With communication-mods (or hacks if you will) like “Perf” and “V” becoming the norm, keeping up and finding relevant communications strategies for millennials can be overwhelming. A millennial is a person who was born between 1980 to 2000, and according to Time Magazine they are the biggest age grouping in American History. As a millennial myself, reading the countless panicked headlines on how to stay cool and sell to millennials is a strange phenomenon, especially because these analytical pieces tend to be written by people way outside of this age group. Anyone who is not part of my demographic may suffer from confusion and panic when trying to make sense of the information online, as well as the revolving door of gadgets, apps, and trends. The age of technology comes with endless opportunities for brands to reach their audience in a creative and more personal way, if done correctly. The scramble to impress millennials has forced marketers to educate themselves on “what’s lit” and what isn’t in this new age of digital marketing. The lessons learned take us from print to present…
From Traditional PR to Digital PR
The need to impress millennials has completely altered PR as we know it and introduced a new and more interactive form: enter digital pr. The rapid evolution of PR is not just linked to the speedy progression of technology, in fact it also has a lot to do with the rapidly decreasing client attention span saturated by the pace of social interactions. Traditional PR focused on interactions like celebrity endorsements, and communication through print, TV and radio. These mediums were very powerful when they were the only form of brand and/or digital messages in existence; however, today these marketing channels are fading in the eyes of the large internet-focused millennial market. Thankfully marketers and PR specialists have evolved as well. Today, PR is largely digital. Digital PR includes SEO, content marketing, influencer outreach, native advertising, display advertising, PPC, social media and more. PR specialists are now forced to dive wholeheartedly into digital communication, bridging traditional and digital media.
Public relations has always been all about storytelling. Like any story it needs to be relatable, colourful and compelling. With apps like Snapchat and Instagram, PR specialists are now able to move from abstract “storytelling” via traditional means to literally invite influencers and consumers to share their brand’s story. Millennials have given marketers the opportunity to reevaluate their otherwise dull and outdated strategies, in turn testing the bonds between PR and marketing.
Keeping up with the Millennials
Due to technology and social media, trends die faster than ever before and brands have to be weary of this when attempting the bandwagon approach on any marketing channel. Although social media seems like just a few clicks away from success, marketers should approach this channel strategically especially if trying to speak to millennials on it. And just like any traditional PR or marketing strategy, there is no “one size fits all” plan, and knowing your audience is crucial, whatever the platform/medium may be. Understanding different generational trends and interests goes a long way when mastering digital PR. If there’s one thing marketers should learn from millennials it is that they are unpredictable.
And here’s a few more things marketers have learned about millennials:
Just like their parents, they are a diverse bunch – culturally, and in interest. Millennials embrace cultural diversity. Having grown up in the midst of globalization, they are used to varied authentic cultural experiences through food, fashion, music, film, etc.
They rely on devices heavily for day-to-day tasks and have completely changed how we use technology, creating a much more efficient work space.
Movers and Shakers:
Millennials “move” quickly and don’t easily commit. Keeping their attention has been marketers main difficulty, as many millennials find themselves in an unpredictable economy and do not feel comfortable making commitments to jobs, places, and products (homes, cars, etc).
Celebrity Culture is Dead:
Celebrity endorsements are so 2000 and late. Social media influencers are the new celebrity. Finding the right and most relevant influencer is crucial.
One of the most important things millennials have taught marketers is the importance of carefully curated content and social media accounts. What makes an influencer stand out is how they’ve presented and curated their “story” to be authentic (or seemingly so) and how aesthetically pleasing they are.
Conclusion + Cases: Authenticity is the Key to the Millennial’s Heart
Marketers, it’s fine that storytelling to millennials has many of you improperly using phrases like “I can’t even” while hacking together a Snapchat story. This is when marketers and PR specialists need to divert the responsibility to voices their target markets care to hear. Know the language of who you’re talking to and if you don’t, hire a translator. In this case, influencers will translate your brand’s message to your target audience – especially because according to Adweek, people trust influencers almost as much as their friends. Since authenticity is a huge deal to millennials, knowing when it’s best to find influencers to tell your brand’s story will go a long way. Finally, marketers make note that millennials are growing, and the best way to be authentic, and gain trust is to grow with them!
To leave you feeling inspired and up to the challenge, here are a two of my “fave” marketing campaigns who’ve kept it “hundo p” with us millennials:
Fave Campaign 1: Uber
Uber has managed to position itself successfully amongst the millennial target audience group and has almost managed to market itself to be a necessity. One of my all time favorite campaigns from Uber was their puppy delivery, which exchanged 15 minutes with a puppy for donations to the 3milliiondogs.com dog shelter. Uber’s marketing campaigns are often paired with a great cause while encouraging community engagement – a trend for millennials. In recent marketing efforts, the company teamed up with MADD, an organization against drunk driving that has been active in Quebec for over 10 years to support their cause.
Fave Campaign 2: Apple Music
Apple obviously deserves its top spot as millennial-marketing-genius for a number of reasons. However, with its recent launch of Apple Music, it really hit the jackpot with successful millennial marketing. Although Apple’s music team struggled to make its mark in the industry during its early stage, it has managed to prove worthy enough to stay in with the cool kids with exclusive albums only available on Apple Music. Exclusive album home runs include the likes of Frank Ocean’s Blonde and Drake and Future’s “What a Time To Be Alive.” Apple Music’s marketing strategy has incorporated a diverse group of authentic influencers who’ve managed to keep up with the successful voice Apple has had throughout its entire marketing strategy (#ItsLit).