Millennials: Center Stage for Brands
Millennials now represent the largest group of consumers within the U.S., and thriving brands today are highly aware of this. When millennials are wielding over $170 billion per year in purchasing power, there’s no ignoring this group of consumers.
Brands don’t win over millennials easily. In fact, in many ways, they hold higher expectations of the businesses they work for, the brands they buy from, and pledge loyalty to.
Millennials stand at the forefront of technology – demanding that brands offer more efficiency, innovation, convenience, and quality than ever before. And at the same time they are distrustful of the motives of many businesses. Thus comes the demand for greater transparency, more authenticity, purpose-led values, and an all-around dedication to social responsibility and shaping of a better world.
And brands who expect to cater to the millennial market, but aren’t focusing on their priorities, are doomed to fail in today’s competitive and over-crowded landscape.
So what brands are winning over millennials? Consider why millennials love these brands:
1. Casper: On-Demand
Casper, bed in a box model, has shown remarkable success and growth since 2014 because of the brand’s focus on millennial markets and their need for convenience.
Their ‘one size fits all’ mattress compressed into a box and delivered straight to people’s doorsteps is much like the beloved Warby Parker model. It’s easy, convenient, and void of commitment.
And like brands such as Uber, Lyft, Grubhub, and Netflix who’ve tapped into meeting millennials desire for on-demand convenience for just about everything, they’ve won over millennials who dread shopping for a mattress, negotiating the price, and lugging it from apartment to apartment, sleep deprived as ever. Nylon Magazine comments on how they’ve somehow made mattresses “seem new and exciting.”
2. Thinx: Generating change
Research has found that 90% of millennials now expect that the companies they support actively address societal problems and demonstrate social responsibility.
And Thinx is a prime example of a brand that is winning over millennials by challenging the status quo and changing the conversation. Thinx CEO Miki Agrawal noticed that traditional menstrual marketing techniques were anything but genuine or authentic. White dresses, flowers, happy sunlight dances – these images don’t resonate or empower millennial women who demand authenticity.
By approaching menstruation from an new angle (think high-end art ads of grapefruit halves and cracked eggs), Thinx re-wrote the expectations of the industry. Promising to empower women, making periods powerful, all while the company addresses the societal issues that surround menstruation globally.
As a socially responsible brand, Thinx donates money to Afripads, which helps Ugandan women manufacture and sell locally sanitary pads. And Source Fashion says because of Thinx, “the taboo is now national conversation and Agrawal is an international icon for the feminist and socially-conscious business movements.”
3. AirBnB: Experience-focused
Many brands today have discovered that millennials love adventure, crave new experiences, and want total immersion. In fact, millennials’ love of travel and willingness to spend money on travel experiences is more prominent than any generation before. Fortune found that 67% of millennials between ages 18- 24, and 75% between ages 25-34 have used a home sharing service in the last year.
Millennials want to seek new adventures, immerse themselves in different cultures, share experiences, and learn what home means to others. AirBnB and other brands in the same sphere (HipCamp, CouchSurf, and Behomm) have discovered how to play into millennials’ demand for new experiences and discoveries.
AirBnB has built their brand around the idea of ‘discovery,’ making sure the brand promise rings true at every touchpoint.
4. Amazon: Transparency and trust
With the fast-pace of technological innovation and digital branding, many millennials become more and more distrustful of business today. They want radical transparency. And often, this is what brands need to provide in order to build real, sustainable trust.
Amazon’s dedication to transparency and trust building – transparent pricing, open reviews, easy cost comparisons, steady low shipping – has propelled the brand into the hearts of many millennials today. Business Insider named it the 7th most popular brand with millennials today. The company also releases transparency reports biannually – living up to its promise and behaving as a trustworthy tech brand.
In a Synecore report, Amazon was ranked the “most liked” tech brand among millennials aged 16-24. It’s rank over Google, Facebook, and YouTube illustrates the draw for millennial shoppers.
Finding Success in Millennial Markets
So brands who want to position themselves for success within millennial markets need to constantly be up to date on the heightening, shifting, expanding needs, demands, and expectations of the market. Research is key here. Fitting into the lives of millennials and behaving in line with their values demands in depth knowledge of the audience. It also requires remaining authentic even as the market shifts, and always acting transparently. A brand that resonates with millennials today is a brand situated for growth.
Emotive Brand is a brand strategy and design agency.