In the hyper-connected world of social networks, online content consumption and smart devices which define the Millennial lifestyle, brands are finding it tough to forge a connection through conventional methods and channels. Consequently, Millennials are being blamed for killing yogurt, fashion, cheese, hotels and what not. Are they simply stopping consumption or are they being prudent with their purchase?
Millennials prefer brands which connect with their value system. Direct to consumer brands seems to resonate their values and communication with that of the Millennials.
Values Triggering Millennials Purchase Decisions:
Quality : Millennials focus on quality over quantity that extends to include the quality of the process that manufactured the product. Softbank-backed Brandless lays huge emphasis on details of the product — whether it’s organic, gluten-free, fair trade etc. By going straight to the customer while saving cost on distribution and branding, with high quality output, Brandless’ products are almost 40% less than comparable products
Innovative Design : Design aesthetics are important to the Millennial and no one has done it better than the US-based company, Away, which claims its suitcases to be “first-class luggage at a coach price”. From the design perspective it has everything a modern traveler needs — an ejectable battery (which can charge your phone and other devices), a three-digit lock, a laundry bag and charger converters so the ejectable battery can be used across the world. Suitcase, which was long considered a utility based product, became one which Millennials loved showing off. It became an extension of their travel style, unique and one of a kind.
Transparency: One of the favourite direct to consumer beauty brands of Millennials is Glossier which take their customers as their stakeholders. They built a sense of authenticity and belonging in a beauty industry which is fixated on glamour, striking a chord with the Millennials. With limited, but relevant SKUs. Glossier designs products by putting the customer needs first and then involving its loyal customer base to almost co-create the product. For e.g. customers shared how the routine of face washing involved two steps: first removing makeup and then using a face wash. Glossier came up with a one of a kind dual face wash which became an instant hit with the customers as it solved a real problem, effectively.
Eco-friendly and Natural : A popular US-based brand which has hit the sweet spot with the Millennial audience is The Honest Company, founded in 2011, by the Hollywood actress, Jessica Alba. It offers organic, environmentally safe, natural products for moms and their babies. Millennials prefer natural/organics products and are concerned about impact of production on the environment.
How can brands connect with the Millennials?
Invest in Authentic Content : Millennials want to feel that the content a brand is posting on social media is made for them, it’s organic. They appreciate honesty and transparent campaigns with them almost always win. To that effect, brands should focus on minimalist, clean visuals which reinforce the ideas of honesty, value and straightforwardness while being witty and direct.
Collaborate with Consumers : Millennials like having a say in how a product is created, almost becoming co-product creators. A good example of this is the marketing strategy of the makeup brand Glossier which creates content addressing beauty issues of the customers and showcases real people — beauty store owners, ballerinas, entrepreneurs and their experience with Glossier’s products on their blog, Into the Gloss — a smart strategy to use UGC which endorses the company’s products themselves.
Influencers are Important : Millennials are more likely to buy a product, from an influencer they trust and recommends.
“Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts, who happen to be strangers, than advertisements and 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.”¹
Globally, millennials account for 27% of the world’s 7.4 billion population and there are 440 million in India. They constitute the largest demographic in the country which along with owners of high disposable incomes, make a force to reckon with. Hence, it is in the interest of brands themselves, to focus on this highly engaged and loyal audience. Product market-fit and pricing will play integral role in scaling new direct to consumer brands in India along with Millennial values.