Millennial Branding: 6 Ways Your Brand Can Appeal to Millennial Customers

Millennials, the newest generation of influential consumers (also known as Generation Y or Gen Y), spend more than $600 billion dollars annually with spending power expected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2020, (or 30% of US sales) according to Accenture 2013 research.


While these statistics might sound like ‘gold bullion’ for many brands, in our experience often smaller companies and organisations struggle to develop their brand strategy in a way that relates relevantly to this fast changing group of buyers.


Millennial consumers are a very fluid constantly moving target with multiple devices overflowing with content clamouring for their attention 24/7. However don’t be too daunted, once you really understand this discerning customer properly and tailor your brand to really meet their needs, you can, like many others tap into this incredibly lucrative market.




Defining the Millennial Customer


A Millennial is generally defined as someone who was born between the years of 1980 and 2000, according to multiple online sources, including an article, “Oh, to Be Young, Millennial, and So Wanted by Marketers,” by Hilary Stout for The New York Times.


Millennials, on average, have around seven electronic devices that have the ability to access social networking, the internet and even television. While there are exceptions to this statistic, as there are in any demographic, 55 percent of these Millennials are using their devices to connect to videos several times a day, where a large majority of brand engagement takes place. Six out of ten Millennials feel losing their car would have a less negative impact on their lives than losing their phone or computer.





Due to the fact that almost half (45 percent) of Millennials admit that brands are a key part to their lives, recognized brand names are very important to this specific consumer when deciding to purchase something. They are a multi-device connected group and consequently research their brands thoroughly on multiple fronts before deciding to make a purchase. Their decision-making processes are influenced by some very sophisticated criteria coupled with social proof from the opinions of their peers online.


Goldman Sachs clearly explains what a Millennial consumer is and how this demographic can potentially change the economy, in a video published on YouTube in May of 2015: “Macroeconomic Insights—Millennials: Changing Consumer Behaviour.”






6 Key Brand Attributes Important to the Millennial Customer


1. High Quality Products and Services

The number one, most important characteristic that a Millennial looks for in a product is quality. If a product or service does not seem worth the time or the money to the Millennial, they’re unlikely to invest in it. This consumer will buy high quality premium brands but only once they’ve thoroughly validated its credentials.



2. The Power of Recommendation

Word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools on or offline. If a Millennial is happy with a product or service they’ve used, and the brand has consistently delivered a great customer experience, they’ll share this positively on a global scale. Fifty three percent interact with brands online they care about and tell others.


Conversely if a brand has let them down or failed to meet its brand promise they’ll also articulate their discontent verbosely. Thanks to social platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Millennials are constantly sharing their latest purchase with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of followers. This is especially the case if a Millennial owns something that is trending. These posts do not go to waste, either.


Dan Schawbel in his Forbes article states: “33 percent of millennials rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase… [they] look to social media for an authentic look at what’s going on… especially content written by their peers whom they trust.”



3. Personalization, Partnerships and Co-Creators

Millennial consumers are vocal and speak their minds freely about products or services online. If brand owners monitor and track this online traffic it can provide them with invaluable insights and data enabling them to quickly address any issues and use the information garnered to inform new product development solutions specifically tailored to meet the needs of this very influential group.


Individuality matters to Millennials and they like to express themselves through personal style clothing. In fact 40% have gone beyond clothing to express their individuality with tattoos.


Brands offering customization and bespoke individualization are ahead of the game already. This will become an increasingly important trend for this audience, as evidenced by the success of Chipotle.


Millennials want to be treated like partners, not just purchasers, that’s why brands like Pinterest and Etsy have been so successful. 60% believe organizations should offer more ways for customers to share opinions and 40% want to co-create with brands. This provides brands, products of services, with incredible opportunities to engage this willing group and tap into them for their creativity.



4. Social Responsibility

Even with high quality products, great customer experience, good ratings and convenience, brands still need to offer more to their Millennial buyer. For this particular type of consumer, it is very important that they feel like they are making a difference and they will actively purchase brands which are seen to be ‘giving back to the community’ for the greater good in some way.


