Building Relevance with Millennials - Brand Ingenuity
February 9, 2012
by Laurence Knight
Many big brands are struggling to maintain relevance with Millennials. A huge shift in attitudes and behaviors of Millennials versus Gen X and Boomers has left brands flailing to understand this 'Enigma Generation', and struggling to maintain credibility.
Why is it so hard for big brands? First, it's difficult to characterize Millennials; they have been defined in so many conflicting ways: they've been complimented as the generation that "over the next decade, will entirely recast the image of youth from downbeat and alienated, to upbeat and engaged." On the flip side, they've been criticized as ”naive, self-obsessed, perpetually plugged in, over-indulged by Boomer parents, and incapable of making decisions on their own".
Now add to these conflicting views, the 'mother of all recessions' that has shaken their attitudes towards asset ownership and big business, and left them with an extremely 'sensitive radar' when it comes to assessing the credibility of big brands and detecting BS.
For the past few years, Fletcher Knight has continued to deepen our insight work with Millennials, successfully defining their attitudes and needs across a broad range of categories. In this article, we headline an essential set of guidelines that has proven to be very effective in helping big brands target Millennials in meaningful and credible ways.
1. Be Part of Their Story - Instead of trying to pigeonhole them as a generation, accept that Millennials as individuals are establishing their own unique Foundational Identity. They are defining themselves in a world where exploring multiplicity of character is easy, and you therefore need to understand how your brand intimately fits into specific aspects of a Millennial's life and character. To do this, look for Whole Person Insights that give you a broader perspective of need-states, wants and desires across their complete lives; use these insights to uniquely define how your brand becomes part of their story.
2. Define the Core Drivers of Authenticity for your Brand– Millennials have unique and new perspectives on how to define authenticity – they compartmentalize brands very quickly, and they demand that authentic brands, both classic and progressive, demonstrate incredible Ingenuity. Across all our consumer insight work with Millennials, Brand Ingenuity has consistently emerged as a top driver across Eight Core Drivers of Authenticity.
3. And finally, Position Brands for Experience-Based Opportunities. The 'Doer Generation’ is interested primarily in experiences; make sure your brand offers real experiences that have context through easily understood 'cultural reference points’.