Catering to The Millennial Consumer

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As more and more millennials shift from active to passive content consumption, it is important for brands to learn how to extend their reach to better serve this generation.

Millennials frequently consume news and other media via passive channels such as live stream video or podcasts. This means that more often than not, the millennial consumer chooses not to engage with or further question what they see and hear. In fact, Nielsen’s Millennials on Millennials Report found the generation to be a highly distracted audience in regards to their viewing habits. But since this generation’s actions hold authority, especially with spending, it is extremely important to cater to them. Fortunately, there are simple strategies for brands to use to rethink their ties to the millennial consumer.

Millennials are multitasking and they are quite good at it. It’s time to stop trying to convince them to do otherwise and start embracing their ability to do so. Scrolling on one’s smart phone or tablet during TV commercials is the most common form of millennial multitasking. Older generations who are more engaged audience members will likely change the channel during a commercial break rather than turning to their smartphone for entertainment.

Since millennials are plugged-in to multiple devices at once, reconsider your brand’s ad investment strategy. Rather than funneling the overwhelming majority into TV broadcast, split the investment more evenly among different platforms. Better yet, if your ad relates to a TV broadcast favored by millennials, promote a post right at the commercial break.

Make sure your brand has all bases covered. Since millennials are turning to up-and-coming media channels, sometimes instead of TV, your brand should be present across multiple platforms – especially live stream video and podcasts. Live stream video, specifically on Facebook and Instagram, are highly favored by millennials. The live aspect is much more appealing to viewers than a simple post on social media. A whopping 82% prefer a brand’s live stream video rather than a traditional social post.

Another popular channel among millennials is podcasts. They cover specific categories and although this narrows the scope of their topics it is also why podcasts are so relatable for listeners. 42% of millennial podcast followers tune in at least once a week. Podcasts delve right into trending subject matter and immediately the audience is hooked.

Your brand can easily get involved by sponsoring a podcast. Be sure to do some research so that you can choose a podcast wisely. Your brand’s purpose or product should fall naturally into the discussion and appeal to the targeted audience. By linking your brand to both the podcast’s hosts and their audience, the advertisement is mutually beneficial.

photo credit: Elizabeth Hahn (flickr)

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Purposeful Branding

How Brands Can Distinguish Themselves and Serve A Purpose

Sometimes brand purpose gets lost in the shuffle. A strong brand purpose will tune consumers in to meaningful cultural conversation. Using social impact makes it easy to unleash your brands full potential. First remember to take analytics into account. Your brand can use consumer data to unveil relevant social issues – specifically ones that people truly care about. Quite often the data unfolds into a meaningful narrative.

Using big data, Amazon broke new ground to make organic food even more accessible. Their partnership with Whole Foods enabled customers to pre-order groceries and pick them up in store. But with newfound convenience there’s always a craving for even more convenience. Cue the Prime now app, which allowed pre-ordered groceries to be picked up curbside. And finally, delivered directly to your household. Amazon is innovative and always looking to fine-tune their product development, which is why they are extra attentive to consumer data.

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After taking the analytics into consideration, nudge the consumer. Content overload makes them an easy target. Take full advantage of technology to help push consumers in the right direction. In order to make things as simple as possible, always provide users with the necessary tools to self-navigate. This way they still feel empowered even though the behavioral shift was induced.  Snapchat partnered with TurboVote to prompt users to register to vote. On voter registration day, a “Tap to complete registration” link appeared on voting-eligible user’s Snapchat profile. The app even offered new snap filters so that users could remind their friends to register as well.

 

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Humans like tangibility and there is no better way to convey your brand’s purpose than with concrete change. Carlsberg’s new “Snap Packs” are an excellent example of one brand’s mission to go-green.