Six out of ten millennials feel personally responsible for making a difference, and because of this, an incredible 90 percent of these consumers actively purchase brands associated with a cause. More than half of the Millennial consumers will abandon a brand if they disagree with the company’s ethics.


By having the full-history of any brand available at their fingertips, Millennials collectively care about how even the smallest of their purchases can affect those across the globe. They are frustrated with statutory entities and Government and want to solve social problems through entrepreneurial solutions.



5. Life is an Adventure

Many Millennials feel that it is important to experience new things on a regular basis, as 70 percent want to travel to all seven continents, 75 percent enjoy food from cultures that are not their own and Millennials are two and a half times more likely to adapt to new technologies than older generations.


Often, this wanderlust spirit inspires Millennials to look for excitement in their everyday lives, which is why 60 percent of this generation considers themselves entrepreneurs and optimistic, creative thinkers.


This attitude is what pushes Millennials to have the desire to be not only a patron, but also a part of the brand that they are supporting. Affinity groups form within the Millennial culture, as it is a large, broad generation. Those with similar interests, tastes, achievements and circumstances often come together in order to work towards a common goal, which is what the Millennial consumer likes to see in their brand, as well.



6. Making an Important Statement

In this reenergized push for equality, inclusivity and diversity, Millennials appreciate a brand that is not afraid to make a statement against discrimination. Millennials will actively support brands that authentically make equality, inclusivity and diversity part of their brand culture.


This video, “Millennials On: What Cause Would You Dedicate Your Life To?” produced by 20 to 30 demonstrates the wide spectrum of causes that the millennial generation cares about, which coincides with social responsibility, sharing similar interests and making an important statement.






Brands Who Have Done It Right


There are many examples of brands, small and large, that have successfully made all these key Millennial attributes core to their brand culture. Starbucks is a great case in point. In this video, “Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Social Responsbility,” genConnect lets Schultz explain how Starbucks remains socially responsible through success.





Apple is brand that has earned the loyalty of their Millennial consumers not only for their great product quality but also for their support of (PRODUCT)RED, which supports the fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and their corporate sociality responsibility programmes relating to the environment, education, accessibility and inclusion and diversity.


Other large corporations famous for their corporate social responsibility and high quality products include: TOMS, Coca Cola and Ford, all of which we’ve mentioned in previous articles.





A brand does not need to be a global Goliath either to be an attractive and successful brand targeting Millennials. Take the Lokai brand, for example. They sell one bracelet that contains water from Mt. Everest and soil from the Dead Sea to represent the extreme highs and lows in life, to remind the wearer to live a balanced life.


Millennials love the brand story, sentiment and authenticity of the bracelet as evidenced by the almost one million followers it has on Instagram alone. The brand’s website also demonstrates its CSR credentials too in that they donate ten percent of net profits to their charity partners, thus encouraging Millennial consumers to purchase their brand on multiple levels.



 Lokai Bracelet

Image via




Millennials Advocate for Their Favourite Brands


When a Millennial consumer loves a brand, their loyalty is clearly evident. They are great brand champions actively engaged on their multiple social platforms.


If you get a Millennial customer onside, consistently meet and exceed their needs, deliver on your promise with a great brand experience they will become some of your best sales ambassadors.


A good example of this is when both the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One were released at the same time. Millennial consumers who are also “gamers” had already decided, long before the release of the consoles, which one they would be purchasing because they were loyal to either Sony or Microsoft’s brand.


Debates broke out across the internet over the PS4 versus the Xbox One because the consumers were so loyal to their respective brands. The day the consoles were released, each company sold an outstanding number of units, thus causing Millennial gamers to flood social media with photos and posts about their latest purchase, proud to be a part of a group of people with similar interests.



Brand Loyalty with Millennials


I think once you’ve reflected on some of these key brand attributes mentioned you’ll agree Millennial consumers have such a formidable, and largely growing buying power, that it’s critical to integrate all the elements mentioned, amongst others, if your brand wants to harness the dollars/euros/pounds of this lucrative audience. Take the time to really research and understand your Millennial customers both in terms of their needs, challenges, loves, hates and aspirations.




