Catalyst Branding

How Millennials Are Transforming Branding

September 21, 2016

Traditional Branding On The Cusp of Disruption

Several studies reveal that traditional marketing and branding disciplines are losing their impact when it comes to serving millennials.  Credibility and differentiation are no longer earned simply through what we say.  Instead, they’re established by what we do and what others say about us.

How Millennials Decide

Millennials make purchase decisions in a manner uniquely theirs:

They learn as much as they can

They share with their trusted network to gather a consensus of opinion

They strive to forge a two way relationship

They demand discussion and responsiveness

They’re drawn to the authentic – those who do what they say and are true to what they promise

They’re motivated by customized “deals”

“Value” is the prime driver


The Role of Brand is Different for Millennials

The role of brand is about shaping a narrative that defines who you are in a potential relationship:

What you believe

Why you exist

What you do to deliver on this reason for being

How you do it

Personality is more critical than ever:

Personifies the brand

Humanizes the relationship

Shapes communication style – verbal and visual

Guides behavior – relating, teaching, solving, delivering


Selling is bad.  Sharing and teaching are good.

Millennials seek to be better equipped to make the decision themselves.  They don’t want others making the decision for them and telling them what to do.


Branding is necessary, but no longer sufficient

Millennials need to be engaged as they live. Interrupting them and forcing them to listen to you turns them off.  This is one of the major reasons so many are turning away from cable to streaming content. Advertising as we know it is no longer the most effective engagement mechanism.

The new challenge is capturing their attention in the context of how they live.  Giving them the information they need to teach themselves and allowing them the freedom to engage with you as they prefer through the channels they choose to use.

If you’re successful in engaging them, they will demand an active dialogue.  They will expect you to shape your offer for them based upon what you’re learning in that process.

They will share intensely.  If they see you as right for them, all of their friends will know about you and will be encouraged to give you a try.  If, however, you turn them off, then rest assured that all in their network will know about it.

Relevance continues to be an important driver.  But the definition of relevance is expanded to include both what you offer and who you are in the context of a potential relationship.

Authenticity makes or breaks a relationship.  “Are you true to who you say you are?” Is the core question millennials constantly ask.  This is the foundation of the new trust.

Responsiveness is also key.  Do you hear me and are you willing to show me how much you’re prepared to shape your offer for me based upon what you know about me?


In Conclusion

Branding, engagement and delivery are all one in the same for millennials.  They want to form a relationship with an authentic source of value who will commit to being true to their word in promise and deed, engage with them in an active dialogue, shape their offer to meet their desires, deliver in all the ways promised and reward them for their loyalty to you.

Posted under: Branding Strategy, Changes in branding, Demand Driving Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Success Driving Briefs