How to build a brand for the next generation.
If you’re going to stand up to the burgeoning competition for the attention of the next dominant wave of consumers, there are a few things you should know.
First, the generation most commonly referred to as “Gen Y” or “Millennials” is a generation of individuals who have never had to make up their own mind about anything. In fact, 68% of them ask friends before choosing a restaurant.
There is also a segment within Gen Y called Boomerangs. These are the children of young Baby Boomers who have left the nest and come back. And, it should come as no surprise that parents with Boomerangs spend their money differently than Boomers with empty nests. For example, Boomers with kids who have returned to the roost are less likely to buy a new car and buy media online than their empty nested counterparts. (Experian 2011)
Additionally, Barkley, in partnership with The Boston Consulting Group and Service Management Group, has recently conducted a large-scale study called American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation.
Some of the findings are rather predictable. For instance, the study revealed that Millennials are into trendy food and prefer places with a variety of healthy food options. Surprisingly, though, they abandon healthy eating habits on the weekends.
Another interesting Millennial fun fact comes to us from MTV’s study of their digital habits. According to the study, two thirds feel it is inappropriate to post content with a political or religious slant. However, when Millennials want to engage in controversial activity, they will share controversial content such as music videos, stand-up and even advertising. More than half of them post videos or articles they agree with versus simply posting their opinion online.
These findings suggest that there are at least two things brands can do to have a better chance of appealing to what many are calling the “we” generation.
Experiment - A generation that can’t make up its own mind can readily identify with brands that, like them, are constantly reinventing themselves. They experiment with food and with the opinions of others. Experiment with your brand and invite them to participate.
Stand for something - Millennials will use content that projects an ideal as a “proxy” for their own expression of their personal opinion. Whether it’s a good cause or a stance on a social issue is neither her nor there. Just stand for something bigger than your product and you’re on the right track.
The Millennials will soon begin outspending Baby Boomers. Will your brand be ready when they are?