3 Actionable Tips for Your Millennial Brand Strategy


Consider using some of these tips to integrate into your Millennial brand strategy:


1. Develop really strong buyer personas for each of your different Millennial customer types and their relevant affinity groups. You need to know your audience intimately if you want to tailor your brand for success.The outputs from this work will then provide the much-needed direction for developing your brand profile, using a system like the Personality Profile Performer™. Collectively the outputs from both of these will then provide the direction for the development of your brand strategy, brand collateral design briefs, integrated marketing strategy and so forth.

2. Tailor regular communications with your Millennial customers using the platforms most preferred by them for your brand. For example they like regular email provided it includes really high quality, useful information, which is individualized to their specific needs. Remember even if they don’t immediately buy from you their opinion counts amongst their peers, family and friends.


3. Develop opportunities for collaborative input from your Millennial customers. They want to be involved and a brand strategy developed to include their co-creator spirit provides brands with incredible opportunities to develop unique solutions, be they products or services, which their audience really wants. You might never find out or come up with these NPD ideas unless you include their early input. Make sure you test your prototypes, product or service, with Millennials too.


You might also like:


• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling


• Millennial Branding: Creating Brands to Appeal to Teens and Young Adults   


• Humanizing Your Brand : Why It is Key to Commercial Success


• Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality


• Brand Voice: Differentiating Through Your Own Brand Language and Attitude


• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success  


• Brand Audit: Tips for Determining Your Brand’s Health – Can it be Improved?


• Rebranding: How to Make it Through a Rebrand and Emerge Stronger


• Brand Audit: When the USA Took the Branding Bull by the Horns


• Brand Naming: Top Ten Methods for Brand Name Creation   


• Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand 


• CEO Brand Leadership: How Does Your Leadership Impact Your Brand?



So what do you think?


• Does your brand personality and profile appeal to what is most important to the Millennial consumer?


• What aspects of your brand strategy can you improve on to attract more loyal Millennial customers?

• Having read these facts about Millennials, does your brand need a complete revitalization or rebranding strategy to ensure its long term success?


• Can you re-evaluate your brand using a brand audit and consider how best to contribute to the causes that are most important to the Millennial customers?


Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, we’d love to hear from you. 

Brand Management: Top 10 Tips for Managing Your Brand Reputation

Got a brand? Just like a person, your brand has a reputation to establish and uphold. The identity of your brand, of course, begins with its name. Your product or service is your brand’s body and mind, and you must use all five senses to reach out in appealing ways to old and new friends (customers). Your brand lives, breathes and grows via its brand personality, which has simply got to be consistently appealing, authentic and dependable.


That’s all wrapped up in what brand marketers refer to as a brand’s tone of voice. It reveals a style reflected across everything your brand says and does online and offline, both written and visual.

Leverage Your ROI

Smaller businesses can punch above their weight without a string of zeroes in the budget when they get their branding basics right. Why? Because brand loyalty, sharing, peer recommendations, transparent feedback and brand ambassadorship are stronger than ever in the digital age. We’re passionate about working with brands every day, large and small, to make this happen, so they can leverage their ROI to the maximum.

Google For Business

Image via

See and Be Seen Where Your Brand Belongs

Even the most popular person can’t be — and shouldn’t try to be — everywhere at once. Decide where you want to be seen and heard depending upon who your customers are and where the circles of your brands’ look-alike audiences (as Facebook Ads have named this tool) are found. That’s why you don’t go to a convention for lovers of African violets to network with extreme adventure travelers and vice versa. Nor would anyone switch on a television shopping channel to buy heirloom Tiffany & Co. gems.

Online and On Brand

Apply traditional channel and networking logic to online platforms to determine where you belong. An anti-aging cream on Snapchat represents wasted effort in the same way that a traditional print advertisement for wrinkle cream would be absurd in the pages of Seventeen magazine. If you need some brand strategy support our team can steer you through your social media distribution decisions, specific to your brand, to get the most from your investment.

