Adweek Europe: Engaging Millennials

Becci Dive, Media Planner, was at an Adweek session on millennials this week.

CaptureI was at this seminar earlier this week and some interesting discussion points were raised. As the panel weren’t industry theorists, it was much more discussion of opinion but some nice points were raised which I thought I would share with you.

  • The seminar was opened with the key headlines that millennials desire to make a difference, are sold experiences not things and find user generated content 35% more memorable.
  • The notion that millennials view themselves as hard done by was raised, but the panel discussed the point that actually, this group are actually due credit for their fight to resolve the ‘mess made by generations before them’. Recycling and race equality were key examples of this, where huge steps have been taken in the millennial generation to move forward with both these issues.
  • The issue of millennials’ apathy toward certain issues was put down to evidence – history has shown this generation that getting involved and having a voice frequently isn’t worth it e.g. the Nick Clegg promise to cut tuition fees, and the impact this will have on millennials voting in the next election. A result of this is millennials actually looking to make changes where they feel they can themselves, without having to put their trust and energy in others.
  • While media wasn’t particularly touched on, it was proposed that in fact this audience create outlets / media platforms themselves, and these touchpoints may not be seen in the mainstream, so a lot of the positive work this group does is frequently overlooked – fashion blogger Fleur de Force was on the panel and spoke at length about how blogging earlier wasn’t a career, but millennials have changed this. This acted as support for the theory that Generation Y are in fact changing things for themselves, working in their own spaces to make things happen both for society and themselves.
  • Collaboration was a key theme which the panel viewed as a key feature of millennials, painting them as a crowd with an “we’re all in this together” attitude – just a note here: I think they underplayed the competitive nature of this generation which I still think is incredibly prevalent, meeting online to collaborate, then taking ideas and executions offline.
  • Each panel member was asked who their role model was, and all of them said they drew from their direct peer group for inspiration, as people who use their energy to teach / educate for the better. One of the challenges raised was how women can become role models when frequently the visibility of high profile women in their respective sectors is limited. We don’t see the diversity of high profile women, and when they are written about or interviewed, more often than not it is in the context of fashion or style, so their credentials become undervalued and under-communicated, a flaw which the panel felt incredibly strongly about.

This spurred on a conversation about why these women may also not be role models to millennials, as the way success is defined has changed dramatically for this generation, with many considering that success is now defined by the individual. It’s no longer about finance and more about having the final say in their own lives.

  • The session wrapped up with a brief look at where brands sit in all this – young people are still attached to brands, but are less loyal; one mistake and you’re out! Brands frequently lose these consumers by stopping the conversation and engagement once they’ve ‘got’ them. This complacency coupled with the fast-paced nature of millennials (they have access to so much information they can quickly move on to something else at ease) puts brands at risk of losing this generation. It was agreed that ‘enabling’ brands who maintain a conversation and relationship with their millennial audience are the ones who will win!
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