Everyone’s chasing Millennials – and for good reason.
Also known as Generation Y, the Millennial generation is made up of approximately 80 million Americans born from the early 1980s through the early 2000s. Millennials account for 75 percent of the global workforce, and by 2015, their annual spending is expected to be $2.45 trillion. In 2018, they will eclipse boomers in spending power at $3.39 trillion.*
The traits of this generation seem to span mountains: Millennials are called civic-minded and tolerant as often as they are referred to as entitled and narcissistic. Yet because of (or maybe, despite) Millennials’ strong personalities, many brands struggle to forge a concrete connection with them.
Why? Most often, brands aren’t developing the rich, epic content Millennials crave.
Here are four ways to improve your storytelling in order to engage this sought-after generation:
1. Expand your definition of content.
When you visualize the word content, do you picture a Microsoft Word file filled with dense text? Well it’s time to toss that image in your brain’s recycling bin. Content is all about storytelling – the form is less important than the message. Yes, your content can be text-driven, such as a website, blog or article, but it can also be a photo, a video, an infographic, an animated GIF.
(Image via mtv on Instagram)
Millennials are increasingly drawn to visual content that allows them to absorb key messages quickly. Just take a look at MTV’s Instagram feed – the network uses the social platform’s 15-second video option to create animated snippets of its top news stories. Sometimes these include video, but often its bold text paired with imagery. MTV also uses video to capture off-the-cuff interviews, backstage insights and more. Imagery ranges from star selfies to blatant show promotion, paired with descriptions that sparkle with (authentic) hipster sass. Which leads to…
2. Develop an authentic brand voice.
Millennials expect and value authenticity in their role models, their acquaintances, their brands – and themselves: 75 percent of Millennials see themselves as authentic and are not willing to compromise their family and personal values.*
Because most grew up online and on social networks, they can spot faux brand friends that use conversational tones to push products from a mile away, and they’re not buying it. That’s why it’s critical for brands to develop a content strategy and a distinctive, authentic brand voice before beginning a content marketing initiative. Otherwise, something like this might happen…
(Image via BusinessInsider.com)
3. Create content that inspires.
Did you know that 27 percent of Millennials are self-employed?** These young entrepreneurs are working hard to make their mark by following their passions. They crave content that demonstrates how others have attained success, and they’re looking for mentors and guidance.
(Image via @richardbranson)
Steve Jobs. Sir Richard Branson. Sheryl Sandberg. Aspire to turn your leadership into mentors. Position them as thought leaders in not only your industry, but also in business, success and vision. Provide practical content that helps Millennials actualize their dreams. Show them you support their goals, and they’ll see you as an ally.
4. Do, then tell.
84 percent of Millennials say that helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition. 92 percent believe that business success should be measured by more than profit. And 81 percent have donated money, goods or services.*
Appeal to Millennials by genuinely supporting a cause that does more than grow your bottom line – and capture your impact through compelling content. The recent collaboration between Target and FEED Projects is a great example. The FEED USA + Target Collection aims to “fight hunger in the U.S.” by donating meals for product sales.
Along with this successful advertising campaign, they created a longer road-trip video that explores the program’s impact in the community. They’re portraying their brands through the lens of giving back, a winning strategy to reach Millennials.
Do you have any tips to add? Share in the comments!
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