughout all transactions.• Brands like Lay’s, ZipCar, Red Bull, and Chipotle have demonstrated how to effectively communicate with the Millennial generation.• This is an age of omni-channel retailing and multi-device connection. Brands must strive to understand every aspect of the Millennial generation to reach them successfully. It is critical to consistently watch, learn, adapt and adjust on an ongoing basis in order to keep up and stay connected with this “hard-to-pin-down” generation.