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Plastic six-pack rings have long been a threat to marine wildlife. Carlsberg announced that their beers will now be held together with recyclable glue rather than plastic ring holders. The glue will save a whopping 1,200 tones of plastic annually. Carlsberg doesn’t own the rights to the glue and they did so intentionally. It’s not about competition, in fact Carlsberg CEO is hopeful that other breweries and beverage companies follow suit and swap in glue too!

In the 2018 Earned Brand study conducted by Edelman, sixty-four percent of participants said they are buying or not buying from brands based solely on the company’s stance on prevalent issues in society. By honing in on what your brand does rather than what it says, a narrative of brand purpose unfolds. Connecting brand purpose to a timely issue will leave a lasting impression on the consumer by evoking emotion.

photo credit: Atomic Taco (Flickr), Carlsberg

The Monthly Report Card: August

Showcasing industry best practices and providing insight into best use of celebrities and influencers.

(1). Nike – Serena Williams

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Grade A+

Nike’s new Just Do It “Voice of Belief” ad features footage of Serena Williams as a young girl and it is awe-inspiring. The video cuts back and forth between clips and young Serena practicing her serve under her father’s instruction and present-day Serena, the world renown tennis superstar. The video tugs at the heart strings a bit as you see just how far Williams has come. Williams shared the video on twitter and some words of wisdom to all of the dreamers of the world, “If you don’t dare to try and chase your dreams, you’ll rob yourself the joy of doing it. Don’t just dream it.#JustDoIt.”

(2). Land O’ Lakes – Maggie Rose and Liz Rose

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Grade A

Land O’ Lakes’s feminist spin-off of “Old Macdonald” aired on Women’s Equality Day—which celebrated its 98th anniversary of women’s suffrage this year. “She-I-O” celebrates the whopping number of female farmers in America—a group of women often overlooked. The term farmer has long been deemed as a man’s job. Liz Rose wrote the melody for female farmers who are ‘rewriting farming’ – after all women make up 30% of all U.S. farmers . The classic nursery rhyme spin-off launched Land O’ Lakes’s “All Together Better,” campaign, re-positioning the company as an agricultural cooperative that embraces female farmers.

(3). Samsung Galaxy Watch – Rita Ora

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Grade B

Samsung’s new Galaxy watch boasts its enduring battery and standalone LTE. The commercial captures a woman leaving her house in the morning and follows her through her overnight in the woods and into the next day. There was no need for her to bring a charger but not just because there are no outlets in the woods. The new watch has an unparalleled battery life. The ad also hones in on the smartwatch’s music and health monitoring features all to the tune of British singer Rita Ora’s song “Stay Connected Longer”. Despite the songs popularity it didn’t work well with the vibe or message of the ad’s video content.

(4). Chef Boyardee – Lil Yachty and Donny Osmand

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Grade B

Lil Yachty and Donny Osmond collaborated on a long overdue remix of Chef Boyardee’s 80s jingle, “Thank Goodness for Chef Boyardee,” and we are thankful they did. “Start the Par-dee” has a much-needed modern spin. Osmand’s role narrows the consumer age gap between older generations and young adults, mind you, who are much less familiar with the 90-year-old canned pasta. Despite the odd music video that accompanied it, the jingle is actually quite catchy. The brand chose this unlikely duo in hopes of reclaiming their role as a relevant player in the eyes of younger generations so the effort was certainly there.

(5). NBA 2K – Lebron James

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Grade A+

Lebron James is featured as NBA 2K19’s cover athlete. This is James’s second appearance as 2K’s cover athlete but this year it’s the 20th anniversary special edition. The gold graphics feature phrases like, “KING” and “G.O.A.T.,” which resonates with 2K19’s theme – “to be the best, you have to take down the king.” The video really hit a home run with the music choice – hip-hop artist Jay Rock’s song “Win”. And Lebron was a timely choice for the special edition as he gains momentum for his first season in L.A.

