Working in communications, we’re all used to buzz words. But one keeps cropping up again, and again, and again. Millennials. From meetings to conferences, it’s become a major topic for anyone in media or marketing – they’re the gold at the end of the rainbow, the Holy Grail of branding.
Let me put something to you though: what if youth isn’t just an age, but a mind-set?
That’s exactly what we were asked at the Engaging Youth Conference 2015 last Thursday. Held in Canary Wharf, it was genuinely a really insightful day – and as you can imagine, Millennials came up a lot.
However, we were challenged to think about this cohort a bit differently – in fact, a lot of people outside the revered 18 – 25 year old Millennial bracket should be approached in the same way as we would, say, someone who’s 20. Put it this way, how many 35-year-olds do you know who also have low attention spans when it comes to content, live on their smartphones, and look to influencers when it comes to brand recommendations? Yeah, me too – loads!
Actually, that was the biggest take-out from the conference – the power of the influencer. No matter what presentation, brand or problem we were listening to, the influencer came up again and again as the solution. And I couldn’t agree more.
From blogger and vlogger to Instagram stars and bedroom musicians, influencers have exploded onto the marketing scene. Why? Because consumers today – not just Millennials – are critical creatures. An air-brushed TV ad no longer cuts the mustard, consumers want to get under the skin of a product and brand, and influencers help them to do this. Think about a beauty vlogger trying out a lipstick – you can see how it actually goes onto someone’s lips, get a trusted review, and even leave a comment underneath if you want to. It’s a two-way dialogue that they can believe in, not a broadcast.
Is the bog-standard celebrity now over, I hear you ask? No, definitely not – there’s still a place for them in campaigns. The key difference now is the level of accessibility. Consumers expect access all areas, whether they’re 22 or 32, so using talent in creative, surprising ways is not just vital, it’s expected, in a world with “nosey apps” like Periscope proving increasingly popular.
In summary, yes, it’s important we cater for Millennials. But let’s not get wrapped up in a buzz word and forget that in fact, it’s the world that’s changed – not just a generation – and that channels such as influencers are absolutely essential in talking to lots of consumers out there, to build love, fame and engagement for brands.
That’s what’ll really make sure your brand is ‘down with the kids’, innit.