Saturday, August 18, 2012

Leveraging the millennials

By Nick Sutherland

Millennials are the largest generation in American history. Born between 1978 and 2000, they are 95 million strong, compared to 78 million Baby Boomers. They are independent—politically, socially, and philosophically
Millennials are considerably brand-centric. They love the brand. They love brands. They share brands. They talk brands. They live brands. They speak brands. And they have invested considerable ideological value into them. They have come to represent who they are.

The Millennials are an incredibly interesting and unique set of individuals. At a time of extreme change and transformation, they have been able to adopt, excel and adapt to a rapidly moving fluid environment. And it seems they just about lead every category in one manner or another. Whether those be technological, behavioural or demographic statistics. Driven by dreams, fuelled by connectivity and maintaining an optimistically unprecedented thought process, the millennialness of the Millennials is often left untouched and misunderstood.

This group of individuals exhibit something powerful, different and fresh  Something that should be noted as traditional and conventional societal structures are now being tackled by untraditional and unconventional societal shifts.

Understanding these master multi-taskers wouldn’t be easy by any measure. It’s not merely a notion about taking on multiple tasks at once. Rather, it’s about understanding the multi-dimensional thinking and thought process that actually occurs. It’s about uncovering and bringing to the forefront the different behavioural patterns that are becoming commonplace. This can be accredited to everything the Millennials have been exposed to and the multitude of these aspects that they have incorporated into their daily lives.

It has created a very fluid process and ability to transition between Facebook,Linkedin, Google+, their smart phones, maintaining a series of conversations and just about anything else without significant interruption or setback to the tasks at hand. They have embraced the tools of their environment. They have evolved the environment itself. And they have created a social paradigm that has drastically changed the world from the pre-Facebook and pre-smart phone one no one can remember to what it has become today.

The resulting impact has manifested an extraordinary set of circumstances for the Millennials surroundings. They have become significantly influential to everything and everyone around them. Who’s opinions are heavily weighed and considered. From dictating the purchasing decisions of their parents to the inclinations of social influence and the ability to sway groups of peers with the justifications of their decisions.

This is an age of very savvy adopters.

They have the uncanny ability to spread both the good and the bad. Depending on who you are that could be used to your advantage or determent. They are the savants of our advancing society.

58% of U.S. Millenials said they do research before they buy a vacuum cleaner. Forty-three percent said they won't go to a movie without researching it first. And nearly 1 in 4 Americans said they do research before they buy a bottle of shampoo. Shampoo—the product that once sold bottles by the billions because a pretty model bounced her hair or kids giggled in the tub. But no more.Today's consumers have questions: Does the shampoo work on curly hair? Is it good for swimmers? Was it tested on animals? Are there toxins in it? Are the bottles recyclable…?

In the age of social media, ’brand’ stories are no longer confined to the ‘marketplace’ but are now part of culture, both high and low.

Millennials are avid YouTubers. While 13-17 year-olds represent 21%, 18-34 year-olds represent 36% of YouTube’s viewing audience, combining for a total of 57%. Of which, they had a significant viewing impact to the over 5.7 billion videos were streamed in the US just this past June.
Understanding those habits will be crucial for advertisers as millenials age and eventually have families of their own. That’s something to bear in mind – as do many marketers looking to the next generation for growth.

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