Kate Fitzpatrick, e3 Senior Strategist presented this at the British Marine Seminar. Kate looks at the millennial behaviour and how this affects brands engagement in relation to data, personalisation, and tone-of-voice.
But what I’m really here to do this morning is to set the scene for the day. I mentioned that a key part of my role is getting under the skin of people, by better understanding their needs, attitudes and behaviours – which I don’t have to tell you is tremendously important as it we find ourselves in a customer-centric age were consumers have much more power.
And it has been the behaviour of one demographic in particular that has been causing disruption within marketing for the last couple of years or so. That demographic being the much referenced ‘millennials’ causing marketers to reappraise their approaches.
Over the next 20 minutes or so I’ll be talking about;
Who millennials actually are What traits, if any, bind or typify their behaviour And what that means for you Also discuss a few examples of organisations shaping their marketing around millennials
Love or hate the term as marketers we talk a lot about millennials. Why?
Known by numerous different names (Gen Y, echo boomers, Generation Me) the term millennial has been used since the late 80s when it was coined to describe the generational group that was to follow Generation X. Although no exact date range exists it is broadly agreed by researchers that a millennial is someone born in the early 80’s up to the year 2000. So anyone today from 16 – 34 which is a pretty large group of people
Infact: In the UK 1 in 4 adults is categorised as a millennial and by 2019 they will number 17 million They have been acknowledged as the largest consumer generation ever Adopting and adapting to new technologies at a higher rate than previous generations AND AS SUCH THEY ARE…Typically regarded as bellwether group – catalyst for mass market adoption and if any behaviour is to be monitored – it’s theirs
However, a challenge presents itself in the face that millennial is such as catch all term. Trying to categorise what will number 17 million people is like grouping people by horoscope.
Any everyone inbetweenAnd this has already happened: A broad range of behaviours and beliefs have been attributed to the 16–34-year-old cohort. They have been identified, stereotyped and analysed in myriad and often contradictory ways. They’re selfish and they’re sharing; they’re lazy and they’re entrepreneurial. They’re labelled “boomerang” kids, yet some are just barely old enough to have left their parents’ home in the first place.
One end: people still at school, largely financial dependent on parents, limited experience of work environment
Other end: A lot less financially dependent on parents, living out of home, may own house have children, 10+ work
Need to extremely careful to distinguish between insights which are specific to this demographic and those which hold true for young adults in any age
SO IS THERE ANY SENSE TO BE MADE? YES
There are broadly three distinguishing themes that influence the behaviours that are common across the millennial group despite demographic differences.
Experience – it’s all about what they do, not what they have
Status through experience
We find ourselves in quite a different time than the 80’s when consumers were arguably defined by what they earned or what they owned – and that was how social status could be determined. However, the perception of what is valuable has shifted. Now it’s the experience that exists around a product or brand that now makes it increasingly desirable or at the very least preferable.
Nike recognised this earlier than most [as you can see from their changing ads].
The idea of ‘an experience’ having more meaning than a physical item – is something which has been increasingly reported about over the past couple of years with studies from the likes of PwC producing compelling stats to back it up.
They show millennials more than any other generation are actively searching out experiences over the ownership of a material good and they are more willing to trade their hard earned cash. For them experiences are a badge of honour and digital technology driven by mobile and social has only strengthened this.
The most successful brands deliver experiences that are grounded in personalisation. The better a brand knows a customer the better the experience they can deliver and it’s this customer interface that may brands today are fighting for.
Value Exchange – won’t do something for nothing
What’s in it for me?
Very much linked to the idea of personalisation and better experience, is the concept of value exchange – between a consumer and a brand. And today that exchange hinges very heavily on data sharing.
In order to deliver more nuanced marketing communications, brands need data. Millennials as a group are savvy to even the best marketers’ efforts to get this. So you need to work hard. Despite recent notable privacy breeches they seem undaunted about sharing as they have quickly come to understand there is great value in their data and it is indeed a currency they are willing to trade in as the rewards, can be significant. But what you offer has to be relevant for them.
Take Dominos, they have taken the experience of ordering your favourite pizza to the next level. Gone is the time when you have to scroll through a menu, select your crust, side and toppings instead it’s as simple as picking up a mobile phone and posting a pizza emoji on Twitter for your favourite flavour to land at your door. All Dominos ask is set up your preferences will them online beforehand to enjoy this service.
And it’s worked extremely well, personal details and pizza preferences have been shared in their droves all to enable millennials to experience the convenience of tweeting for your dinner.
Information, influence and finding purpose
The final theme to reference is around the idea of information and influence. Millennials are information hungry and as Bauer found they are superb knowledge gatherers, who like to ensure they are making the right choices for themselves and others. They are all about authenticity and transparency looking at various sources of information for validation before making a decision whether that’s purchasing or otherwise. If there is a hint of anything hidden or unclear they lose interest. The more open you are they more loyal they are likely to be.
They seek out others like themselves and aren’t afraid to engage in conversation, ask questions or promote their own opinion – often to help others. They are very much motivated by the idea of social purpose and positive contribution which extends to wanting to get involved with a brand’s story.
