Millennials account for 25% of the total population, yet carry such consumer influence that businesses tailor their strategies and operations primarily to target this audience. Why?
Today, we’re taking a closer look at how and why millennials (defined here as those born between 1981-2000, though the debate rages on) have reshaped the very concept of brand identity, and what businesses have done to adapt to these new customer expectations and demands.
You’re more than a brand
The millennial market is driven by the heart, not the brain.
What does this mean? It means that millennial consumers are keen to identify with your brand on a far more personal level than a traditional exchange of goods for money.
Instead, they expect your brand to practise customer-centric thinking, putting the customer’s needs at the very heart of your operation. As a brand, your goal is no longer simply to sell your product. Instead, it’s to identify and solve the common problems of your target market.
Adopt this customer-first way of thinking and you’ll begin to form a brand community of like-minded consumers who are keen to align themselves with your brand identity.
Your values matter more than ever
With millennials reinforcing the importance of brand identity in the modern market, how do you encourage consumers to align with your brand? Values.
Almost 7 in 10 American millennials consider a brand’s values before making a purchase. Let that sink in for a second.
It’s clear, then, that to appeal to the millennial market, your brand must embrace its moral and ethical duties as the core values of your brand’s identity.
Whether it’s an increased focus on sustainability or a transparent, ethical manufacturing process, don’t be afraid to shout about your moral and ethical wins. While this may mean a larger investment in the short-term, the long-term pay-off is a loyal and engaged brand community of users who are invested in your brand to the core.
You need a digital identity
Millennials are a generation of digital natives.
At the risk of sounding like the old man in the pub corner talking about the good ol’ days, it’s safe to say millennials and the internet go hand in hand. Whether it’s browsing from their laptop or smartphone, the ability to be online anywhere, anytime is one not lost on this market.
This tells us that a digital identity is key for your brand. How do you expect to build a brand community if that community can’t find you?
The numbers don’t lie, either. With 92% of millennials owning a smartphone, the US millennial market makes 60% of their purchases online. The value of having a digital presence to affirm your brand identity really speaks for itself.
Social media is king
Speaking of digital outlets, social media and millennials go together like PB & J. So much so, in fact, that a mammoth 90% of the demographic are social media users.
What does this tell us? That social media is king. Undoubtedly the most valuable tool in any brand’s arsenal, a dynamic social media presence is key to affirming your brand identity and building a solid brand community in the process.
Be sure not to use your social channels as a traditional marketing tactic. Instead, millennials expect transparency and engagement from your social presence.
Your communications matter
On that note, millennials have altered the way in which brands communicate with their audience, both in terms of what they communicate and the ways in which they do it.
Returning to the importance of customer-centric thinking when it comes to creating an appealing brand image, the millennial consumer holds little trust in traditional methods of advertising and marketing. The expectation is no longer simply to be sold a product or service – millennials want to be sold on your brand.
To achieve this, a transparent brand image is key. Communicate more than ever before – whether that’s internal news blog posts, reposting user-generated content or simply starting open conversations with your audience online.
The key takeaway is that millennials expect a customer experience within which your communications play a key part. Do so correctly and you’ll begin to grow an active and engage brand community in the process.
The people have the power
When it comes to forming the modern brand identity, the people have the power.
How? Reviews and recommendations.
Rejecting traditional advertising methods in favour of transparency (the word just keeps popping up, doesn’t it?), 8 in 10 millennials never buy anything without reading a review first.
The value in harnessing a brand community becomes glaringly obvious at this point. Through reviews, your customers’ experiences begin to have a significant impact on how your brand image takes shape.
In short, the old saying of ‘going above and beyond’ has never been more important.
Here at Six Circles, we know a thing or two about building a brand community that strikes a chord with millennials and beyond. To learn how our brand community platform can help you shape a winning brand image, get in touch with our team and request your free online demo today.