Here's a fun game... say the word "Millennial" in a room full of designers and watch them scatter like cockroaches. Somehow the word and moreover the challenge it represents has become super-scary to those of us trying to appeal to the demographic.
For those of you who live under a log, Millennials are those consumers born from 1977 to 2000. And the reason they elicit such fear in designers and marketers alike is that they're seen as a moving target. For instance, wine industry big boys are totally freaked out because they don't see any brand loyalty in the generation. It's a latest-greatest mentality and that makes growing a brand extremely difficult.
But I'm not sure I buy it. Here are some terms that I've found peppered throughout research on the internet describing Millennial values and what they're looking for in a brand:
Fits Their Personality
Would Recommend to a Friend
Has a Sense of Social Responsibility
Says Important Things
Shares Similar Interests
To me it sounds like we're describing a significant other, not a brand (well, maybe not the 'would recommend to a friend). But I think that's exactly the point we should take away from this type of research: Millennials want a real connection with a real brand.
So how should a designer apply this to projects where Millennials are listed as the target audience?
It's simple. Be true. Don't try and convince the audience what they want...just give them what they actually want. This demographic is very aware when they're being marketed to and if you're trying to trick them into liking something that doesn't jive with their core values then you're going to lose them before you can say "selfie."
- Brandt Hoekenga