In our recent post, Innovate, Exit or Die: What Senior Executives Understand About the Economy That Most Americans Do Not, we discussed why it is so important for brands to innovate in order to survive the next economic downturn. One initiative we recommended was to devise a strategy that repositions brands to appeal to millennials (those born between 1982 and 2004).
Piece of cake? Not exactly. We asked our resident expert on millennials, Promote On Purpose senior director, and millennial, R’ymonda Davis for insight. R’ymonda provides five tips for executives who are ready to develop game changing strategies to attract millennials now.
Tip No. 1: Don’t expect the marketing team to go it alone.
Attracting an entirely new market segment is an all-hands-on-deck process involving input from multiple departments. It’s not a “marketing thing,” it’s a major strategy shift that requires input from R&D, finance, business analysis, product development, I.T. and marketing.
Tip No. 2: Conduct research on millennial habits, lifestyle, preferences and tendencies.
It’s critical to recognize that millennials differ from other generations. What resonates with millennials is very different than what resonates with Generation X or baby boomers. In order to develop an effective brand-repositioning strategy, your research team needs to dig deep.
Millennials are discerning and loyal to brands that synch up with their lifestyles. From a research standpoint, this requires homing in on millennial consumer habits, lifestyles, preferences and tendencies as they relate to your company’s brand, products and/or services.
Consider the following preliminary insight on millennials to get the ball rolling:
- Millennials gravitate toward brands that provide value. They don’t want to be sold. Find a way to provide value through new products or services or develop partnerships with other brands that provide value. (See Tip No. 4 for examples.)
- Millennials are loyal to companies that provide a consistent brand experience. They buy from brands that are authentic, intentional and relevant. Delivering brand messaging and imagery that is consistent across all channels (in person, online and mobile) is essential for building brand loyalty with millennials.
- Millennials research products and services before making a purchase. And they typically do that research online. If your brand isn’t ranking on the first page of a Google search, your search engine optimization team has work to do.
- Millennials grew up communicating digitally. So make it easy for them to connect with your brand online and on mobile devices. If your digital presence (website, social media, apps, texting capabilities, etc.) doesn’t align with the millennial lifestyle, this valuable market segment won’t be loyal to your brand or buy your products and services.
Tip No. 3: Share research across all departments.
The research will help ensure your team develops and executes a cohesive plan and all departments are on the same page. You can’t develop a brand-repositioning strategy with each department operating in a silo. Insight from your research team will help:
- Product development design new products and services that solve problems or address unmet needs of millennials.
- Experiential experts (website, mobile, social media, retail, live events, etc.) create a cohesive experience across all channels.
- Marketing develop brand messaging that resonates with millennials.
- Lead gen team devise a successful lead generation program that will increase sales and revenue.
- Finance specialists generate a cost-effective budget so each department can accomplish its goals and the company can grow sales and improve ROI.
Tip No. 4: Learn from other brands that get it.
A number of diverse companies have tapped into unique methods to attract the attention of millennials. Here are a few examples:
The New York Times partners with Spotify and Snapchat, which provides value. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that the Times would provide free Spotify memberships to subscribers. Spotify offers the largest music-streaming service in the world. The Times previously joined Snapchat’s Discovery platform. Both Spotify and Snapchat provide services that synch well with millennials’ lifestyles and provide valuable services that simplify and enhance their lives.
Of the Spotify partnership, the Times’ chief revenue officer, Meredith Kopit Levien, said, “We’re beginning to focus much more seriously on how many young people we have engaging with us and how we deepen those relationships.”
Nike delivers a streamlined brand experience, which builds and reinforces brand loyalty. Whether you visit Nike’s website, social media feeds or retail locations or build yourself a custom Nike shoe, the messaging, imagery and total experience are the same.
Remember: Millennials buy from and remain loyal to brands that are authentic, intentional and relevant. Delivering a consistent brand image, as Nike does so well, doesn’t leave customers guessing. That ongoing brand loyalty translates to sales and top line growth.
Domino’s Pizza keeps making it easier and easier to order pizza, which fits perfectly with the low-hassle, millennial lifestyle. It’s tough to top Dominos when it comes to connecting with millennials where they live, work and play. They understand the millennial lifestyle and lead the pizza delivery market in creating innovative tools and apps that allow customers to order and get pizza fast.
The pizza giant revolutionized pizza ordering when it launched its pizza emoji Tweet to get pizza campaign in 2015. Recently, the brand’s Ferris Bueller-inspired commercials feature a millennial ordering pizza through Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant device and using Domino’s Pizza Tracker to monitor the pizza delivery on his tablet and smartphone.
How can your brand innovate so it’s easier for millennials to engage with your company?
Tip No. 5: Act now.
As noted in the Innovate, Exit or Die post, most senior executives and experienced wealth planners know that the next major market recession is nine to 18 months away. If you want to develop a successful business strategy to ensure your company survives the recession and thrives, the time to act is now.