(6). Budweiser x Jim Beam – Kassi Ashton

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Grade B+

Legacy brand’s Budweiser and Jim Beam teamed up on the new Budweiser Reserve Copper Lager. In the introductory ad Bud’s Clydesdales are accompanied by the vocals of country music star Kassi Ashton. The new Copper Lager’s well-timed debut encourages beer and bourbon connoisseurs to clink glasses and celebrate the Repeal of Prohibition’s upcoming 85th anniversary. The collaboration is something truly remarkable in its appeal, uniqueness and history. The ad launches an innovative and exciting new brew – one that revamps traditional American beverage brands.

(7). Snickers – Elton John

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Grade A-

Elton John and Boogie face off in an epic rap battle in the new Snickers candy bar ad. Snickers has long coined the phrase “You always lose your edge when you’re hungry.”  John belts out “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” but because he’s hungry his voice is off-key. Nothing a Snickers can’t fix and with that John transforms into Boogie and steals the show with his epic rap. Snickers makes its big debut in the hip-hop territory and Boogie dabbles with acting for the first time. As the legendary Elton John embarks on his farewell tour, Snickers put forth tremendous effort to appeal to audience members of all ages.

(8.) NFL – Todd Gurley, Christian McCaffrey, Jay Ajayi and DeAndre Hopkins

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Grade A

The NFL kicked off the new season with their “Get Ready to Celebrate” multi-platform ad campaign. The ad focuses on the art of touchdown celebrations. We see Gurley, McCaffrey, Ajayi and Hopkins crafting their end zone dance moves in their free time. The ad is very genuine in its exposure of big-name NFL players as real people captured in very silly but human moments. This ad certainly worked in favor of the NFL rebranding themselves away from the “No Fun League” category, hopefully that will parley onto the field as well.

Partnering With Micro-Influencers Over Macro-Influencers

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When it comes to choosing an influencer for your brand it is not a numbers game.

Micro-influencers have a niche audience of dedicated followers wherein quality trumps quantity.

Recently deemed the marketing force of the future, micro-influencers usually have between 10K and 500K followers on each of their social platforms.

A common misconception is that an influencer must have a following 10 times the actual amount needed to bring value to a brand, but this is far from the truth! In fact, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) found that 96% of brands placed “quality of followers” at the top of their influencer checklist. “Credibility and reputation,” was a close second.

Lifestyle blogger Jordan Santos @jordanrisa partners with brands like Michael Kors and Dolce Vita. OPI recently named her their “it girl.”  She also has a knack for social advocacy and is on a mission to help end drunk driving by any means possible.

In her Instagram post above, Santos sports Michael Kors sneakers and a D.A.R.E t shirt—seamless execution of combining style and social advocacy.

Fitness and wellness guru Michelle Carigma @_modernfit has partnered with nearly all of the big names in sports—Addidas, Nike, and Under Armor—to name a few. She has also worked with Victoria Sport, Wanu water, Beats By Dre and Panera Bread. Like @jordanrisa, Carigma also works to intertwine style and social advocacy. Carigma pioneered the #WCWoman social movement which strives, “to break conformity and introduce the influential power of the modern woman.”

Engagement plays a huge role when looking at the quality of an influencer’s followers. A smaller following means higher engagement rates which parlays into more influence by said micro-influencer. Conversely, a macro-influencer with a larger following likely has lower engagement rates.

Not only is engagement measured in likes and comments but also by the ultimate trust an influencer must gain from their followers. Micro influencer, Nicholas Pakradooni has an average engagement rate of 6.57%. To put that in perspective, Kylie Jenner who is also in her early 20s averages at 3.84%.

Fashion influencer Nicholas Pakradooni @cholpak collaborates with brands such as H&M Man, ASOS, Swatch and Topman.

When it comes to authenticity, celebrities pale in comparison to micro-influencers. Partnering with micro influencers who are genuine in their shared interests and likeness for your brand can be more mutually beneficial than partnering with celebrity macro influencers.

photo credit: Automated Social (Flickr)

Changes in Betting: How it Will Impact Esports and Celebrities

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In America, the two largest activities surrounding major sporting events are fantasy football and betting.

