Forget the sell, 18 to 34-year-olds are looking for authenticity and compelling stories. Say Media’s Director of Solutions Carla Faria makes sense of recent research
If you want to market successfully to the current crop of 18 to 34-year-old Generation Y-ers – those all-important millennials – then content is king, but not just any content. As digital natives, who know their way around the internet and social media blindfolded, millennials don’t need or want brands to point them in a particular direction, they go exactly where they please. But give them the content they want, where they want it and they’ll show their love.
A recent survey of 100 millennial New Yorkers found that 81% had iPhones (not really surprising), 80% preferred reading books in print (quite surprising), while their most popular clothes outlet was a thrift store [to us Brits – a charity shop]. Instagram (73%) and Snapchat (56%) topped the social network popularity chart, with Twitter (44%), LinkedIn (39%) and Tumblr (31%) making up the top five.
If brands want to reach millennials they need to stop worrying about ‘having a presence on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram’ and start thinking about the types of conversation they want their brand to be part of at any given time, and then think about which influencer could best anchor that conversation.
Millennials are undoubtedly seeking engaging content and added value from brands, as revealed by the first Cassandra Report. It found that millennials are omnicultural, and want brands to tell great stories that are consistent across borders. They want to be treated as individuals, with brands tapping into their passions – not as a homogenous age group or nationality.
In practice, this means that if a mascara brand wants to be part of the beauty DIY revolution, it needs to make like a Zoella-style vlogger; if it wants to talk about the product’s staying power, it needs to be prepared to get down and dirty with a brand like xoVain, which might let one of its ‘stay out all night and party’ staffers show how well the product lasts the distance (and share exactly what they were doing while wearing the product!). Part of the desire to be ‘treated as individuals’ can be satisfied simply by letting a content creator reveal their frailties as well as their talents.
But content vehicle is important too. Doggedly tweeting about everything isn’t always the way to go. A certain audience may respond more powerfully to imagery, so Instagram or Snapchat should be the vehicle of choice.
Generation Y cares passionately about authenticity. This audience has taught us a great lesson: we all have a bullshit radar and increasingly, we’re not afraid to use it. We can smell over-sanitised content a mile away, so brands should feel brave about being truthful. No consumer minds a bit of honesty… in fact we fall at its feet. It’s honesty that drives rich conversation and that’s what we’re all after in the end, isn’t it?
By Carla Faria
Director of Solutions