It’s hard to avoid the fast and loose term ‘millennial’ online these days, and for good reason. These young adults – generally classed as 15-35-year-olds, depending on the publication – make up one third of the world’s population. As the one of the largest generations in history, millennials are now overtaking the baby boomers as the next big group to wield enough power and money to change political, social and economic landscapes.
As a generation raised in the digital era, through times of recession, austerity, modern warfare and interconnectedness, this cohesive but vast demographic of society has its own set of attitudes and characteristics that have been bred out of rapid change. The competitive and often erratic jobs market since 2008 for example has shaped millennials to become adaptive, creative and collaborative. This in turn has given birth to self-sufficient industries such as crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, alongside the sharing economy, away from the ideologies of mainstream capitalism.
As a group who has largely been in the shadow of the – sometimes dubious – decisions of baby boomers, millennials are understandably weary of how brands employ various marketing techniques to part with their cash. According to the study Debunking the Millennial Myth, conducted by Initiative, 40% of UK and US millennials are cynical about brand marketing and women are slightly more anxious than men about how their lives are panning out.
Bearing all this in mind, how can marketer’s tip-toe the uneasy ground of marketing brands to millennials and maintaining a loyal and trusting fan base who has become largely desensitised to marketing tactics that once captured the attention of entire nations in the 50s and 60s? While brands can no longer tread the realms of cigarette-wielding children and smiling housewives to gain attention and trust, the right communication through content is, and has always been, a crucial element to any campaign.
To help me get to grips with the younger millennial mind-set, I enlisted the help of my 19-year-old university student brother to answer a few questions away from the headlines. It quickly became apparent that his answers were strikingly similar to online studies – many of which enrolled thousands of people from around the globe. He cited that tailored content to his interests is more likely to grab his attention, with favourite brands like Nike and Adidas giving credence to the claim. Like 2/5 of millennials in a generational study, he also mentioned that he will click away from content that is too long and text heavy. His favourite content formula includes a mixture of mediums: text, video and images, with text at the start of the article to “pull you in” followed by an image or video to maintain interest.
With this in mind, here’s an infographic that I’ve put together which utilises my top findings to provide an insight into how millennials communicate and what they like to see on their screens.