Brand differentiation is key to being loved by Millennials

by Tony Fannin, CEO/Partner, BE Branded  |

Advertising to Millennials holds a special place in my personal life. I live with two of them, my daughters. Not only are they the next coveted group for marketers, but they are girls (who will grow up to be women) and will  control most of the purse strings and decision making for the next 70 years or so (They seem to already do that now). It is true that Gen Y and Millennials tune out TV spots more than mine or my father’s generation, but they still are influenced by the ads (when they see them). Trust me, they ask for many things that they first saw on TV, then saw online. Here are a few other findings from ComScore, a leading research organization on media:

• Millennials respond to digital ads as much as other generations do: This is interesting because the presumption is digital advertising appeals mostly to the Millennials and not so much to the Boomers or Seniors. Boomers (6.8) and Seniors (6.4) just edges ahead of the Millennials (6.0).

• Millennials respond to the same advertising strategies as earlier generations: The biggest influence to them is brand differentiation. Next comes competitive comparisons and new info. Brand drives their decisions. I have seen this in action with the Millennials that live in my house. Brands matter. Once you are an important brand in their minds, then you are compared to the other brands who have made their “cut”.

• Millennials engage in all kinds of media for a bigger picture view of a brand: This is commonly accepted now days, but most marketers seem to forget this point. They tend to spend marketing dollars on digital only and ignore the other traditional forms of media. Big mistake. TV is still an effective mass reach as are the right magazines. Millennials place 10.3% more value on TV and web sites than other generations. This means they look at all forms of media to get a more complete picture of a brand and what it stands for. Then, they decide if it’s for them.

• Millennials respond less to TV ads, but remember them longer: This is a paradox. You want them to see and respond to your TV spot, but they tend to ignore them more often. But, if you manage to capture their imagination, they remember you up to 2 times longer than their elders. This puts a premium on great creative and relevant messaging. Because of all the choices available in media, Gen Y and Millennials are constantly on the search for interesting things. Marketers need to step up their creative approach. They can no longer just show a boring spot filled with specs, features, and benefits. This goes back to the value Millennials place on brand experiences. They want to be part of the story, not just a passive viewer.

If a marketer can define their brand, make them a part of the story and present it in a creative, innovative way, you just might get my daughters to not only remember your brand, but they will want to be part of your brand and own a piece of it. On second thought, don’t do too good of a job, we already have enough Monster High Dolls and accessories.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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