“Indeed, digital now forms such an inherent part of our lives and our business that treating it as a distinct category or phenomenon often feels somewhat perverse and old-fashioned. Try telling your kids that you have a ‘digital’ TV or ‘digital’ camera. The word itself is becoming quaint.”
— Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP
I gave a talk recently on brand building for politicians. To prepare for the event, I gathered a group of Millennials between the ages of 17—19 for a salon-style discussion. We recruited them through a local high school civics department. The topic was political elections and political parties as brands.
What struck me was how passionate these young people were about wanting a stake in policy. One high school senior spoke passionately about Scotland’s lowering of the voting age for the referendum on independence. The group nodded in agreement. Yes, they want to vote. In fact, a few of them were election judges. Others were members of Model U.N.
When they spoke, not one mentioned social media or digital or gadgets or even technology. Those tools are so common in their lives, they are a given.
It made me think….
What kind of content will propel younger Millennials to take action?
Based on the patterns I’m seeing, it boils down to three things:
1. Think like an artist. To capture enough mindshare to draw Millennials in and keep them reading, brand stories must work like great fiction—they should articulate the universal struggles that we all face when carving out a future for ourselves. It’s not about a product’s superior performance or handsome packaging. Those competence-related features are table stakes.
2. Tell stories about the future. Based on what we heard, and research we’ve gathered, Millennials worry a lot about paying for college, planning their life path, and harnessing their talents to make an impact on the world’s problems. Stories that help Millennials realize their potential to live meaningful lives will transcend marketing.
3. Inspire hope. Ultimately, your business/product should involve creating a connection that demonstrates who you are – your beliefs, your vision, what you stand for. I actually believe this is an exciting area for brands, organizations, and small businesses, because it’s completely achievable no matter what your marketing budget.