Lessons from the most talked about brands among millennials

YouGov recently conducted a study on millennials to find out which brands permeated their discussions with family and friends over the past two weeks, resulting in a list mostly comprised of technology companies.

Netflix came first in its top ten, with 73.8 per cent of millennials boosting the brand via word of mouth. It was followed by Facebook (73.5 per cent) and Apple (73.3 per cent). The iPhone proved so influential it came in fourth place separate of its creator (71.1 per cent), trailed by Airbnb (70.5 per cent) and Primark (70.4 per cent).

Other companies to make the ranking included Spotify (70.3 per cent), IKEA (69.1 per cent), Wetherspoon (67.3 per cent) and Playstation (65.3 per cent).

Obviously these businesses have succeeded in more than marketing endeavours to be at the tip of the tongue of so many millennials, an age group bosses are trying to tap into given that they are responsible for an estimated $200bn spending power.

But here’s the tricky part – they engage with things in a different manner to other generations. They have greater demands in exchange for their loyalty and traditional advertising doesn’t work either, so it’s no surprise companies often get it wrong. The question becomes: how did the highest three on the YouGov survey get it right?

(1) Netflix

The millennial demographic is just too broad. As Mindy Winstein of Search Engine Journal pointed out: “A huge mistake to avoid when it comes to understanding and marketing to millennials is that they should never be viewed as one uniform group. Their ages can range from 21 to 35.”

Netflix is the shining example she points to, suggesting that it caters to growing needs and lifestyles. The reason for this is actually more simple than it sounds: personalisation. That, and tapping into the millennial habit of “going at your own pace”.

Millennial Marketing’s Greg Vodicka is quick to say: “A ‘Primetime’ TV show airs during a time when we know, statistically, most people will watch. This allows big media companies to charge higher rates for ads during these programs. At the end of the day, everything feels watered down and disconnected.

“Netflix, on the other hand, has a different model. It empowers users to consume content on their own time in their own way without being restrained. It has also capitalised on the desire for personalisation among the millennial audience. Diversity is, after all, encouraged by Netflix.”

As a result, a combination of recommendations and related programmes, no one Netflix feed is the same.

Vodicka is convinced there’s more to Netflix’s success, and it involves the creation of original content, as well as advertising. Take the Worst Kind of Rat advert for example. It features a man tied and tortured for having leaked information, a nod to those who go about spoiling story plots.

“It reminds users just how many people are die-hard Orange is the New Black fans,” Vodicka said. “This suggests Netflix is home to the best original content, and you’re clearly missing out if you don’t have access to it. Additionally, now Netflix ads are ‘original content’ themselves. This demonstrates it isn’t just a media house. It’s an entertainment company first and foremost.”

Read on to find out how Facebook and Apple engages millennials

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