Generation Y Branding – What ‘Millennials’ Want

Generation Y Branding – What ‘Millennials’ Want

Generation Y. Millennial. 72 million entitled, optimistic, educated, disappointing, tech savvy idiots.

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How are your branding to millennials?

Yeah, they get that a lot.

As the soon-to-be largest generation, Gen Y is taking the lead in spending; in fact, millennial spending power rounds out to a nice $200 billion a year. As a generation born into technology and raised via the Internet, millennials are the first generation to use texting, tweeting, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn as everyday communication devices in their normal lives.

So what does this mean for your small business?

It’s time to start talking online. Placing an ad in the local magazine or newspaper isn’t going to bring Gen Y’s to your doorstep; on the contrary it will lead them elsewhere. This millennial generation is more likely to see what companies their friends have liked on Facebook and make a purchase decision from that rather than research a company website they’ve never heard of.

“Friends are the biggest influencers for Generation Y. If their friends have something and endorse it, that’s all they need,” says Christine Hassler, author of 20 Something Manifesto.

Now this doesn’t mean that the only way you’re going to get customers is by cyber-stalking millennials on the Internet, hoping to become friends and leading them into your store. But what you can do is successful branding. Here are a couple key factors to include in your branding efforts.

Character
Company Example: Old Spice 

Everyone knows the Old Spice Guy; he’s new and fresh and handsome. But the brand, Old Spice, is 70 years old. Until NFL star Isaiah Mustafa caught the attention of women by asking them to “look at your man, now back at me,” the brand was associated with a more elderly generation. But through the use of Facebook, clever viral videos and Twitter, Old Spice began making its way onto millennial bathroom counters.

Quotability
Company Example: Axe Body Wash

Generation Y loves to quote pop culture; especially when it is off the wall or on the brink of controversial. When Axe released their “Wash Your Balls” commercial, the reactions were incredible and Axe received a lot of publicity from sheer bravery.

Parody/Satirical
Company Example: Hubspot 

Sure, there is the pressure to be funny. But being clever and relevant in your delivery of company information is what will hook those entertainment-seeking millennials. HubSpot made an epic unsubscribe video parodying that of a serious breakup that we can all relate to. While they may not have gained back their previous subscribers, Hubspot earned the title of “Best Unsubscribe Message Ever” from bloggers and reporters. Not bad right?

Generation Y is so different from any generation before it in that they are incredibly engaged both in relationships and online. They want to feel special, important and valued. Reach to them through branding that exemplifies these qualities and you’ve got yourself a new millennial customer.

Got any other tips for millennial branding? We’d love to hear about them! 


Photo Credit:
Payton Chung

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