Mil­len­ni­als are chang­ing the game to serve higher pur­pose

The aim is to add mean­ing to life and value to world

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - MEDIA& MARKETING - HARSHA PRAG

Brand As­so­ciate Direc­tor at Added Value THE TV se­ries Game of Thrones has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of mil­lions of peo­ple around the world for a num­ber of rea­sons.

They’re hooked be­cause GoT has rein­vented the rules for the fan­tasy genre and tele­vi­sion sto­ry­telling. Un­like ev­ery other story out there, this is one where you can’t pre­dict what’s go­ing to hap­pen next. In fact, the very thing you pre­dict is prob­a­bly guar­an­teed not to oc­cur.

The Mil­len­nial Gen­er­a­tion is hav­ing the same ef­fect on the world of busi­ness, brands and mar­ket­ing. They’re chang­ing the rules, in­sert­ing a new par­a­digm, one that promises to of­fer as many op­por­tu­ni­ties as chal­lenges.

Why? Be­cause they’re just so dif­fer­ent from ev­ery other gen­er­a­tion we’ve cre­ated mar­ket­ing strate­gies for.

The way they’ve grown up and the ex­pe­ri­ences they have had are af­fect­ing the way in which they ap­proach their lives as well as the role brands and or­gan­i­sa­tions can play in their lives. As a re­sult, they’re not only chang­ing the rules of the game, they’re chang­ing the game it­self.

Un­like pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions, where a brand’s role was fo­cused on help­ing con­sumers ex­press them­selves or gain so­cial cred­i­bil­ity, Mil­len­ni­als are look­ing for brands that help them bring mean­ing to their lives and value to the world.

The brands that are con­nect­ing suc­cess­fully with Mil­len­ni­als are those that recog­nise they need to aim higher, that they need to el­e­vate their pur­pose be­yond build­ing share­holder value or short-term prof­its.

Th­ese brands fo­cus on bring­ing value to the com­mu­ni­ties they serve – go­ing be­yond launch­ing a new item to pur­chase, to launch­ing a new so­lu­tion that works.

Sim­ple Bank in the US is an ex­am­ple of such a brand.

Its mis­sion, ar­tic­u­lated by its founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive Josh Re­ich, is: “To help con­sumers worry less about money by build­ing a new bank­ing brand that is mod­ern, cool, trans­par­ent, and trust­wor­thy.”

To de­liver on this, Sim­ple Bank has re­moved crit­i­cal cus­tomer pain points, like fees. Sim­ple Bank does not charge for ac­count main­te­nance or over­drafts or low bal­ances. It makes its money through in­ter­change and in­ter­est mar­gins.

In do­ing so, it of­fers a re­la­tion­ship built on trust and trans­parency – a qual­ity lack­ing in the fi­nan­cial ser­vices cat­e­gory – and one that is help­ing the brand win over the mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion and trans­form it into pow­er­ful ad­vo­cates for the brand.

Net­flix is another ex­am­ple. It broke the “rules” of broad­cast­ing to bring more en­joy­ment, flex­i­bil­ity and con­ve­nience to its many au­di­ences.

By re­leas­ing a full se­ries at once, in­stead of one episode a week, it gives the con­trol to the viewer how they can de­cide when and how quickly they view a show. It’s a sim­ple, el­e­gant so­lu­tion suc­cess­fully em­pow­er­ing Net­flix view­ers.

Oreo, another great ex­am­ple, con­nects with Mil­len­ni­als in a game- chang­ing kind of way by el­e­vat­ing its pur­pose be­yond any other bis­cuit brand out there. For ex­am­ple, it pro­duced a rain­bow cookie in sup­port of gay pride.

It also reg­u­larly in­vites Mil­len­ni­als to its think-tanks to co-cre­ate fun ex­pe­ri­ences in­volv­ing an Oreo bis­cuit. Th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences tend to re­ceive much so­cial me­dia at­ten­tion, not only be­cause of great dig­i­tal strat­egy, but be­cause they’re fun, sur­pris­ing and in­ter­est­ing.

How can your or­gan­i­sa­tion re­spond to the new par­a­digm that the Mil­len­nial Gen­er­a­tion is cre­at­ing?

Ev­ery or­gan­i­sa­tion, ev­ery brand has a role to play in solv­ing the chal­lenges we face as a so­ci­ety. Brands that ac­tively take up that role and do so in an au­then­tic man­ner are sure to gar­ner at­ten­tion. Brands that demon­strate com­mit­ment with time, money and re­sources will not only be no­ticed but gain fans.

Mil­len­ni­als do not place brands on a pedestal but re­gard them­selves as equal. As a re­sult, their tol­er­ance for in­au­then­tic en­deav­ours is that much lower.

Or­gan­ise your strat­egy and put your brand’s pur­pose at the heart of ev­ery­thing you do to make this new par­a­digm work for you.

As dig­i­tal na­tives, Mil­len­ni­als are in­her­ently scep­ti­cal of con­tent. When things go wrong, fluff pieces or cover-ups don’t work. Bet­ter to ac­knowl­edge the mis­take, learn from it and demon­strate that your brand is stronger be­cause of it.

Mil­len­ni­als are trend starters and shapers in their own right. In­vite them in and look for op­por­tu­ni­ties to co-cre­ate. Give them a role to play in help­ing your brand achieve its pur­pose – and in do­ing so, you may get the op­por­tu­nity to help them achieve theirs.

Mil­len­ni­als are not go­ing to waste their time or their data on some­thing they’ve seen, heard or ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore.

Brand teams that take a “steal with pride” or “copy and reap­ply” ap­proach are go­ing to fall short. Cre­ate a space for your cre­ative teams to ex­per­i­ment and try new things, be­cause that’s where the fresh ideas will come from.

Mil­len­ni­als will let you know when they’re de­lighted or dis­ap­pointed with your brand. As such, the bet­ter your brand be­comes at com­mu­ni­cat­ing, the bet­ter your chances of win­ning re­spect. The bot­tom line?

To win with this game-chang­ing gen­er­a­tion, your brand needs to aim higher, be coura­geous and ex­per­i­ment with new so­lu­tions and new ways of con­nect­ing.

Your brand needs to be more like a khaleesi in The Game of Thrones.

The TV se­ries Game of Thrones has rein­vented the rules for fan­tasy, just as Mil­len­ni­als are chang­ing the rules for brands.

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