What Is The Relationship Between Millennials And Brands On Social Media?
Here is an article about six types of millennials – people born between 1980 and the early 2000s, accustomed to technology, the rapid pace of life and new impressions, and how to use this knowledge to promote brands on social media.
The interest in Generation Y has been actively exploited by the media lately, covering this topic from the perspective of marketing and branding to the context of sociology, psychology, and HR.
Genius and stupidity, self-centeredness and love for one’s neighbor, entrepreneurial skills and infantilism as the characteristic features of Generation Y are sometimes condemned or encouraged but always cause a lively reaction.
We decided to put everything on the shelves: to clarify the controversial points and tell how the theory of generations helps to build their work in social networks.
Fathers and children: a different perspective on the issue of generations
One of the main points on which there are differences not only in the media but even in the materials of significant researchers – the boundaries of Generation Y.
Some say people born from 1980 to early 1990s belong to Generation Y. And those who were born in the late ’90s consider themselves to be representatives of generation Z. Others are pushing the boundaries to 1985-2005. In search of the truth, let us turn to the source.
Generational boundaries are clearly defined and justified by the so-called generational theory developed in the early 1990s by the Americans Neil Howe and William Strauss. Later this theory was adapted for other countries.
According to the theory, the “duration” of one generation is 20-22 years. Every 20 years, a new generation of people appears, whose values are fundamentally different from those of their parents and grandparents.
It is interesting to note, that the change of generations occurs only four times, forming an 80-year cycle.
Four generations in the cycle change like seasons and repeat themselves again. This has been happening for many hundreds of years. Howe and Strauss’ research describes this pattern from the end of the 16th century – the time of the birth of the United States – however, researchers claim that this pattern was relevant long before that.
The 80-year cycle represents four archetypes of generations:
The personality of Artists is formed in the epoch of reaction and strict authoritarian control by external forces, be it the authorities or parents.
Idealists grow up in an era of economic upturn and stability
appear in crisis to create a new world on the ruins of “old life”. As Franklin Roosevelt has said, some generations have been given a lot, and from others, a lot is demanded.
What kind of archetype does Generation Y belong to?
Heroes of our time
The archetype “Hero” in the 20th century was embodied in two different generations. This is the so-called “greatest generation” – people born from the 1900s to 1920s.
“Heroes” in the literal sense of the word, protecting, changing, building a new world. Born in an unstable era of power shift, revolution, global upheavals, the representatives of “The Greatest Generation” went through at least one war.
After 80 years, the cycle was repeated. Heroes of our time – Generation Y, or Millennials.
Coworking, smoothies, startups, beards, seals, that is.
The archetype “Hero”, of course, manifests itself differently than 80 years ago. The heroism of Generation Y is in the denial of authorities. In believing in oneself and one’s abilities.
“I’m not ready to spend tens of years on boring work” attitude.
Dynamic, thirsty to know the world. In the prevalence of spiritual values over material ones. In the entrepreneurial spirit.
Millennials grew up in the period of epochal changes: liberalization, globalization, the rapid development of digital technologies, the rapid spread of the Internet and the global financial crisis(es).
Hence the readiness of millennials for change, disbelief in long-term prospects and denial of authority.
Cynicism, self-confidence, infantilism, and optimism: the Millenials experienced a period of relatively stable 2000s.
The information revolution makes young people free and confident. Technology allows one person to compete with big organizations: hackers are against corporations, bloggers are fighting newspapers, terrorists are fighting with states, YouTube users are fighting film studios, and application manufacturers are fighting entire industries.
The Millenials are immune to advertising, and traditional marketing tools are less ineffective.
Generation Y does not watch TV, hardly listen to the radio, do not dream of working in a bank, and do not believe in propaganda.
Five years later, Generation Y will be at the most active age (purchase power-wise). It is they who will produce the lion’s share of GDP, spend money on quality clothes, travel, invest in the education of children and get involved in the mortgage.
A business that will not learn how to communicate with them will be out of competition relatively soon enough.
Different Types of Millenials
The situation is complicated by the fact that there are a lot of Generation Y people and they are different.
Millennials are considered to be the most diverse generation in history. Hence the contradictions in their characteristics.
