THE BLOG

Top 3 Things Millennials Want From Brands

07/07/2014 09:20 am ET | Updated Sep 06, 2014
  • Melanie Curtin Writer/speaker on sex & dating and eCommerce. Creator of viral content. Chocolate lover. Proud Millennial.

Millennials and their wants and needs can be elusive. Heck, most Millennials don't even know what constitutes a 'Millennial.'

One definite, though, is that most brands want to reach Millennials. And while I can't speak for my entire generation, here are the top three things I'd love to see more brands do:

1. BE CREATIVE

Kmart destroyed with Ship My Pants (that ship was hilarious). They then outdid themselves with Jingle Balls (though it's possible I'm biased because it was a bunch of goodlooking men in boxers).

Why did these kill? Two reasons:

1. They were very short.
2. They were very creative.

To me, creativity is either something I haven't seen before, or that brings a smile to my face or impresses me in some way. And the most effective creative content I've seen tells one story. It doesn't cover a lot; it's one idea, done well.

It doesn't always have to be thought out in advance or expensive to produce, either. One of my favorite brand moments was when a Rihanna concert was rained out and Uber tweeted, "Hey, @Rihanna, will you come play if we pick you up with an umbrella-ella-ella?"

Another fave was That Oreo Tweet during the Superbowl. It was clear Oreo was quick on its feet and didn't need to take forever to come out with a fancy campaign. Someone (probably a Millennial) designed that image quickly and got it out there.

I love creative sh*t. Can't get enough of it. Capture my imagination, and you capture my heart.

2. SPEAK MY LANGUAGE

Part of the reason I dislike traditional advertising is that it's boring. I want to be able to relate to the brands I'm buying from. I want them to speak my language.

Two brands that crush it at this:

1. Hinge, the dating app that connects people based on mutual Facebook friends. Their first description of what differentiates them from other dating apps is, "No randos."

You're speakin' my language, Hinge. In more ways than one.

2. Chubbies, the shorts brand for men. Check out their description of their social media:

2014-07-02-chubbies.jpg

I want to follow them and buy their stuff just because of the FB one. Lolz.

If you want to make me happy, be creative. If you want to make me loyal, speak my language.


3. GIVE ME SOMETHING TO DO

I'm a sucker for engagement. Since that's one of those annoying buzzwords, I'll break it down. For me, it's simple: I become engaged when I get to do something.

The times I have the most fun with brands are when I get to participate: a comment-to-win contest on Facebook, a Best Photo challenge on Instagram, when a brand asks an (actually interesting) question, like "Who would look better on a Harley -- Batman or Spiderman?" Or even just live chat, so I get to participate in a conversation.

I also feel engaged when I'm sharing something creative a brand has created or done - I get to put my own comments in on the post on Facebook, and track my own personal 'engagement.'

Bottom line: My favorite brand experiences are when I feel included in, rather than advertised to.

I'll bet more than a few Millennials would agree with me on that.

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We're in the midst of a golden age when it comes to brand interaction. With all the shifting boundaries and "anything goes" attitude (not to mention more and more Millennials actually in charge), we're seeing a lot of bold, unexpected, or fearless marketing and brand tactics. Many are either inspiring, delightful, or just plain hilarious in their execution, and I'm pumped to see how it all unfolds.

In fact, I'm so excited to see what happens, I might just ship my pants.