With a law change in the US Supreme Court, states are now allowed to decide if they want to make sports betting legal. CEO of DraftKings, Jason Robins, said that he estimated an increase of over $15 billion in revenue in the fantasy sports industry alone if a majority of the states legalize sports betting.

In 2015, 25 percent of NFL’s television audience were bettors according to a Nielsen Sports study. When it came to sports coverage, bettors watched twice as much compared to non-bettors. With the legalization of sports betting, these numbers can only rise.

This law change could bring both a positive and negative impact on all major leagues and players with one obvious concern being that professional athletes could fix a game for celebrities and family.

Referees are probably more of a concern when it comes to fixing a game since their pay grade is significantly less than a professional athlete and could be easily manipulated by a monetary payout to throw a game affecting both the athletes and bettors. And imagine the effects it could bring on collegiate sports, athletes will no longer be playing for their school pride anymore but rather an easy way to make a quick buck since they are unpaid players.

Athletes and the leagues must try and keep the integrity of the sport in check and not succumb to outside influences to throw or fix a game. Once leagues figure out a way to get part of the profit and keep the game fair, they will be all in for sports betting.

Teams are even discussing whether to bet on games within their stadiums at booths, on team apps and/or attached to game streaming. These additions though risky, because they could receive backlash of creating a culture of gambling addicts, could make them tens to hundreds of billions of dollars.

Esports has grown to where fantasy leagues and betting are infiltrating the video game sector. The livestreaming platform Twitch, in 2017 had 2.2 million unique streamers with over 292 billion minutes watched.

Celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Shaquille O’Neal have invested in esports. In 2015, Kutcher invested in Unikrn, a real time betting platform for gaming. With the legalization of sports betting, Unikrn will become more popular among bettors throughout the United States, in turn helping celebrity investors like Kutcher.

Esports is a sporting segment that only continues to grow and gain popularity among millennials. By the 2022 Asian Games, esports will become a medal event raising more awareness and creating new influencers and celebrities among the younger generations.

Even with all the views esports receives, this segment of marketing is only now being tapped into. Since esports is still progressing in popularity, marketers should take the risk and market on this gaming platform.

photo credit: Matthew King (Flickr)

The Monthly Report Card: July

Showcasing the best practices of the industry and providing insight into how to best use celebrities or influencers to your brand’s advantage.

(1). StubHub – Future, Todd Gurley & Albert Pujols

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Grade A

StubHub released a new marketing campaign centered around regret. Future proves that concert tickets to his show is better than a fancy dinner and boring birthday present. Todd Gurley is in a pottery class with a bachelorette party where the bride would rather be at a NFL game. Albert Pujols proves you should call your dad and invite him to a MLB game. Tying these commercials together with the slogan ‘Be There’ plays on the viewers heartstrings that they will probably regret the fancy dinner, pottery class and not calling your dad, but they won’t regret buying one of these live experiences with StubHub being the only way to get you there. StubHub is trying to change the way a consumer views them, from just selling tickets, to selling experiences.

 

(2). Ruby Tuesday – Rachel Dratch

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Grade D

At the beginning of 2018, Ruby Tuesday hired a new CEO who wanted to find a way to set the brand apart from the competitors. His first mistake was choosing a partnership with Rachel Dratch. Yes, Rachel Dratch certainly made the commercial different than competitors but not in a positive way. Even though the goal of the commercial was to target the younger crowd, it missed the mark mainly because the younger crowd most likely does not know who she is unless they watch old reruns of SNL. Her voices along with the annoying sub-par jokes would make any viewer change the channel quickly.

