Minding the millennials
If you are a millennial, like yours truly, you would be used to the myriad of blame the world seems to put on our shoulders. We barely understand what’s happening around us, let alone understand how we are expected to act.
But who are these mysterious beings, the millennials? According to the Pew Research Centre, the millennials are the generation born roughly between 1981 and 1996. Nowadays, everyone talks about us, be it at a business conference or a family party. However, I believe that our generation is severely misjudged. People have this misconception that we are one of the two; ones who are couch potatoes sitting at home binging on the latest Netflix Originals; and ones who are just taking selfies and food photos like there’s no tomorrow. Always on the worse end of the blame game, we’re also the ones parents butter up when they need us to reset the Wi-Fi.
Despite being usually held at fault, we’re the ones everyone, even the brands, wants to cater to. This is because we have become the most important generational cohort of consumers. What’s interesting to see is how much brands struggle to sell themselves to millennials, and how often they fail, because they just can’t grasp who we are and what we truly want. We, in turn, love to take their failures and make them go viral for all the wrong reasons. Here’s a cringe-worthy local example to start off!
There is a major void between the millennials and all the older generations. This makes it a challenge for brands to persuade and satisfy us as a whole. If they want to catch our attention, they need to come up with something vivid. We don’t want them to complicate things, we just need the right message and an honest one. So, to give everyone a break, especially the brands who are desperately trying to associate with us, I’ve crafted an explainer to help them surf the waves.
We prefer budget-friendly products and services
Here’s a secret; we adore luxury. We still love Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, and so many more unattainable lifestyle brands. Here’s another secret; in general, we don’t get paid enough to afford them on a daily basis.
So, to get through life as blissfully as possible, we have settled to balance out our opportunity costs. Tips? Leave out the extra benefits and just get the job done. An excellent example of such a tactic that worked is budget airlines, such as AirAsia and EasyJet. They are often referred to as no-frills because they provide the cheapest services within the budget. Despite the cramped seats and extra charge for food and drinks, they are immensely popular among millennials because the fundamental need is served; to travel from point A to point B. The Baby Boomers and Gen Xs can keep their extra leg space.
The point is, try to keep your prices to a minimum while maintaining the quality; there’s a good chance that it will take off (an extra cookie for you for tolerating the pun).
We are tech-savvy
Most of us tend to be tech-savvy and can adapt to new innovations almost instantly. So, we recognize and appreciate it when brands combine an out-of-the-box approach with the latest technology. One of the most brilliant examples of marketers successfully and efficiently using emerging technology to catch our attention is by none other than Coca-Cola’s, who created the drinkable advertising campaign for Coke Zero.
Coca-Cola took a huge risk with its dynamic thinking, and they pulled it off flawlessly. Keep in mind though, that not all bizarre ideas will prosper. In fact, I personally feel that this particular experiential marketing campaign is a one-in-a-million that was carried out successfully. It’s not always going to be as easy to awe us with unthinkably advanced tech, and you may just end up losing a huge budget behind a campaign that left everyone confused.
We are always on social media
With the exception of a few, most millennials are very active on social media, especially on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube, in Bangladesh. According to the new 2018 Global Digital suite of reports prepared by We Are Social and Hootsuite, Bangladesh has over 30 million people that are active in social media, making up 18% of the population in the country. Predictably, most of these users are… you guessed it right; millennials.
Most brands have, by now, caught on to the fact that the cheapest yet effective form of exposure is through the internet. That’s why every other brand is trying to tag along with a social media “influencer”. You will find hundreds of “honest reviews” from the aforementioned influencers that connect with millennials more than traditional advertising. Why? Something I’m coming to a bit later.
However, it’s important to note that these social media platforms give everyone leeway to voice their opinions. One review can make or break a brand if it is coming from the right place.
We treasure authenticity and transparency
What do we avocado-loving, Snapchatting millennials value and cherish? Above everything else, it’s how “real” brands are with us.
As I mentioned, big brands are now approaching social media influencers to promote them. The reason is simply that we view these influencers to be on “our team” and tend to trust their opinions. Naturally, we assume they are far less biased than the ads that companies themselves create.
What I am essentially saying here is that we don’t expect or want to be fed fantasies and false promises. We want them to lay it down like it is; no lies. That’s the simplest way to gain our trust and earn our loyalty.
We are all activists on our own rights
If asked what I love about being a millennial, I would say that I’m proud to be part of a generation that actively supports social issues that have run down through the years. We work on breaking social stigmas such as racism and world hunger, to give ourselves, as well as the coming generations, a better world to live in. Therefore, if a brand works to support these causes, it will undoubtedly gain hundreds of loyal, forward-thinking customers.
Whisper, launched their Touch the Pickle Campaign in 2014, a drive to shed the age-old superstition of women on their period being a bad omen. It was undoubtedly a successful one, as it fought to break a major gender stereotype. Another, very recent ad that faced unfair backlash was Gillette’s The Best a Man Can Be ad. Both these brands earned huge respect from the mass audience because they dared to be outspoken about equal rights and breaking the shackles.
So, now you know how to churn some money out of us and dance the night away!