28 May 2018: If you like a brand you’re more likely to buy. The idea that likeability creates loyalty is simple but not easy to achieve.
Last year, US millennials spent about $200 billion. It’s estimated that they’ll have more spending power than any other generation by the end of this year. This means they’re an essential demographic for brands of all types to reach. But there’s a serious challenge – how do you connect with this audience in a world where we are inundated with emails, texts and adverts?
A recent study published by Adweek revealed 57 per cent of millennials are willing to view sponsored content from a brand, as long as it’s authentic and useful. This shows the new generation of teens and tweens are increasingly responding to brands that have a genuine reason for existing and a solid ethos. Only this month, Business Insider revealed 95 per cent of the new generation expect companies to conduct business in an ethical manner, and 61 per cent are more likely to buy a product if part of the proceeds go to a good cause they care about.
While brands such as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger have long been in the business of selling versions of the American dream, the new generation of lifestyle brand is rooted in a tangible purpose or activity. Brands such as Outerknown, the Kering-backed brand built around Kelly Slater’s surfing lifestyle, has sustainability at its core. Matuse, a California-based wetsuit and apparel brand with an “art + function” tagline, makes wetsuits from limestone-derived geoprene, claiming to be 98 per cent water impermeable and more sustainable than traditional petroleum-based neoprene. Consequently, consumers regard them as altogether more authentic.
The success of these brands is interesting because these models hit a sweet spot for millennials. They are transparent, ethical and digital first. Brands need to show customers what they stand for with a digital presence that’s authentic and relatable. With B&T revealing that 43 per cent of millennials would give up sex for the internet, it’s never been more important for brands to be present on this medium.
My favourite example of a brand using its online presence in a cheap and effective way is the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL). The company usually posts what you’d expect – historical images from the museum, with informative captions. Unfortunately, that’s boring content for most people. So MERL is now sharing funny and relatable memes, generating a widespread positive response with one post receiving almost 100,000 likes and more than 28,000 shares.
In an online world flooded with negativity, this reminds us that it’s okay to take a risk and laugh at yourself sometimes. Of course, as with any marketing, it needs to work for your brand but the takeaway here is to remember this new generation live by their values. Brands need to connect with them if they want to be trusted and loved.
Honest communication coupled with creativity is a force to be reckoned with.
Written by Megan Wesley, OPR Melbourne