To see the big picture, AdWeek[1] has published infographics providing some insights about the expected growth in online audiences of 180 million by platform and age group worldwide through the end of 2016. We can take your brand on a deeper dive into your brand’s affinity groups and demographics to pin down your best placement.

Who's Really Using Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumblr Instagram In 2015

 Image via

Lights On, Always Open for Business

Since your consumers (all consumers!) are online, let’s go there first to discuss building your brand’s online personality in sync with your offline one. Importantly, they require fine-tuned alignment.

The days of turning out the lights and locking up the shop for the night are over, as you’re open for business 24/7 online. In the hearts and minds of your primary audience, the digital brand is indistinguishable from the bricks and mortar brand. Your clients don’t separate the online and offline personality of your brand, and you shouldn’t either.

Claim Your Free Real Estate

1. Claim your free real estate from these main social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Google+ and Google Places for Business are must-dos for everyone wanting to be found 24/7 by customers online. You can easily edit your contact information, business description, hours, website URL and photos. Not being on social media at all is not an option; you cannot manage your brand reputation if you’re invisible.

2. Add to your brand’s online presence by completing your business profile on free aggregate platforms pertaining to your business sector, such as TripAdvisor for travel and hospitality providers or for real estate. Your competitors are doing likewise.

3. Make sure your website is 100 percent mobile responsive; this is no longer optional. From April 2015, Google’s algorithms began penalizing search results for websites that don’t provide the best user experience on mobile devices.

According to Search Engine Watch[2], Google says that “near me” mobile searches have grown 34 times over since 2011. With 73 percent of the world’s population using mobile phones, we can be certain that mobile wallets are poised for exponential growth. In other words, brands that don’t optimize their online presence by paying attention to their appearance and brand tone of voice are leaving heaps of money on the table.

4. Develop the right tone of voice for your brand with brand profiling, using a system like our Personality Profile Performer™ and use it consistently across all content, all visuals and all devices (desktops, laptops, tablets and mobiles for all operating systems). You need to think of your brand as a humanized entity with a richly developed brand personality with key character attributes much like a real person e.g. likeable, friendly, sincere and genuine. Corporate-speak really doesn’t fly.

5. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. There’s no point in signing onto a social media platform other than to drive business to your website or to your door. So, once you create your online personality, brand reputation management has only just begun. As the old scouting song goes, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”

Answer comments and questions promptly and sincerely. An honest response to a negative review sets you up for an even better review.[3] Remember, online you are speaking to two audiences — the person who make the comment and the rest of the world! Brand authenticity and honesty pays!

Visuals Are Vital

6. Upload original quality photos and videos. You simply cannot have too many. Visually appealing content needs the same attention as bricks and mortar appearances such as clean shop windows and display shelves free of dust.

The impact of visual is enormous. According to Social Media Today[4], 63 percent of social media is made up of images and 50 percent of users have shared online images and videos. On Instagram and Pinterest, you’ll inspire users and gain followers by creating hashtags and boards, translating in to more free real estate for your brand.

   Content With Relevant Images Gets 94 More Views

Image via

Twitter indicates[5] that content with a relevant photo gets 313 percent higher engagement, good news for small and medium-sized businesses. Make sure your brand personality and brand tone of voice is consistently expressed through your chosen images as well. Are you a fashion shop showing dresses, a utility provider showing friendly staff, an animal shelter featuring pets for adoption? Have fun with who you are to drive engagement.

Get it Right From the Start

It cannot be over-emphasized that getting your brand tone of voice right for your online brand personality is essential. Once you’ve taken control of that voice, it’s all yours for as long as it works effectively. We can help you with everything from developing your brand personality through brand profiling, or auditing your brand to give it a health check to creating your brand name, to re-branding (if and when that becomes necessary) and developing your brand strategy.

New and Improved Offline

7. Protect your brand’s reputation. One of the 10 commandments of effective leadership applies directly to brand reputation management, “Thou Shalt Not Over-Promise and Under-Deliver.”

