Millennials are the generation loosely defined as being born in the period between the late 1980s and the early 2000s. Now, in 2015, we are seeing the generation raised on technology and innovation coming in to the market for many business owners in Yorkshire. This blog sets out a few characteristics of ‘Generation Y’, and why PR is essential for speaking to this new audience.
- Millennials are Tech-savvy
Having grown up through innovations such as the smartphone and the proliferation of connected devices, the next generation is adept at communicating online, and this has been causing problems for media and marketers. As a result of their Tech smarts, no other group of adults is as adept at avoiding advertising as millennials, so having engaging content such as PR that can create a positive brand perception without coming across as advertising is essential to reach them.
If you spend money on Facebook advertising you will find you are struggling to reach them because they are using AdBlock Plus, if you spend money on radio advertising they will not hear it because they are more comfortable streaming music through their phones to their car. Not only is PR less budget intensive than a multimedia advertising campaign, but it also has a greater reach with them.
- Millennials are community orientated, and their community is global
With the vast number of individuals now being on at least one form of social network, the millennial generation has formed a vast community capable of disseminating information faster than any one other medium could. Often this can be to the detriment of businesses or individuals, in the case of the backlash from the ‘Cecil the Lion’ incident, but here is where a Public Relations specialist can truly engage.
Our job is about writing something people want to read, and reaches a large audience. If we can produce that great content, it will be shared and reach a much larger audience than ever before. Advertisers as well as PR professionals have picked up on this, by changing their advertising to much more sharable engaging content rather than having a promotional sales feel. See the work of Dollar Shave Club and John Lewis for some perfect (and seasonal) examples of this
- Millennials want to make a difference
One key driving factor behind this community-centric generation is that of making a poignant difference and leaving the world a better place than they found it. Trends such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge show that helping others is just as important as helping themselves, and they are not as driven by self-entitlement as some may suggest. By working to make a difference in your community your business not only helps those in need but also engages the next generation on a deeply emotional level.
While this is great for PR, the publicity that comes from it should be thought of as a happy side effect – the future of business is in community and cohesion, not in the illusion of such.
There are a number of differences between this generation and the last, but from a publicity point of view these are the key factors you should consider. More typical marketers can also make use of the competitiveness of Millennials and how game theory can help create repeat usage of products and services, or their willingness to try new products and technologies, but businesses should be aware that they are dealing with a vastly difference audience coming into the market.