By Amy Hunag, PR Intern
With over $200 billion in buying power and representing a fourth of the population, it is a smart investment for brands to be targeting Millennials. However, what many brands don’t understand before jumping on the bandwagon is how to target us. Almost all brands that do not traditionally target Millennials are wasting big bucks on TV commercial spots and spamming our Facebook feeds. These strategies in my opinion no longer work in a competitive market to target audiences and instead come across too aggressively or just not being creative enough. The main reason these traditional tactics no longer work is because brands aren’t thinking like a Millennial. Look at brands that are doing well catering to Millennials, they understand us for who we are. Like the Jungle Book song goes, “I wanna be like you, I wanna walk like you, talk like you, too!”
There are many brands that are doing well catering to Millennials and here are some of their successful strategies that I think all brands should be following to get Millennials on their side:
Engage and Interact
Just like any other millennial, my mind is always racing a million miles per minute. For brands to grab our attention, they need to captivate us in a short amount of time. Brands today just don’t do that for me. For example, when I am watching TV, I get annoyed seeing ads for Burger King or a new model for Jeep. There’s a difference between putting the product in front of our faces and really allowing us to engage with the product. Millennials (and even customers in general) enjoy being personally recognized from brands and that impact goes a long way. My favorite example of this is when Wendy’s roasted people on Twitter and the world found it so funny that it’s now a meme. Or more simply, when your favorite artist tweets out to you or a company readdresses your complaint. It’s like when I tweeted to Frankie Phoenix, a small online boutique about a damaged product I received and they were happy to ship a new one to me. Just having that direct engagement is meaningful (especially when you can incorporate humor) because it humanizes a brand and makes it seem like they care about you as a customer. Small things like this make me a loyal customer.
However, engaging with your consumers is not a new trend to brands. To stand out, brands need to be creative in finding ways to be more interactive. A great example of being interactive is having pop up booths at events or having a presence outside the ordinary environment. One day on my college campus, Coca- Cola set up a Huggable Vending Machine. The words “Hug me” were printed on the front and when the machine was hugged, you received a free can of Coke. It was completely random, but neat to see people hugging a machine. My friends and I laughed about it all day and you could hear students on campus buzzing about it. Millennials love things like this because they can share their unique experience with others. Word of mouth goes a long way for a brand.
We aren’t about that celeb life style
Having celebrities plastered on every ad nowadays no longer works because we realize we can’t really connect nor compare to the lives of celebrities. Instead, companies are utilizing brand ambassadors to promote their brand. A brand ambassador is someone who loves your product enough to endorse it. The idea is brilliant because you hear about the product first hand from people just like you. I’ve actually witnessed this marketing tactic many times on my college campus. Many people on my college campus are Love Your Melon brand ambassadors or Campus Crews. They found students who were dedicated to improving the lives of children batting cancer and used it as a driving force for selling hats. This is a strategy that beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands have used by reaching out to influencers, especially YouTube bloggers. One of the great things about YouTube is that you can physically see your favorite influencers using the product and incorporating it in their everyday lives. One of my favorite YouTube bloggers, Aspyn Ovard showcased Hellofresh and just because of her, I tried it out. I could see packaging of the product as well as how fresh the ingredients were and the easy instruction pamphlets. As someone who is skeptical about having fresh food delivered, it was nice to see someone else try it out first.
It’s all about ME! ME! ME!
As a Millennial, I love being spontaneous and products that offer that surprise element are even better. How does a brand do this? Look at brands like Blue Apron, BirchBox, StitchFix, among many others. What these brands all have in common is that they incorporate the brand into the individual lives of people. I love brands that are customizable because it fits my needs exactly. With BirchBox, I can select products that I love and are interested in trying out and every month receive something different. Think of it like opening a Christmas present—surprising, but you know it’s something you will actually like!
“There’s an app for that.”
–For most brands, they have an app. And if you don’t have an app, all brands should have a website that is at least mobile friendly. In this day and age, I am surprised to find some sites still do not have this! Nothing bothers me more than to see brands (especially retail stores) that do not have websites that are adaptable to our mobile phones #firstworldproblems. Ninety-eight percent of Millennials own smartphones, which means we are always at some point looking at our phones. One time I saw an ad for Romwe, an oversees clothing store that I had never heard and when I went to search for it, the site wasn’t mobile friendly so it was a huge turn off. I immediately stopped scrolling on the site because it was slow and frustrating. In addition, the site had blurry images and was inconsistent. It was a red flag to me that the site was sketchy. In addition to having a mobile friendly site, it is now unacceptable to have a site that is boring or unattractive too. Although people say you shouldn’t judge physical appearance, Millennials say you should.