change your game

March 16, 2018

In an era marked by extremely short attention span, brands need to draw new methods for marketing. The most effective methods include creating a connection with the consumer.

Young consumers are comfortable forming meaningful relationships online and rely on the internet for socializing, getting access to information, and for research. Package-based and social cause-based campaigns get shared frequently on social media. Popular brands no longer promote their products and encourage consumers to buy them. Instead, they seek to evoke an emotion and relate that to the brand. Every successful brand aims to tell a unique story that connects with the consumer in a personal manner.

Young consumers lay great emphasis on brand communication and dialogue. Brands are now using colloquial slang in regional languages in their campaigns to achieve an instant connection. There are several brands that invest millions in campaigns that help achieve this image. Brands resort to social media trends and cinematic dramatization to engage the consumers and visually lure them. Platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter stand apart from mainstream media as they help brands forge a relationship with their audience. Consumers between the ages of 18 to 29 are highly active on Instagram and Snapchat. To ensure success among this group, it is important to be up to date with social media trends.

Recently, Coca-Cola launched a campaign that associates the drink with happiness—after months of brainstorming. This involved different kinds of digital media such as two apps for the iPhone and Android-based phones, two apps for Facebook, one package including emoticons, wallpapers and screensavers, one Windows 7 template, and a video. Coca-Cola received a great response and users downloaded the ‘Spin the Coke’ iPhone application over one million times and the Windows 7 theme over two million times—the video was the company’s most successful activation. Through this venture, Coca-Cola embraces the joy of living and plays with the basic human emotion of happiness. This example highlights the importance of promoting human values, to attract millennials.

In a socially conscious era, being linked to a cause can be important. Millennials value products that can empower all sections of the society, are racially inclusive, environment-friendly, and cruelty-free. They favor brands that align with their sense of meaning. Popular brands do this by associating moods and occasions. For instance, Dove established itself as a brand that believes in real beauty that is void of any artificiality and encourages women to feel comfortable in their skin. The younger generation appreciates a personalized shopping and communication experience for which social media proves to be ideal. A brand called Glossier exclusively promoted themselves on social media and included feedback from the audience. Youth enjoy exclusivity of this kind. Most older consumers were not even aware of the brand.

The secret to achieving validation from millennials lies in fostering relationships and being friendly. If a brand manages to do that, then it has not only earned a loyal customer but also a friend who would go to great lengths to support, represent, and promote it among their peer groups. The young consumers of today recognize the value and role that brands play in their lives, much more than older consumers would. They are savvy consumers who have an innate understanding of marketing and of their value as consumers. They believe they have the power and capacity to help a brand succeed or fail.

The digital revolution has brought the world closer; brands are now going global, with social media being used as an idea generator, trend mapper, and strategic compass. This gives brands better chances to connect with consumers, especially to anticipate their buying habits. This opens a whole new world of opportunity and takes creativity to another level. Social media gives brands a wider road of communication and enables them to interact better with consumers. However, it still matters to deliver trustworthy content and legendary service for cementing the brand’s position after tailoring it to appeal to young consumers on social media.

Product design needs to be shareable online whether it is a photo on Instagram or an unboxing video because the internet is an ocean of information and young consumers use it to their best advantage. They like to research before they invest. Youth, today, prefer messaging over emailing and calling, and expect brands to respond instantly. The old system of responding to an email in 24 to 48 hours makes the brand look indifferent and antiquated. Since they engage with brands quickly, the youth expect the same level of interest from brands to communicate personally with them.

Today’s younger generation has grown up in an environment inundated with advertisements, which are embedded in every part of online content. They are highly dependent on their smartphones for information, communication, and entertainment. The unlimited information that the internet provides on products of interest has desensitized them to traditional ads. For a digital campaign to be successful, marketing communication needs to be effective and hold value. Therefore, influencers, branded content, and social proof among others are more powerful than traditional advertisements. A perfect example of this is the impact of a single tweet by an online celebrity that said, “SOOO does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh, this is so sad,” which was tweeted to 24.5 million of her Twitter followers. It led to the stock of Snapchat plummeting to 8.4% and a $1.3 billion loss of stock value. Snapchat identifies with millennials and a big group of this population idolizes celebrities. They trust friends’ recommendations and are vocal about their experiences with products on social media. This makes word of mouth and product trials extremely effective. This generation believes in products that go beyond their functional benefit and provide efficiency. An example of this is smartphones being marketed as the ideal device for selfies.

Digital advertising has brought more opportunity to explore new possibilities of advertising. It makes brands reach all kinds of audiences and create better mind recall value. It helps communicate and hear what the consumers, specifically the younger generation, need from them, in a better manner. To achieve brand loyalty, consumers today demand engaging communication with a personal touch. It goes beyond meeting functional benefits. They need a higher cause—a brand that correlates with the ideology they support. Being up-to-date and familiar with social media trends can go a long way in ensuring the success of a brand in achieving an unforgettable identity.

*Page 196, The Life of Y, Debashish Sengupta, Sage Publishing