Meeting and exceeding expectations is classic business strategy and the risks associated with getting it wrong fill volumes of business manuals. It comes straight back to the pillars of reputation management: authenticity and dependability. Your successful business has likely been handling this properly all along, or you wouldn’t be where you are today. However it’s always a good time to dust off and revitalize through refreshing, reminding, re-enthusing and re-training your staff — they are your brand ambassdors and consequently a really important part of your brand strategy.

8. Authenticity is everything…and the moment it’s lost, you’re damaged goods. Your strong and clear voice is required wherever your brand touches, in both your digital presence and offline, too. Always consider as a minimum the four ‘Ps’ of Marketing 101: Product, Promotion, Place, Price — which lead the way on the path to Profit.

9. Listening is good, conversation is even better. Wow, WOMMA! The Word of Mouth Marketing Association is a real thing…it has even has its own annual conference. Of course, before the internet, one-by-one sharing via word of mouth was the prevalent means of unpaid advertising. And it still works, more powerfully than ever. We can help you engage with customers in more dialogues for wider and deeper reach, always maintaining the critical overlay of brand authenticity.

10. Satisfy every customer from entry to exit. Imagine your brand once again as a real personality and recall these two tenets, “First impressions count” and “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” Both statements are true, but there’s more. We believe that the entire customer experience is integral to perceptions about your brand, from the moment your client walks in or first engages with your brand, until they depart, and your follow up in-between and later on. Your core brand values and what your brand stands for must shine through consistently in all your brand communications be they online or offline. Own it and win.

You may also like:

• Brand Voice: Differentiating Through Your Own Brand Language and Attitude

• Rebranding Strategy: Why Your Rebrand Must Embrace Storytelling

• Brand Profiling: Top 6 Components to Creating a Strong Brand Personality

• Creating New Brands: Top 10 Tips for Brand Success

• Brand Differentiation: 30 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand

• Brand Personality: Is Your Brand’s Character Big Enough to Compete?

• Humanizing Your Brand : Why It is Key to Commercial Success

• Packaging Design: How to Make it into an Irresistible Customer Brand Magnet

Feel free to get in touch and let us know how you’d like us to help you with building your brand and establish a strong brand reputation online and offline:

T: +353 1 8322724

E: [email protected]

• Is your current brand personality and tone of voice hitting all the right notes for your brand? Is it truly reflective of your core brand values and what your brand stands for?


• Do you know how to craft an authentic, humanized brand voice through brand profiling to get people raving about your brand to all of their friends?


• Has your brand strategically planned for the changing social media landscape? Are you thinking differently or are you winging it with occasional assistance from an intern?


• Is your brand in the right places at the right times and talking to the right people to realize the most bang for your buck?


• Do you know if you are getting more than your fair market share, and if not, what to do about it?


• How well do you know your customers? Have you developed your buyer personas? Have you organized channels for customer feedback for continual improvement?

[1] AdWeek, Jan. 12, 2015

[2] John Schepke, Search Engine Watch, June 25, 2015

[3] eTourism Summit interview with Andrew Wiens, TripAdvisor, Nov. 20, 2014

[4] David Hall, Social Media Today, April 6, 2015

[5] Jane Stecyk, TweetTip, Small Business Content Team, January 28, 2015

YouTube : The 2nd Biggest Search Source After Google, Is Your Brand On?

In announcing its daily traffic flow back in 2010 the video channel YouTube revealed they were the second biggest online search source after Google. That put it higher than Firefox, Bing and even Yahoo. The YouTube report said it received 2 billion views a day. That’s a statistic that put YouTube in front of all the major US TV channels combined.


Three years later nothing has changed audience-wise, except the site has increased in popularity. There are now four billion visitors a day and 60 hours of video uploaded on to the site every minute.


Meanwhile Google rates it even higher in terms of search engine optimization (SEO). YouTube videos show up separately so your page gets listed for the text and the video separately, effectively like two for one! Another interesting statistic is that eCommerce stores which show their products via video have much better conversion rates (says Google owned YouTube) then those that don’t.


Brands Can Have Their Own Online Channel on YouTube

Now the online video search source (bought early on by Google) has come up with an even better opportunity for brands, with the resources to invest in video content, with their own branded video channel.


