Digital Branding for Millennials

Posted On August 3, 2011

Marketers and businesses trying to reach Millennials know by now that the generation they seek lives in a digital world. If you want to be noticed by Millennials, you must reach them where they are: online, social networks, email, instant messaging, etc. However, connecting with Millennials on their turf has proved to be a fruitless quest for many. The online world is littered with websites and Facebook pages that are unnoticed by their target audience. Now, a study from MTV offers insights into Millennials’ digital habits, or “what makes them click.”

The study shows that Millennials’ digital habits are not just a matter of media consumption, but rather have created a culture unto itself. So the first tip offered by the authors of the study is to follow the etiquette of that culture. For example, do not “overshare” on social networks or Millennials are apt to “hide” your “feed,” i.e., your message will no longer reach them. The second tip is that Millennials should be able to use your brand as a “proxy.” In other words, if they like and identify with the style or message of your branding, they will use it to express themselves to others, sharing your brand in the process.

Third, you should “curate” your online identity like a Millennial. Keeping it “up to date” doesn’t mean keeping the information current. It means keeping it interesting, cool, ever changing, and associated with symbols that represent the brand in a way that attracts interest. Google’s variation of its homepage logo is a perfect example. The fourth tip is that your brand should develop a “feedback loop.” Millennials respond to digital feedback. If they post something, you post in response. They’re likely to post again and keep returning to your brand for more feedback.

Finally choose the right medium. According to one millennial, “sending an email is like going out to dinner and Facebook is like getting coffee or just seeing someone at the store.” Are you using the appropriate platform for your product and your relationship with your target audience? If not, you might be scaring them off rather than attracting them to you.

One of the study’s authors has summarized its findings in Advertising Age here:

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