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5 Ways For Brands To Crack The Millennial Code

02/03/2016 2:58 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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When a segment of consumers numbers 700 million, they are no long just relevant. They set the tone for the market. That is the number of millennials in India today. And they groove to a very different beat from the generations before them. This is the most aware generation and one that has been in the midst of the biggest technology disruption of our times. For a brand to be successful today, it has to be favoured and backed by the millennials. In fact, you're more likely to win the lottery than have your brand make a mark without their acceptance.

Here are some things a marketer needs to keep in mind while wooing millennials.

1. They like being in the driving seat

Millennials prize independence more than anything, and as a recent study found, they are more entrepreneurial than other generations. This comes as no surprise as they like being in control. Technology has spoilt the consumer in the past few years and the millennial is a classic example of that. They expect brands to meet their expectations, and have little tolerance for those that don't. One glance at social media channels will throw light on how brands are being pulled up for falling short of their promise.

Traditional advertising as a vehicle for brands to communicate with consumers is past its expiry date, especially in the case of millennials.

Brands today need to be omnipresent across channels. Those who allow millennials to configure the experience of their engagement to suit their needs are the ones that will thrive. Video on demand is a great example of the change in TV- viewing behaviour in the past few years.

2. Content is everything

Traditional advertising as a vehicle for brands to communicate with consumers is past its expiry date, especially in the case of millennials. For this generation, it is all about exciting and engaging content. They will consume a TV spot because it is engaging content and not because it is a blatant sales message.

So, every marketing asset put out by a brand should be directed to drive engagement and build a relationship with the consumer. If that trusted connect is established, then a commercial relationship will ensue. Think of the relationship with the millennial as a marriage and not a one night stand. An apt example of brilliant content that comes to mind is the Volvo ad featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Although it was a product ad, it provided engaging and relevant content to consumers. Another great example of advertising that rivets consumers is the content put out by Red Bull.

3. Purpose as a competitive advantage

Millennials are attracted to the brand purpose and what it stands for. The purpose is as important as the product.

Brands that don't succeed in establishing an emotional relationship with millennials today will be outshone by others who do.

Some campaigns that have showcased the effective use of a larger purpose to elevate the brand to the next level include the Tata Tea 'Jaago-Re' campaign which adapts to various social causes, such as the importance of voting and women's rights. Another good example is Lifebuoy's Global Handwashing Day. Brands that don't succeed in establishing an emotional relationship with millennials today will be outshone by others who do.

4. Rent vs. buy

Millennials care more about their needs being satisfied than the ownership of a product. That is the reason brands like Spotify or Uber are thriving. The former is changing the way people consume music, while the latter is impacting car sales in developed markets. While thinking product strategy, it is critical for brands to ask if the same experience could be delivered to the consumer without making ownership a necessity. This in turn may result in millennials viewing your brand as one that is thinking of their convenience and thus give you a competitive advantage.

5. Digital is everything

Switch off the digital marketing lens and switch to the lens of Marketing in a Digital World. The millennials are digital natives and hence, view the world through a digital lens. A brand today needs to create an ecosystem of seamless connections that resonates with the consumer. Digital, today, is no longer a tick-in-the-box. It is bread and butter for a brand's survival. This is no longer the era of having a Facebook brand page to only load your TV ads.

Digital, today, is no longer a tick-in-the-box. It is bread and butter for a brand's survival.

Brands which are nimble and quick to adapt to these changing times and hone their engagement with millennials accordingly will have a chance to crack the elusive 'Millennial Code'. But first and foremost take time to understand and appreciate the millennial. It is only then that you can take the next step towards success.

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