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How to make your brand attractive for millennials

30th Jan 2017
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For most businesses, the key to long term success lies in attracting millennials. Accomplishing this isn’t so easy. Unlike the two generations before them, millennials are fairly resistant to the ‘sell sell sell’ approach. In fact, they are usually repelled by that.

In addition to this, while Gen Xers and Baby Boomers tend to view brands as having a bit of an authoritative role, Millennials do not. For them, respect and trust is earned. Until that happens, most members of Gen Y aren’t inclined to show much in the way of loyalty. This means that in order to make your brand more attractive to millennials, you have approach them in new ways.

Understand What They Care About

First and foremost, remember that the millennial is a digital native. They crave experiences, care about social issues, and they want to do business with brands that have the same values that they do.

They are waiting longer to marry or have kids, if they do those things at all. Previous generations may have been attracted to home ownership, but many members of this generation find the idea of that stifling. They are also very connected, and are likely to care about the things others have to say about your products than what you have to say.

Finally, out of necessity, Gen Y is overwhelmingly budget conscious. They will shop around for good deals, luxury items have much less appeal to them than prior generations. By understanding these things, it becomes a bit easier to reach this audience.

Be Inclusive

Overwhelmingly, millennials value inclusivity, equality, diversity, and acceptance. This applies to race, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, and more. Social justice is important to them, and whenever possible, they will choose brands that value these things as well.

As a brand, simply agreeing with these philosophies is not enough. You have to show it in your content. For example, are you using gender stereotypes in your marketing materials? Take a look at your visual content. Does it reflect diversity overall? Are your word choices inclusive?

It is more important than ever to take a proactive approach to inclusivity. Your content should reflect these values.

Do Social Good

In addition to demonstrating a commitment to acceptance and diversity, many of the brands who have successfully earned the loyalty of millennials support one or more charitable causes. This isn’t a new thing. Corporate charitable giving has been popular for generations.

What is new, is the way these brands are approaching this. Supporting charities and social justice causes is now being woven into the business model. One good example of this is Gazelle. What sets them apart is that in every step of they have woven in social good. This includes, providing fundraising opportunities for charity organizations who can sell donated phones to the company, directly donating devices that are not eligible for resale, and highlighting the company focus on charitable acts in their digital marketing efforts.

Focus on Creating Engagement

Savvy and self-aware marketing pros understand why traditional marketing methods don’t work with millennials. It may be a hard truth for some, but the reality is this. Members of Gen Y care much more about the opinions of their peer group when it comes to your product than they do yours. This means that your ability to create engagement is vital.

Hopefully at this point in time, you are already active on social media. However, that in itself is not enough to create engagement. You have to create and curate the kind of content that encourages people to comment and share.

User generated content is particularly valuable here. You can encourage your audience to share opinions, stories, and ideas on your social media pages. You could also take a page from Modcloth's digital marketing strategy and create a space on your website just for community generated content.

Don’t forget that consumer reviews and testimonials are both forms of user generated content. Be sure that you provide products and services that earn positive feedback. Then, make it as easy as possible for customers to leave that feedback. You can accomplish this by providing feedback forms on your website, and linking to relevant consumer review sites.

Let Them Help Themselves

Self service options are extremely valuable to millennials. Whenever possible, they prefer to find their own information, and solve their own problems. Think of it this way. This is the first generation that prefers automated telephone customer service over speaking with a live person.

You can appeal to this preference by developing a product knowledge base. This will provide your audience with the information it needs to learn more about your products, and to solve any problems they encounter. Your knowledge base can include detailed product descriptions, customer forums, instructional videos, online documentation, etc.

Don’t forget about the ways that technology can help you to provide self service options. This includes customer service chatbot technology, and providing online options to modify account information, customize orders, or find discounts.

The path to reaching millennials includes authenticity, exclusivity, engagement, and creating the kind of user experience that appeals to this generation. If you are successful, you will be rewarded with the loyalty of a consumer group that spends billions annually.

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