Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

In a recent interview, author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek warned businesses of the pressing need to bridge the gap for millennials. He argues that a combination of parenting shortfalls and social media-fuelled instant gratification has created a generation of youngsters unable to put in the hard yards to achieve their dreams.

The big take-out: Gaining the trust of millennials requires, among other things, authenticity, personalised messaging and engaging content.

Millennials have dreams – big ones, because they’re constantly lauded for their skills and promised the world – but don’t quite know how to make it from here to there. As marketers, how do we gain the trust of this much misunderstood generation?

Authenticity is in

They may not trust you, but they do trust each other. Engage with millennials in an authentic way to build true and lasting brand advocates. Speak honestly, candidly and to their level, whatever that might be. If you get it right – and don’t say one thing and deliver another – millennial brand advocates will turn their peers into brand advocates too.

Get personal

This generation has become familiar with hyperpersonalised marketing to the point that they don’t pay attention to anything else. Millennials consult endless digital information platforms, including blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest – anywhere and everywhere they can get an opinion – before making a decision. Use this data to deliver personalised marketing that answers their questions and they’ll thank you for it. Think automated marketing and user-informed content.

Do good to be good

Millennials want to know someone is making a difference – even if it’s not them, directly. United in their belief they must right the wrongs committed by the generation before them, they’re all the more likely to buy into a product or service if it’s doing some good. Many millennial start-ups are “conscious co-operatives” – business models built around solving a real-life problem, whether it be climate change, social reform or economic equality.

Tap into this need by bringing your future-thinking business practices to the forefront. Give them more airtime than ever before. Find a digital partner who can build and share your story. And if your business isn’t in the business of doing good, it’s never too late to change.

Keep it casual

In the case of millennials, commitment is not the key. Millennials don’t have to commit to anything – they can rent it instead. Don’t make their experiences feel like tiring must-dos. Put them first, approach slowly and win their favour first. Deliver content that educates, adds value and engages. Make them look smart and if you’re lucky, you might get a commitment somewhere down the line.

All eyes on you

Make it beautiful, or don’t bother. Millennials are surrounded by a barrage of visually rich and appetising content. It’s how they’re romanced. They have an imaginary mood board for every stage and milestone of their life, a visual expectation. If your content isn’t unthinkably attractive and unique, don’t bother. If you can’t create this quality of content in-house, partner with someone who can – think moving images, videos, GIF images and podcasts.

If you’re retrofitting your same old content and marketing strategy to approach the elusive millennial, you’ll just be another voice in the noise. Push the boundaries and make your marketing, smarter, weirder and more wonderful than you think is safe – chances are they’ll love it.

* Gullan is the executive creative director of G&G Digital

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