There are a lot of myths and rumors about millennials, making headlines and disturbing business owners. It’s easy to see why. Most of these articles talk about millennials as a group of young adults that have no brand loyalty, only seek products with the lowest prices and are impossible to please. They rant on Facebook about their poor experiences, and rarely pass along the love for brands that exceed their expectations.
Love ‘em or get annoyed by them, here’s the deal: millennials officially represent the largest generation on our planet. Yes, larger than baby boomers. As they continue to graduate from college and enter adulthood, their spending potential is higher than any other generation as well. It’s easy to see why this is an important audience to understand and pay attention to for most brands.
And everyone is scratching their heads, trying to figure them out. I recently shared insights to an eager audience of food and beverage companies that busted myths and shared truths about millennials. Companies are frustrated that their usual tactics aren’t attracting a bigger share of millennial wallets. What’s been overlooked and is the biggest opportunity that every organization has to build loyalty with this generation is connecting through their hearts.
There’s a reason why words like authenticity and transparency have become cliche in the past few years: millennials seek (at times, demand) that from the brands they choose. More than anything, they seek companies that share their values and demonstrate it every day. Their connectivity has raised this generation as truly global citizens, with greater awareness of the lifestyles and challenges of people around the world. Millennials have strong values and choose brands that align.
Connect with Millennial Hearts to Win Wallet Share
The easiest way to earn a place in the hearts of millennials is through telling your authentic brand story. Your message can communicate your values and mission, and thereby become your competitive advantage.
When you offer complete transparency to share your authentic story with your ideal audience, they’re able to connect with you on a much deeper level. More than any other generation, millennials want to do business with companies they know, like and trust. Your mission throughout all marketing efforts is to help them get to know your company, like your products and people, and trust that you’ll live up to your promises daily.
The best way to do that is through storytelling.
Toms Shoes Values-Based Lifestyle Storytelling
The founder of Toms Shoes was a philanthropist seeking to do good in the world long before his shoe company was born. He found a passionate audience in millennials with a global heart to care as much as he does and built a strong brand around his values.
People know what Toms Shoes stands for and like their shoes enough that perhaps they don’t need to market their values. But for them, it’s a lifestyle approach. Their audience values the caring, philanthropic “get outside and make the world a better place” lifestyle that Toms Shoes promotes.
They sell the lifestyle and values throughout all marketing efforts. Most of their social media posts, as you can see here, don’t include an image of shoes. And when you do see a pair of shoes, they’re not new, right from the box.
These shoes create an image in your mind of what kind of person wears Toms Shoes: someone who works hard to make the world right, who puts on their shoes each morning with determination to do good, someone who helps a friend move in the rain, and cares enough to spend more on shoes so that another human who can’t afford shoes can wear a pair too.
It’s clear what Toms stands for and the promises they keep each day.
Start Telling Your Authentic Brand Story
If you haven’t developed a brand manifesto or defined who you are as a brand, this is where you start. Document the values and promises that you and every employee (today and in the future) will live up to. What is important to you, no matter what? Reflect on your mission and strong beliefs. If you’ve been in business a while, or heads-down focused on building something, it’s easy to forget why you started this business in the first place. Get back in touch with that.
Start building the story of your brand, today.