Millennials hold a certain kind of dominance in the marketing space today. They’re movers and shakers with the ability to make or break a brand at any time. Information is at their fingertips, the need for spontaneity has never been so high, the idea of creating experiences and meaning is peaking and instant gratification is actually a thing. It is this aspect that sets them apart from generations passed, prompting a significant deviation in the way brands choose to market themselves, in a bid to safeguard their positioning in such influential minds. The shift in priorities has therefore forced brands to employ hybrid marketing strategies that are consistent with the times and the needs of the priority consumer, incorporating the digital space with that of the physical. It is this ability to effectively adapt, that will prove to be the saving grace for brands and ensure sustainable development in these pivotal moments in the game of millennial brand loyalty.
Part of this shift has seen millennials dedicate less time to traditional channels used for advertising, engaging more in chord cutting, ad blocking and using selective subscription-based channels for music and entertainment to name a few. But while millennials are greatly selective with content consumption, they’re active collaborators and endorsers of content and brands they believe to share a sense of meaning with; and this has become evident in their amplified interactions with meaningful and real-world experiences both commercially and socially. In following this trend, brands have placed greater investment in out-of-home solutions to better connect and communicate with millennials. Out-of-home activity brings to the stage a more tailored approach to co-creation, strengthening the ability to create brand stories with the consumer rather than at the consumer. Whilst the novelty of interacting with an out-of-home campaign might be refreshing for millennials, it also provides brands the opportunity to remain relevant, bridging the gap between product awareness, experience, and immersive collaboration in a unique yet practical way. And that is exactly what millennial consumers are seeking. Millennials enjoy a being co-creators of a brand story, so long as the brand brings spontaneous interactions that champion immersive encounters where tangible interactions are key. This allows the ‘success’ of an out-of-home campaign and perceptions of a brand to be dictated by the experience the consumer derives from the campaign in the first place. Out-of-home solutions, thus places the power back in the hands of the consumer, ultimately allowing the market to determine brand success that transcends market share, profit, and revenue, moving towards meaning, familiarity and relationships. In a way, this new method of communication demonstrates a heightened level of versatility in brands and proves that their ability to be situationally versatile is a crucial asset in navigating their way through millennial minds.
Whilst tangible interactions have proven powerful in gaining the attention of millennial consumers, the use of social media as a tool to further expand a brand’s reach is just as important. By employing out-of-home solutions, brands hope that the sharing of experiences online will result in a greater level of traction, reach and awareness of a brand and its identity. With the majority of millennials being city dwellers and having access to mobile devises on the go, brands have greater opportunity to be selective with how and when they choose to forge connections with their audience. With increased mobile activity comes greater access to information with the ability to create, respond and contribute to information instantly. Such a scenario renders millennials more than perfect targets for out-of-home interactions that result in virtual reactions. And for the most part, this attitude is validated. Nielson studies have shown that 1 out of 4 consumers will post to social media about an out-of-home activity and are about 50% more inclined to click on a ad after being exposed to the brand’s OOH campaign. This only goes to show that out-of-home activity reinforced through consumer generated content on social platforms is an effective medium for brands to keep up with the times and remain engaged with the millennial cohort.
Ultimately millennials are easy targets if brands create meaning and experiences the right way in the physical world but also ensure their tangible solutions pave the way for active presence on social platforms. Brands need to ensure their stories and values reflect these preferences because millennials are an extension of their marketing story; and out-of-home in the current marketing environment caters perfectly to this aspect. So, while millennials have been the catalyst of major change in the way brands communicate, they’re active contributors, distinctly setting them apart from generations passed. Millennials encourage physical presence and in doing so, support, contribute and sustain brand stories in their own ways. So if brands can remain versatile in their ability to return the power back into the hands of the millennial cohort, out-of-home solutions will prove effective in gaining the undivided attention of millennials. Of course, until the next shift comes around.