 

(3). Walmart – “Let’s Get it Started” by Black Eyed Peas

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Grade A

While Walmart is a household name, their back-to-school ‘Go Back Big’ campaign with “Let’s Get it Started” by the Black Eyed Peas brought more awareness to their brand with the 2003 song. The week of July 23, 2018 the commercial was the number three most Shazam’d commercial, yet again placing Walmart on another Shazam list with a successful music licensing partnership. With the help of the Black Eyed Peas, Walmart was able to stand apart from other back to school commercials because it showed the ease and excitement of back-to-school shopping using the Walmart app. With an overwhelmingly upbeat song, parents lining up-cheering and high-fiving their children as they run up excitedly to school for the first day, makes any parent dream that this is their child’s first day experience. A commercial like this, where the brand and song are benefiting, is definitely a successful music licensing campaign.

 

(4). Dick’s Sporting Goods – song by Nacey

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Grade A

The ‘Play Like You Own It’ campaign by Dick’s Sporting Goods was a refreshing summer sports commercial. It showed the dedication and hard work athletes put into off-season training. “I Own It” by Nacey caps off the campaign by giving it an upbeat feel without overpowering the underlying message of all the apparel and equipment offered at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

 

(5). Coca-Cola & FIFA – Jason Derulo

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Grade A

With the help of Burns Entertainment, Coca-Cola released their #Ready commercial after the beginning of the FIFA World Cup. “You Had Four Years” and “Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute” appeared on the screen to remind spectators not to be like the Jason Derulo or the other fans, missing any of the World Cup because they were not prepared with a Coca-Cola in hand for the game. Coca-Cola has one of the longest corporate partnerships with FIFA, having advertised in stadiums at every FIFA World Cup since 1950. Partnering with Jason Derulo this year, Coca-Cola commercials hit 185 countries before the beginning of the 2018 World Cup. Derulo and Coca-Cola also collaborated on the 2018 World Cup song, “Colors”, continuing that nostalgic relationship between FIFA and Coca-Cola.

 

(6). Gatorade – Serena Williams

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Grade B

Serena Williams, a mother of one, was featured in the Gatorade ‘Like a Mother’ commercial. The campaign shows that Serena did not return to greatness despite becoming a mother, but rather she has always been great because she plays #LikeAMother. She commentates, “you sacrifice, push through the pain, got back to work, gave 100% without any sleep, grew stronger, found an extra gear, never lost you, you created greatness, like a mother.” Gatorade exemplifies the drive that mothers have, much like athletes, and that being a mother is not a hurdle. Gatorade’s commercial is compelling and empowering to all women. The only hope is that viewers do not take the “like a mother”a derogatory way.

 

(7). Specialized – Peter Sagan (3x Cycling World Champion)

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Grade B+

Specialized used the Tour de France to promote the Turbo Electric Bike with the help of three-time Cycling World Champion Peter Sagan and Grandma Joan, creating a lighthearted, “friendly” competition commercial.  Grandma Joan, with two knee replacements and a pacemaker, ultimately wins the race against a world champion cyclist because of the Turbo e-bike. The brand Specialized is proving that “electric bikes are leveling the playing field for the future of cycling” and could be enough for the brand to see a large revenue boost in their turbo e-bikes sales.

 

(8). Rolex – Rickie Fowler

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Grade B

Rolex has been the Official Timekeeper of the U.S. Open since 1980. Their campaign with various golfers tells the story of how they became the golfer they are today. Rickie Fowler was a natural choice for Rolex because he regularly shows off his collection of Rolex watches on social media. Being sponsored by Rolex for a few years, Fowler’s commercial was inspirational and tells a story like every Rolex tells a story. He said, “If you keep being who you are, everything else falls into place.” Rolex makes it clear that the brand holds the same beliefs as Ricky Fowler and other golfers and share in the ambition for excellence and superior performance while making a name for themselves in their collective industry.