The desire to seek out information and know more about a brand’s story has very much meant that millennials relationships with brands have become more like partnerships with ideas like co-creation being embraced more readily. I’m going to touch on the element of purpose and transparency with some of the examples I’m discussing.
Of these three unifying elements something stands out; uniqueness and individuality. From the desire for personalisation to wanting to be in control of decision making. A lot is based on their terms and to suit their situation. They expect brands to work hard to attract their attention and recognise them as individuals. A lot unites, but more makes them individual which is the key learning to take.
So with those three themes in mind who is making steps towards effectively connecting with millennials and who isn’t – it’s not always the most obvious organisations.
TOMS I think most people know about TOMs shoes, they have been around since the early 2000’s. The idea is that for every pair of shoes sold, TOMS would donate a pair to someone in need. The concept of ‘one for one’ – is something that has now been adopted by a number of companies. They appeal largely to millennials because they have a sense of purpose, and work for social good
What? Consumers are very much involved with the TOMS story they can share their stories, experiences, and photos as a way to raise awareness. They are part of the brand story. Their website and social channels allow customer to see their donations in action – appearing completely transparent and genuine. In fact, the company’s founder Blake Mycoskie often replies and retweets fans and the company is very much theirs as it is his.
For instance, their latest UK campaign to run this Summer is #styleyoursole – with sole trader in the UK across the summer at large shopping centres
Why are they great as marketing to millennials? TOMS clearly recognises what motivates millennials – social purpose – and also understands how they like to interact with a brand.
Experience and involvement is high on the agenda but they don’t forget the concept of individuality. There is a TOMS for everyone.
What? Chipotle are an American fast food (or as they prefer to be called casual dining) chain with brands across US, Canada and Europe. Operate under the mission statement of Food with Integrity . They quickly came to realise that their offering had limited appeal to a millennial audience and had to adapt their marketing to recognise this.
Why are they great as marketing to millennials? As we’ve discussed with TOMs purpose matters. Around 5 years ago they started placing much greater emphasis on the quality of their food and their story has been built around the freshness and integrity of their ingredients. It was of the first casual restaurants to make freshness a cornerstone of its marketing efforts. This involved heroing the farmers they work with, sharing their opinion on GM ingredients. They shunned the more expensive media channels that their rivals frequently used – as it was seen as less authentic and difficult to connect with by millennial audiences.
They wanted to be meaningful in the way they spoke to their consumer; so invested heavily in owned media. This started with video content, explaining their story starting in 2011 with going back to the start then the launch of the Scarecrow in 2013. Most recently they launched Farmed and Dangerous – a 4-part web serial streamed on Hulu. Tied it in with prizes. It’s working at a more grassroots level to build support too, like with its Cultivate food and music festival and its Farm Team loyalty program both are focused on humane food sourcing and organic farming.
All of things combined are very much at the heart of what Chipotle do – increasing the awareness about the provenance of food
6.35 million people watched it in 2 weeks
Our goal for “The Scarecrow” is to bring awareness of important issues to a broader audience, and we hope it entertains you as much as it makes you think
Coldplay's haunting classic 'The Scientist' is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson for the soundtrack of the short film entitled, "Back to the Start." Download the song now available on iTunes. Label and proceeds benefit The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation.http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-...The film, by film-maker Johnny Kelly, depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system.
Experience was at the heart of last year’s summer campaign for Malibu relevant to its target of young millennials. It was clear that Malibu needed to start approaching summer just as its target audience did, eschewing the usual beach and palm tree communication clichés, in favour of helping young drinkers get the most out of the season.
It built on the documentation of memorable summer experiences its target audience was already sharing on social media with the ‘Best Summer Ever’ campaign.
At its heart was a bespoke YouTube hub fed by user-generated content, featuring a challenge to five strangers to share a 40-day trip round Europe and the States, ticking off ‘summer bucket list’ activities. Importantly, the YouTube community directly influenced the content. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/case-studies/malibus-best-summer-ever-takes-youtube-by-storm.html
I wanted to highlight the work of a well-known brand who have been around since the 60’s this year launch a new brand look and feel to attract the children of the baby boomers, it used to serve.
Does anyone want to guess who it is?
TGI Friday’s – launched this look in the states to try and tackle Starbuck’s dominance. They want to be the place that connects everyone socially starting with the setting, moving to menu and out into social channels
When it goes wrong… House of Fraser #Emojinal social media campaign Stronger in – Votin’ campaign
TONE AND LANGUAGE ARE THE BIGGEST ISSUE
I wanted to finish this session with a list of considerations to make when approaching any campaigns or content for millennials. Digital is key to their relationship with a brand. They are heavy consumers of digital content which they consume whilst moving from device to device.
As a brand you need to:
Listen – can’t over emphasis the need for primary research Lead with content not device; what is the right kind of content and channel Be authentic; they’ll soon find out if you’re not Don’t forget the others… gen z, k and the baby boomers Deliver an experience – however simple
Identify uniqueness – consider them as 1 group at your peril. Don’t speak to them as a homogenous group but a group of people with a similar mindset that is driven by value, experience and purpose.
No more is this better encapsulated than by Android…
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