Back in October I had a bone to pick with the Share.Like.Buy 2012 millennial marketing conference regarding the lack of, well, millennials. To me, the Gen Y absence spurred a loss of expertise, voice of the customer, and authenticity. It was like listening to a panel of men talk about what women want; they can analyze them and track their behavior all they want, but they actually have no idea unless they ask.
Yesterday I attended “The Mob: Creative UnPlugged” at Creative Week in New York. The session, presented by market research organization Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX), discussed the Gen-C consumer. According to Google’s Introducing Gen C – The YouTube Generation research study, Gen C is comprised of individuals who are passionate about creation, curation, connection, and community.
“We talk a lot about how the world is changing. The world has changed; it’s not changing,” said Shelley Zalis, chief disruptor and CEO of Ipsos OTX.
Zalis explained that the consumer world has shifted from being a “push world” consisting of brands shoving messages down consumers’ throats to a “pull world” made up of consumers pulling what they want, when they want it. If brands want to thrive in this new “pull” frontier, marketers have to stretch their creative across the right content and the right context authentically, a notion Zalis refers to as “The Gumby Theory.”
Although the Gen-C population is not defined by a certain age range, Google notes that 80% of Gen-C consumers are millennials. To determine how to market to this segment, IPSOS OTX went straight to the source, and brought in a “mob” of New York University (NYU) students to discuss their favorite brands and what they look for in creative. As I listened to these young minds share their knowledge (and nostalgically reminisced about bill-free days and dining halls), I couldn’t help but jot down a few of their key insights. Here are four tips on how your brand can attract the young Gen-C’s
When it comes to creative, think big and think now!
“I love seeing brands that take a traditional aspect and revolutionize it,” said NYU junior Dennis Katsnelson. “I love parodies, [and] I love seeing brands that are up to date on popculture.”
Katsnelson cited an interactive video by correction fluid company Tipp-Ex as a prime example of a brand that vamped up the creativity and caught his eye. Zalis added that big ideas don’t always stem from the corporate colossals with mega bucks to spend.
“It’s these little guys that are getting this amplification because they’re so creative,” she said.
NYU junior Samantha Wolfson applauded Lay’s Potato Chips’ Do Us a Flavor campaign and Nike’s FuelBand for their levels of engagement. For the Do Us a Flavor campaign, Lay’s invited potato chip lovers to invent a new chip flavor and then asked its customers to vote for their favorite flavor via text or Facebook. As for Nike, the company’s FuelBand allows athletes to set performance goals, track their activity throughout the day, and share their personal victories with their friends via social.
“Your target audience knows that they’re influential to what you end up choosing as your final product,” Wolfson said. “It’s figuring out what they want, what the target audience wants to see.”
Know your audience
Creative is only valuable if it impacts and sticks with a brand’s audience. Thus, it’s important for brands to home in on their target audiences to ensure that their campaign won’t be a misfire.
For example, NYU junior Matt Bond cited Red Bull and its Procrastination Station, a series of action-packed games and mobile apps, as a brand that knows that its demographic is built up primarily of young, extreme sports enthusiasts.
“This isn’t’ something that could have worked with IBM, for example,” Bond said. “[For] the people who they target, the people who live that lifestyle, the Procrastination Station resonates with [them]. It comes at you like a friend.”
Make it personal
It wouldn’t be college without pizza. NYU junior Jessie Behar listed Domino’s as her late-night pizza service of choice due to the fact that she can watch the assemblage of her pizza from prep time to bake time and determine when her order will be delivered with the Domino’s Tracker.
“They personalize it to every consumer,” Behar said. “I always order Domino’s because I know it’s reliable [and] I can watch it.”