If you are interested in growing a Millennial audience, then you can learn a lot from considering which brands they love, and how you can replicate their key strategies.
Interestingly, the most important learnings might not come from the brands you would most expect to see in this list. Some of the brands, that have enhanced their relevance, may actually surprise you. Our infographic shows the brands that have grown their connection with Millennials, most significantly in the 12 months to June 2017. Some are obvious, but Adidas, Delta, Lyft and Twitter, may be unexpected. Some (and by that I mean Uber) have won out, despite some very unhelpful public relations. Perhaps product and brand, with momentum, can trump even these significant shot term hurdles.
Some of the brands are winners, because at the heart of their customer experience, are two very important factors that resonate with this audience: Convenience and Contemporary Relevance (the desire to adopt new ways of doing). While others, like Adidas and Delta, have been very specific with their segmentation and gone about the process of building relevance and trust, via a systematic and consistent set of communications. This is the key learning, that all brands should adopt.
Unlike previous generations, Millennials are not accepting of advertising messages, conceived on Madison Avenue. They demand consistency, relevance and genuine communications. They also really connect with original content. You need to entertain and add value to the experience, if you want real connection. The information age ensures that there is no way for brands to "fake it". You are not what you say you are, you are what you do.
Adidas is one of the top improvers, so how did they do it. Lets examine a segment, that was no chore for me to talk about: football.
Adidas outperformed Nike, their arch rival, by a factor of 70% at the last Football World Cup, in terms of engagement and conversation. This was no accident. It was the culmination of 18 months of careful planning, the collection of quality content and assets from across the globe, a planned approach to this important live event, and the use of data to measure and execute.
When the Netherlands went ahead of Spain in the opening game, they had key content from players, coaches and commentators, that could be dropped into the global conversation, at exactly the right moment. An interview or a quote from a key player (who just scored a goal) that spoke to the heart of their passion for the game, fanned the flames naturally. Was that an accident. No, they had exactly the same content for a Spain win, because they were prepared. Being prepared for all eventualities, monitoring the trend, and the live sentiment, made it possible to leverage the maximum effect.
Not all brands have that budget, set of assets, or a global audience. But that type of planning can be applied on any scale, with significant benefits. Any content program, thought out like that, and delivered on trend, will radically outperform a random or pre-planned content program. By all means, have a planned content program to communicate key messages, but why not build a bank of content that speaks to a specific audience, and deploy that content when you see a conversation spike on a key topic. Importantly, cover your bases, so you can be ready to speak to the purpose. On that fateful day in 2014, Dutch Millennials with a passion for football, were talking about their heroes, and Adidas gave them the fuel to join the conversation.
Adidas had lots of original content. They tapped into a passion in their audience, and they delivered value and entertainment in the consumption. This is the goal of connection on scale, with any audience, but particularly an audience that has grown up with this expectation.
Whether you are a start-up surf brand following a live surf competition, or an entertainment blogger attending a movie premiere, there's opportunities that present themselves all the time. Start thinking about opportunities that are relevant to your audience and customers, and plan ahead to be live and maximise the opportunity, regardless of the outcome.
Yes it takes time to prepare great content, but fortunately technology like @Metigy makes it easier to spot the trend, time the release, and maximise the benefit from your valuable work.
David has developed deep marketing domain expertise and is passionate about shaping the role technology is having on the marketing function. Formerly a Managing Partner of We Are Social (the largest global social agency), Regional Director APAC for McCann Erickson WorldGroup's digital business, and Managing Director of The Brave Group (an early pioneer in digital marketing), he is driven by the idea that technology can make marketing fun
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