It is obvious that, in addition to the common features inherent in the generation as a whole, we can also highlight some features by which it can be segmented.
In 2012, The Boston Consulting Group conducted a study called ‘The Millennial Consumer‘. Four thousand Millenials between the ages of 16 and 34, as well as older generations, took part in the study.
Not surprisingly, the answers varied among different ages, social status, income, and gender: their attitudes to technology, communication, media consumption, and marketing.
The result of the research was the selection of 6 types of Millenials. Distinctive features of social behavior formed the basis for the conventional names of these types:
Clean and Green;
Each of the above has its own peculiarities of online behavior. Let’s go in order and find out how with whom and what is better to talk.
Hip-Ennial or “Knowledgeable”
The global insight of this audience sounds like “I can change this world”.
But they say much more than they do. Among the “Informed”, girls dominate. In social networks, they are very active, and they prefer to “like”, “share” and comment rather than write their own thoughtful (or not so) texts.
“Informed” is a very fertile ground for the spread of all kinds of viral activities. For example, from charitable organizations. Remember who most often repost calls for help for dogs, grandmothers, and children among your friends, and you will find a bright representative of the “Informed”.
Gadget Guru or Advanced
“It’s so great to be me!” – is immodest, but they really think so.
These guys (well, mostly guys) want to be independent, make good money and buy cutting-edge gadgets with that money.
That’s right, the main thing is not to be driven, but to lead by yourself. You create most of the content on the web, trying to emphasize your success and follow the trend. And you will be especially pleased if the brand will demonstrate a special personal attitude, will listen to your advice and will communicate with you.
And even better, if among your friends there will be an “evangelist” of the brand and will tell about the most secret novelties and share the promo code.
Millennial Mom or “Moms of Millenials”
“I like to do sports, travel and spoil my child.”
Millennial moms are very active. For them, the child is not a reason to stop self-discovery, but, on the contrary, a driver of personal growth and development. As for the behavior in social networks, they find enough time to produce tons of content.
However, the topics they are interested in are limited to a very clear circle: travel, health, family, education. Politics and economics do not interest the “Mom” archetype until some events start to affect them directly.
Millennial Mothers is a very interesting audience that spends X2 money on itself and its children. If you want to reach them, try to get them to communicate through their reputable bloggers and celebrity moms.
You can communicate directly with them, but it will make an effort to earn their trust.
Clean and Green or Green and Fluffy
“I care not only about myself but also about the world around me”
We called them “Green”, which is the absolute truth, and “Fluffy”, which sometimes does not quite correspond to the truth. Because sometimes they can be quite belligerent.
It’s worth the trouble of being alive, ready to pick up the wave and get involved in the scandal on Facebook pages. The Greens won’t trust you until you prove that you’ve actually reduced emissions. Hello, Volkswagen.
If you want to consolidate the audience of the Green People, give them the opportunity to work for you for free. Let them bring batteries, come up with a recipe for a new dish or tell their friends what a good job they are doing.
“I’m too busy with business and family to think about anything else”
Yes, they don’t care about politics, ecology and public organizations, and at the same time, about your Facebook.
Of course, they use the Internet, maybe they even have profiles on social networks, but they are, as they say, “empty”: a picture instead of an avatar and 10-20 friends.
If your product will interest these harsh guys, they will subscribe to it, but do not expect much involvement from them.
Old-School Millennial or Conservatives
“Social networking is too impersonal, and let’s get together and have a coffee!”
These are Millenials who just pretend to belong to Generation Y. Well, they like live communication, do not feel comfortable in social networks and do not understand how to call a taxi through the application.
Editor’s note: do such people even exist?
Maybe some of them even have a home phone and TV (lol)
If your target audience is Conservatives, try to use the classic media – TV, newspapers, magazines – more, otherwise, there is a risk that you will not reach them at all.
To sum it up
As you can see, six groups of millennials are quite succinct in describing the main types of people who are now between the ages of 14 and 33.
Generational theory is most useful in two cases:
first, when you are looking for a consumer insight for your target audience,
and second when you want to set up a dialogue with the audience through social networks.
Simply describe the target customer as accurately as possible and without illusions. Then find the definition that he or she falls under. Many answers will come by themselves.
Over to you.
BTW, are you interested in some practical ways to address the Generation Y?