The idea that millennials are brand averse is a myth. In fact, one glance at any millennial’s Instagram account, and you’re likely to find tags to brands they follow, buy or long for. Yet, even though 74 percent of them spend at least five hours a day looking at content online, they can be a generation of consumers with whom companies find it difficult to connect.
According to a report from the Brookings Institute, millennials are the first “digitally native” generation. They grew up with the internet, social media and the growth of digital marketing, and 57 percent of them are smart about blocking ad content.
But other statistics from Brookings point out the necessity for companies to figure out a way to connect with this generation. First, they have buying power: This group of individuals has a combined income that is expected to grow to more than $4 trillion by 2030, according to Brookings. For the foreseeable future, this group of consumers will be shaping the economy, not only in the United States, but across the globe.
Play to their values
Find out what matters to millennials — and the answer to that is far different from what’s important to older generations. Millennials are willing to pay more for personal interests and on a brand that they feel will help them accomplish their goals.
Millennials’ reluctance to purchase a home or a car has led to a rise in a sharing economy, according to a recent report put out by Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research on the topic of the coming of age of millennials. Instead, this group of consumers turns to Uber, Lyft or bike rental stations in major metropolitan areas — to gain access to products without purchasing them, “giving rise to what’s being called a ‘sharing economy,’” according to the report.
Go mobile or go home
Millennials greatly value the opinion of others, and often those opinions are found on their mobile devices — 85 percent of them own a smartphone. Companies, therefore, should optimize their websites for mobile devices and make sure they interact with their customers on social media.
According to Goldman Sachs, 57 percent of millennials compare prices online, and most of them will make purchases online. And 34 percent of them are turning to their social networks before making a purchase, saying that “when a brand uses social media, I like that brand more.”
Make millennials your brand ambassadors
If millennials are heading to social media to learn about a brand from their friends, then companies should interact with them online. When millennials like a product, they tell their friends, even posting a picture of something — a car, a jacket, a pair of new shoes — and tagging the company. In fact, they rarely consume anything — food, beverages, services, products or media — without sharing about it in a social media post and posting a review.
Low-cost airline carrier Southwest Airlines is an example of a company that has done a remarkable job connecting with younger travelers through their customer-friendly experience. And, with an active social media presence, Southwest is known for responding to consumers who communicate with them through social media channels.
When it comes to millennials, companies need to meet this generation on their own turf in order to start building brand loyalty and earn their business.