Called One Channel its part of a redesign for YouTube which involves allowing content developers to start charging subscribers for viewers. To date there are 50 paid channels on YouTube including National Geographic Kids (US) and Samsung UK. Switching to One Channel means more tools to add and curate content, better graphics/art work and the ability to produce a trailer which can be targeted at non-subscribers – all of which greatly enhances to your brand’s marketing activities.





All this of course requires some upgraded skills, not to mention resources and agencies are already offering comprehensive packages to big brands.


The Benefits of a Brand Channel

Regularly uploading content and engaging with customers makes it easier for a company to build brand loyalty through cultivating an ongoing relationship – which is exactly what YouTube is hoping for.


Earlier this year YouTube made a huge leap towards its future strategy model. No longer is it simply a site where people upload videos. Instead it’s now a true social media site in terms of providing a platform where brands can engage with consumers in a dynamic and entertaining fashion.


Video Is More Effective Than The Written Word

Even if your brand isn’t at the One Channel stage yet, videos are still more likely to get your message across than a blog post or press release in isolation. That’s because they require less effort and time to watch, tend to be more entertaining and attractive to look at and give a stronger, more personalized sense of what the brand is all about. It’s a platform that really helps ‘bring your brand to life’.


 Zappos Advert

Image via Business Insider  


Online US eCommerce store Zappos has a YouTube video option for 50,000 products on its site with ‘real’ people talking about and reviewing their shoes. This ‘humanizes’ the brand and provides a sense of trust for consumers when they see that the person they’re watching is ‘just like them.’







Video Can Help Educate Consumers

‘How To’ videos have always rated highly on YouTube and this is where many smaller brands selling unique products – or those involved with DIY and crafts – can really excel.


US firm Homedepot show how to customize a pathway using the QuikRete WalkMaker they sell. Potential consumers who were perhaps ambivalent about buying the product because they weren’t sure if it was for them can now see how easy is it to use.





Video Can Enhance Customer Engagement

Tip-ex demonstrated brilliantly how a YouTube video can engage consumers. Its bear/hunter video received one million views within the space of just 36 hours and 100,000 shares on Facebook.


After 100 days the video had picked up a total of 35.5 million views in 217 countries. Brand exposure was estimated to be around five minutes per person. European sales went up 30 per cent.


The reason it was such a hit was because it asked viewers to come up with an ending to the script which involved a hunter who didn’t want to shoot a bear. The company went on to film what they regarded as the best endings.


A clever aspect of this campaign was the number of viewers who returned to see the different endings played out. Meanwhile, by giving consumers the opportunity to create their own ending, it made them feel as if they ‘owned’ the video and by association, the brand.





Other Reasons Your Brand Should Be Using YouTube 

  • It doesn’t cost much money to produce video content now, thanks to improvements in editing software and camera equipment. In other words, a video production company with an editing suite isn’t necessary unless you are producing high value video content. Video ‘blogs’ or ‘vlogs’ can be produced and uploaded using your smartphone.


  • You Tube is available on Smartphones and iPhones – just about anywhere that the internet can be accessed. Videos are easy to embed and share too.


  • Just like PPC adverts on search engines or advertising on Facebook, YouTube has a means of advertising via keywords. Advertising on YouTube is just as effective as the aforementioned but with one big difference – it’s less expensive.


Engaging with customers via a two-way process is one step away from encouraging them to become brand ambassadors through building brand loyalty. Video is such a mainstream activity today that companies which aren’t on YouTube can seem rather behind the times – particularly with a younger audience.


One Channel for brands makes it easier to bring together all forms of social media, while Google is putting particular emphasis on video when it comes to SEO.


Providing your brand’s story in an entertaining fashion and quick-to-digest format is more likely to attract visitors – and therefore customers – to your products and services.


• How are you using, or planning to use, online video to promote and grow your brand and connect with your customers more effectively?


• What type of video content could your brand upload onto YouTube – educational, informative, comedy?


• Have you investigated how easy it is to film your own videos as part of your brand strategy?