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Just don’t fake it…

Just don’t fake it…

Par : HUB Institute
5 décembre 2016
Temps de lecture : 4 min
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A point of view on Millennials and Digital repositioning

Starting in 2017, for the first time, the media investment in Digital will be higher than traditional TV’s*. This historical shift wasn’t expected until 2020 but the explosion of Digital platforms’ capabilities has significantly accelerated the process. In short Digital is a data driven support that allows a brand to target a very specific audience empowering you to customize your message accordingly. This new targeting capability is being measured and utilized at the deepest of levels. The effort of tailoring the message to a niche target pushed brands to understand their consumers’ behavior in order to maximize their investment. One templated message for everyone is just no longer relevant and efficient. Let’s go back to the’ 90s, when the new generation started to access “tools” that allowed them to communicate with their friends around the world instantly. A generation that was exposed to both messages; dry and “over promising” TV commercials as well as more relevant interactions via their personal computers. Which one would you want to grow up with? That audience that we call now “Millennials” is the consequence of a generation that has fought to utilize digital capabilities to the maximum in order to get their revenge on that dictatorial traditional marketing. However, taking the risk of creating disruptive and customizable content that would resonate so much more to a younger audience was back then inconceivable and mostly structurally not feasible for brands. Brands slowly lost their credibility, Millennials started to trust their “peers” with impartial judgement to advise them on what to buy - but more importantly, what to dislike. Brands are becoming accountable, which is a game changer. Brands are not the only ones who can afford exposure. The voice of Millennials slowly became louder and it would be a mistake to either shut them off or shout louder.  This is when traditional marketing lost its strength and when brands had to genuinely become part of that “organic” online conversation. The larger you are, the deeper is the lack of trust to compensate for. But how can brands redeem themselves to this generation? I’ve had the privilege to service major global brands going through the same mandatory repositioning, with the deep desire to take a change and decode their audience. Well, to make it simple, the common key of success was just to be honest and make the shift at the core. General Motors with “BUICK” took the gamble back in 2012 and revamped it ALL, not just on a communication level but all the way through the design of all their vehicles. They got the point and couldn’t fake it and had to own it “BUICK, not your grand parents’ car anymore”. The budget is not only invested to expose customers to a simple message but to take that 101 conversation to the next level and welcome to experience something more. Of course brands still have to market and promote their products and services, Millennials know and understand that, but you will have to give them something in return. While some brands handle this repositioning by spending up to 47%* of their Digital media buy in display banners, others have realized that digital and Millennials mean so much more than that. The change has to happen at the root by understanding that any old “mass media” approach doesn’t make you Digital, it only makes you feel safe. On the other end, for brands who have understood the main challenges between what we call earned (credibility/organic) VS paid (reach) media, the solution that would bridge both was clear: Influencers programs “If my brand isn’t credible enough then let’s buy a credible voice who has reach within my audience”. Those social media “influencers” will create tailored content on behalf of your brand while utilizing their own reach and voice. While this approach was based on a very clever idea, it has slowly reverted to the old business model of buying reach, allowing the wealthiest brands to speak louder. An approach that at the core goes against what Millennials were running away from. Unfortunately for this strategy, the Federal Trade Commission has uncovered the hypocrisy of this method by regulating the usage of paid content distributed by influencers. They will have to add a specific mention in the caption (#ad ; #sponsoredpost…). The truth is regardless of your approach, if your focus remains on compensating for quality products or services issue by buying your reach, then the Millennials will just eventually expose it. For one example, Dominos Pizza’s rebranding  in 2010; the brand admitted its sauce was just not good and the steps they took to fix it, which led to a drastic increase in sales by 2011. Isn’t that strategy going against any traditional marketing rules? Yes, but it totally aligned with what Millennials are expecting: The Truth.  It will eventually pay off as 90% of your audience’s purchase is influenced by an organic content (peer to peer)**. In short, let’s make them FEEL / TRUST and FALL IN LOVE with you again, which platform you decide to use is ultimately somehow irrelevant. Take the risk to rely on them, because once the trust is back, their voices will resonate more than any impressions that you will pay for. Sources: *eMarketer ** Study from Pew Research Center