If you brand them while they’re young, they’ll be your clients forever. This marketing rule has been successfully adopted by all kinds of companies from Rolling Stone magazine, which attracted a loyal bunch of young readers in the 1960s, to McDonald’s with its iconic Happy Meals designed to appeal to very young consumers. If you want your business to build a lifelong audience, you may want to find ways to make your brand appealing to a younger audience.
1. Focus on Brand Personality
Older shoppers and parents in particular tend to focus on quality and performance. In contrast, younger shoppers such as millennials respond more to brand personality, One fun little Canadian company who’s doing this well is Pony Friday. To be on the safe side, you probably want to focus on both. As a business owner, you want to provide a product or service that is truly worth the money but also focus on creating an authentic brand personality. While tastes differ from person to person, youthful markets tend to appreciate humour while also responding well to professionalism. Ultimately, young people want brands that communicate with them and evoke strong emotions.
2. Embrace Design
Along with brand personality, young consumers like visual appeal. These consumers have grown up in quickly moving, media-saturated culture. To put it into perspective, young baby boomers grew up with Pong, while generation X had Super Mario Bros on the NES. In contrast, millennials had 3D graphics and complex video game consoles in their pockets. They’ve been surrounded by great visuals all their lives, and they expect great visuals along with quality advertising.
3. Remember PR
When trying to appeal to a young audience, you need to do more than just advertise. You need to create a PR campaign. Ideally, an effective campaign lets your clients do the advertising for you. Keep in mind that young audiences want advertising that adds to their life rather than distracts from it. For example, when Tide came out with the Tide Pod challenge, YouTube users jumped all over it. They drenched their clothing in mud and food, washed the clothing with Tide Pods, and aired the results on their YouTube channels. The campaign made use of social media influencers, but it also created a fun branded challenge that anybody could try, all while demonstrating the efficacy of the product.
4. Be Innovative
Young people are naturally drawn to innovation. For eons, youngsters have taken the ideas of their predecessors, built on them, and improved them. To organically appeal to this crowd, you need innovative products and services, but you also need to be innovative about your marketing techniques. For instance, when Canadian Tire wanted to advertise on social media, the company realized it couldn’t rely on traditional adverts. Instead, it took into account how users engaged with the platform and created marketing that fit into that niche. In particular, the company came up with seven-second silent videos that created a message users could consume as they scrolled past, even if their computer speakers were off.
5. Get on Their Platforms
Facebook continues to be the dominant social media channel for users of all ages, but if you want to reach younger audiences, you may also want to bring your social media marketing to other platforms. For example, teens love Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine, and they spend hours on these platforms daily.
6. Sponsor Youth Events
If you want your brand to reach a young audience, remember that millennials are just getting older, and you may want to focus on even younger audiences. To that end, consider sponsoring youth events. If you own a small company, sponsor jerseys for the local sports team. If you have a larger operation, consider sponsoring an ice hockey rink or a soccer field. In addition to reaching kids, you also reach their parents and grandparents with these types of efforts.
7. Engage in Philanthropy
Whether you decide to get involved with schools or not, consider engaging in philanthropy. Depending on your budget, you may want to donate a certain percentage of profits to charity, host charity events, donate products to silent auctions, or get involved in charities in other ways. Roughly two-thirds of millennials, and even those who don’t give to charity, often prefer to patronize companies with a generous corporate image.
8. Work With Millennials
If you really want your brand to appeal to a younger audience, you need the voices of young people on your team. Consider hiring millennials, working with marketing agencies that have a proven track record of appealing to the young, or even turning to kids when doing market research. To appeal to a young audience, you need a blend of great products, innovative marketing, and an emotionally evocative brand. If you can strike the right chord in all of those categories, you can easily attract young consumers and hopefully keep them as clients for the rest of their lives.