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Moving Millennials

Posted on September 16, 2013 and read 4,108 times

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Anto 1 Moving MillennialsAntonin Jamond
BSUR Amsterdam

”Irresolution is the worst pain of our times.” Descartes had passions to tweet about, but in 1649 not much choice on how and where.

Today’s tendency for Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1995) to book everything at last minute is a sign of a generation plagued with indecision in a world offering more choices than ever and alternatives to everything.

Millennials have grown to have high expectations of themselves and of society, and feel cheated when reality fails to deliver. Looking for confirmation on how great they are and considering the raft of options they have, Millenials worry more than previous generations when facing deciding moments. It’s not, ”Oh my God, too many choices, what shall I do?!” No, it’s more, ”Damn, if I do this, I won’t be doing that,” thereby fueling their fear of missing out.

It’s not all that bad. The Millennial generation just happens to coincide in a time and space that bursts with online connections. That’s great. Many years later, Descartes’ potential tweet still echoes, indicating that functional technology is not the only reason why Millennials adapted so well to digital environments. The tool helped confirm their choices, lessen their doubts and gain them social currency.

In times when it has become harder to make choices, some brands still manage to cut through the clutter to be favored by Millennials. We know these young consumers are savvy, especially when choosing specific brands. So as we try to understand the psychological reasons behind Millennials’ behavior and look at how brands successfully manage to engage with them, here are six tips to bear in mind:

1. The Death of Ownership

The ongoing trend for business models is to switch to renting options. Owning stuff isn’t the issue; it’s more the extra trouble that goes around it. Not cool. Millennials question ‘why pay for it’ when you can transfer the responsibility and keep the pleasure. For instance, Zipcar, CartoGo and car-surfing ideas are preferred because one solution helps to focus on their priority: moving around, not thinking about garages, insurance or maintenance. Hassle-free gratification is more acceptable to the mind than long-lasting ownership.

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2. Fair Pay

Millennials look for the right product at the right price because to them a plentiful life goes with wise spending. Mercedes targeting customers who thought they could never afford one, Marriott redefining the budget tier in style with the new Moxy brand, Microsoft bringing high performance products at a lower price point than Apple… brands go with humble pricing without stripping the offer. Indeed, Millennials are not giving up up material things, but smartening up on ways to enjoy them.

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3. Tales to Tell

Inclined toward learning and discovering new experiences? These guys are all about ”me.” Millennials like to appear unique to boost their confidence and their social currency. Having trouble enjoying ordinary pleasures and never wanting to miss out on a thing, they keep seeking the first time, the new, the now, so that they can share what happened.

Give them exciting stories to share, inspiring lines, things between edgy and awkward, things to remember. When travelling, for instance, they won’t comment on how soft the bedding was, but will rather show what they thought was unexpected design-wise.

4. Hand’em the Controls, They Have the Power

Raised without barriers, Millennials expect brands to be accessible. Remember the pleasure you had when the aircraft pilot said yes and showed you the cockpit? Potato chips could not reach such great heights, yet the Lay’s ‘Do Us A Flavour’ campaign met with high response level in getting people on board.

Intel and W Hotels partnered with Roman Coppola and The Directors Bureau for Four Stories, a campaign meant to empower a new generation of filmmakers to share stories. Both Lays and W understood that Millennials prefer to be perceived as producers, rather than consumers, and delivered on the insight.

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5. Consistency: a Mentality

In search of the new and the unknown, Millennials enjoy the diversity of experiences that brands can produce, as long as they consistently pursue what the brand stands for. Those brands are more likely to stand out in people’s minds.

Red Bull has always been associated with extreme sports, Converse with rock music and The North Face with outdoor exploration. These brands manage to produce cross-platform entertainment, with the same mentality each time delivered in original ways.

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6. Humanity Works

Optimistic messages resonate well with Millennials. They think of the positive feedback they’ll receive by joining inspiring causes or showing they care for Mother Earth.

The Levi’s ‘Go Forth’ campaign embodies a universal truth that “frontiers are what you make of it,” adding “we’ve got clothes for that modern frontier too,” that seems to suit young adults. A well executed take on understanding that if this generation is said to be responsible for the coming changes, they can also be equipped for it.

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Target supported local boutique stores and designers from around North America in a partnership to create limited edition products sold through authentic corners in its supermarkets. And thus brought humanity in an otherwise faceless environment.

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Faguo shoes progressed to include clothing and accessories to their sneaker range. They use shipping as an eco-friendly means of transportation, and for every item sold, they commit to plant a tree. Their philosophy, consistently expressed on products by a smart coconut button, reasonably matches Millennial’s capacity of helping out the world (looking sharp and doing good without having to sacrifice a kidney on eBay or personally supply water to Dalits).

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In the end…

…Millennials don’t all have phantom pocket vibration syndrome. Only harder choices to make.

They connect to overcome isolation, boredom and their fear of missing out. For the more reflections you have of yourself, the sharper the image of yourself you create. Because they share everything to collect insights from others on who they are, they also make sure no one is kept out of the loop. Which makes the Millennials one pretty sympathetic bunch of people.

Keep things accessible, realistic, simple and interesting. Provide solutions to use and enjoy without getting in their way. That should help them navigate through choices and keep your brand on top of mind. Today indeed, the send button is mightier than the sword.




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