 

(9). Speedo – Olympic Swimmers

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Grade B

Celebrating swimming’s most decorated brand, Dripping In Gold features #TeamSpeedo Olympic Medalists Nathan Adrian, Missy Franklin, Conor Dwyer, Cullen Jones, Elizabeth Beisel, Ryan Murphy, Kevin Cordes, Katie Meili, Hali Flickinger and Becca Meyers. Speedo is already jumping on the 2020 Summer Olympics marketing bandwagon with this commercial proving how trusted the brand is among athletes by showing them practicing in the apparel. Being the most trusted brand for over fifty years, Speedo took a subtle approach to show their achievements. Dripping in Gold is a creative way the brand ties the Olympics, athletes and the success of the brand together.

 

(10). Priceline – Kaley Cuoco

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Grade C-

Priceline has done nothing new in their latest commercial featuring Kaley Cuoco. The past two years she has stood in a hotel and talked about the features Priceline has over competitors. This commercial is no different. With her large social presence and fan base, Priceline could have used Cuoco to their advantage. They have not done that in their latest commercial. In 2013 when the partnership began, she sat alongside William Shatner with much better creative concepts. But since Shatner’s exit, Cuoco’s commercials resemble all the other travel website commercials and needs new creative or a new face.

photo credits: YouTube

Collaboration Branding with Celebrity Marketing

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With brands trying to outdo themselves, collaborations are becoming the new trend in celebrity marketing.

Brands are constantly finding creative ways to market themselves, like collaborating with other brands to develop unique products for the consumer. A majority of the time, these companies are related in a way that their products work well together, such as MasterCard and Apple Pay.

There are outcast brands that decide to partner with non-related companies to produce a new item for consumers. Here are examples of different brands coming together with celebrity support to help promote the product.

Coach/Disney

Coach teamed up with Disney to create purse lines. Because of this collaboration, coach took a youthful stand in the luxury goods category. With celebrities like Chloe Grace Moretz sporting a Felix the Cat purse or Chrissy Teigen with the Mickey kisslock bag, Disney was able to target an ‘adult’ demographic that most Disney goods do not. Coach and Disney also created “A Dark Fairy Tale” line that targeted the not-so-sweet side of princesses.

Clarisonic/Keith Haring Foundation

Artist Keith Haring’s artwork was featured on the skin care tool Clarisonic. This collaboration Clarisonic x Keith Haring raised awareness about AIDS by donating part of the proceeds. Haring passed away from AIDS and the co-founder of Clarisonic studied AIDS before he started Clarisonic. At the launch party for this collaboration, model Coco Rocha attended to promote the product.

Collaborations are becoming a hot marketing tool for brands. With the right celebrities, collaborations are huge successes. Here are brands that have recently announced upcoming collaborations:

Johnnie Walker/HBO’s Game of Thrones

HBO’s Game of Thrones has partnered with Johnnie Walker to create ‘White Walker’ Whiskey. The whiskey’s slogan, set to release Fall of 2018, is “Scotch is Coming” mimicking GOT’s infamous saying, “Winter is Coming”. Johnnie Walker’s target market is urban men from 25-35. Over 83% of GOT viewers are men, with 72% of those viewers in the age range of 18 to 29.

Johnnie Walker is hitting the right target market with this collaboration. Their celebrity should fit this demographic as well. The best option would be to find a Game of Thrones cast member to endorse the whiskey, or they should find a male celebrity, age 25-30 that is a GOT enthusiast to make this campaign an unparalleled success.

Adidas/IKEA

IKEA announced they will be collaborating with Adidas to create at-home fitness for busy women by naturally integrating sport and wellness into life at home. This is a new venture for both companies and could be a success. When it comes to marketing this collaboration, they need an athletic female, preferably a mother, to resonate with their target market.

When creating new products there are bound to be bumps along the way. Unexpected partnerships can cause friction among brands, however, this friction could work to their advantage because the product is not a ‘normal’ item consumers have seen before. Celebrities are willing to jump on board with these collaborations because they want to be the face of something new and unexpected.

photo credit: unconsciousentimentality via (Flickr)