May 1, 2015 By integrate

Understanding Millennials

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In the past year or so, there has been a noticeable shift in messaging and branding techniques used by communication and marketing professionals to capture the minds of a generation that is quickly becoming the largest consumer population in the country. Millennials (born between the early 1980’s and 2000’s) are reaching peak spending years and, as the first generation to come of age during the rapid integration of social media and constant connection into our daily lives, professionals tasked with promoting a brands message, product or service are pushing their content in innovative ways with the intent of connecting with this younger, tech-savvy audience. Love it or hate it, Millennials absorb news and information in 140 characters or less, prefer messaging in the form of photos rather than reading long articles, and are more likely than any other group to act on emotion when making purchasing decisions. So what can brands to grasp the attention span of the ADD Millennial generation? Read on to see how some of the country’s largest brands are staying ahead of the curve.

All of the feels!

As previously stated above, we (I, myself, am a Millennial) are deeply in-tune to our emotions. We are very observant about the meaning behind things. By “things”, I mean ads, photos, products, etc. We’re always dissecting what Drake really means in his lyrics and we care about the causes brands align themselves with. Anyone remember watching the Super Bowl commercials and wondering why all of the commercials were incredibly emotional? Millennials, that’s why. Almost every commercial tugged on the viewers’ heartstrings. Twitter was flooded with deep thoughts and expressions of emotions on Facebook were trending from sadness one minute and happiness the next. Advertisers and marketers understand that millennials are the world’s current and biggest consumers. We appreciate when a brand’s messaging pushes the envelope of societal norms and seeks to enact change. We also appreciate the humor behind a llama, puppy or cat joke. We’re not complicated, just emotional, and the most successful brands tap into our diverse emotions because emotional connection drives sharing. You want to trend on Twitter or come remotely close to “breaking the internet?” Appeal to our emotions.

Pictures or it didn’t happen

Millennials are incredibly visual people. Take a look at the ads below. From first glance, the visual components of the 2015 ad, compared to the 1980’s ad, are much more enticing. While the 1980’s ad has the product front and center, the 2015 ad shines the spotlight on the people. The ad grabs you with visually appealing colors, graphics and, most importantly, it tells the story of the people shown. It doesn’t take long to understand the ladies are having a fantastic time and the idea is to make you want to be that person enjoying that product. We are a generation that coined the term, “pictures or it didn’t happen.” Even if it’s a staged ad, we want to see the impact of a product, idea, or service. Unless we’re being introduced to a completely new and innovation product or idea, we don’t need an explanation of it’s purpose; we want to see it in action. We want to see a little bit of ourselves in the photo, video or meme and we want to see how it will impact our lives. Call us self-centered, but in reality we’re very fast paced people who don’t want to waste our time on a product or service that doesn’t cater to our needs and we won’t spend precious time trying to figure out an ad’s messaging. In short, we’ll just keep scrolling or clicking.

Millennials aren’t complicated; we’re easy. It may take a little research, but as PR rockstars we understand the importance of getting to know the publics and markets that we want to reach and we stay up-to-date on the ever-evolving tools that allow us to connect our clients to their targets audiences. Brands must realize that they’re not communicating to the same people they were 10 years ago and, while the way we communicate and share messages has constantly evolved over time, the social media age is shaking up, and will continue to shake up, how we communicate at unprecedented speeds. The most successful marketing efforts will be those that not only keep up with these changes but remain a step ahead of the competition.

How has your brand’s communication strategies and tactics shifted in the past few years? Shoot us a tweet; we’d love to know!

Written By Nancy Gutierrez