It wouldn't be amiss to say that the burning question in the minds of today's brand marketers is: How to capture the imagination of the millennials? Broadly speaking, millennials refer to the group of people born between 1981 and 1996. Also loosely categorized as generation Y, the term describes the generation that is currently a key player in the social, economic and cultural space.
Technology has played a huge role in dividing lines between generations. The oldest “Post-Millennial” member would have been around 10 when the iPhone was introduced, whereas many millennials will still have memories of landlines. However, both agree that this era is defined by the ‘dynamic’ nature of the technology. Technology has enabled them to explore, experiment and adopt different forms of content and this trend is likely to continue. This trend was also predicted in a recent report by Ericsson, which stated that an increase in video consumption over the next couple of years is most likely to drastically fuel mobile broadband traffic growth.
Millennials across India have easy access to the internet. Most of them own a smartphone, and there is nearly 84% 3G/4G penetration . Interaction is the buzzword for millennials, who spend an average time of around 17 hours every week on the Internet . And this time spend, is only set to increase with the growth of more friendly technology, rapid increase in internet accessibility with decreasing price points. Current usage patterns indicate that this time is spent in movie streaming, music streaming, online banking, social media, reading books/news, web browsing and watching videos. The Ericsson report has also estimated a rise in the number of 5G subscriptions to 1.5 billion by 2024.
The number of millennials watching online entertainment is also greater than the number of those watching cable TV. TV largely demands a fixed time schedule, which may not be the most convenient for today’s always-on-the-go millennial. TV has traditionally been perceived as a household device whereas the mobile is personal. Consequently, the nature of storytelling on TV will always be “family" oriented rather than “personal". Today, youngsters want to be entertained with stories made for them, that are more relevant and meaningful to their age group, which can be consumed on devices, and at a time and place of their choice. Hence, they prefer using the internet because of its inherent advantages: the convenience of VOD, gamification, variety of content and on-the-go viewing.
Applications like Smule, Tiktok, Wattpad, etc. are offering millennials a personalized and convenient way to connect and communicate, as per their own schedule, making the world a smaller place.
With so many customized offerings available, millennials do expect brands to create similar offerings for them. Traditional campaigns, usually tailor-made for a generic, large audience are unlikely to cater to their nuanced tastes. Copy-pasted content, taken from traditional and digital campaigns pertaining to other countries will fail to drive engagement unless there is a strong cultural context in place. Engaging this hard-to-pin-down audience requires a smarter approach to communication. Millennials keenly follow brands and are invested in their stories. They actively seek out brands with a purpose – a purpose that resonates with their own values, and the ones that meet this criterion, often become part of their consumption repertoire. To reach out to this audience, brands need to be actively plugged into the larger internet ecosystem, create stories that are video-led and should be available to take conversation-led engagement forward.
For a brand to succeed with the millennials, they need to optimize technology and make sure their content is easily available on phones and tablets, and ensure this content is engaging and connects with the target audience's overall set of beliefs and purpose.
Written by Viral Jani , Senior Vice President at Times Bridge.