Brands Struggle to Meet the Expectations of Millennials. What’s the Solution?

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By Lasse Laaksonen, Co-Founder and CEO of Boksi

The amount of marketing messages consumers receive on a daily basis is increasing dramatically,  yet at the same time attention spans are rapidly diminishing.  The result? Information overload, otherwise known as content fatigue.  People are consuming so much new information from brands that they are eventually burnt out by the sheer excessiveness of it.

This raises a couple of concerns.

Firstly, how can brands stand out from the crowd if 2 out of 3 millennials are already using ad blockers – indicating that even the most captivating content might be missed.

The second issue is that in addition to content overload, consumers and especially younger generations like Gen Z, feel that they are not represented in the vast swathes of  advertising they are exposed to.

These demographics are insatiable when it comes to consuming quality content so putting out something mediocre, which resembles an online catalogue, won’t cut it. They are also acutely aware of the world around them and care passionately about environmental and social issues.

So brands are not reaching nor resonating with consumers?!

Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule among brands who have managed to cater to these needs and the really successful ones have already turned to influencers for help.

Collaborating with influencers not only lets brands tap into a pool of authentic content they can later use in their marketing efforts but it also helps them reach consumers through the influencers’ channels.

Despite this, influencer marketing isn’t in itself a miracle. Like all forms of promotion, it should be carried out in a strategic manner with paramount attention paid to the influencers the brands’ best match.   A vegan beauty influencer collaborating with a local meat distributor probably isn’t a good fit in anyone’s metrics.

In recent years, accomplished brands such as Daniel Wellington, have achieved success by combining the power of influencer marketing with a respect for and reliance on its influencers’ creative skills. As being creative is a big part of the influencer’s role, trusting them to generate visual content for the brand can be a great idea – as they already know what works for their social media followers and what doesn’t.

For the brands’ own content, this means that it should be updated to match the perspective and expectations of modern consumers. The brand’s output should be so authentic, captivating and visually appealing that people stop scrolling in order to read what they have to say. It’s no secret that a consumer is more likely to react to an Instagram post, for instance, if it visually engages them. Adding to that, since Instagram is essentially a photo sharing app you really have to pay attention to the imagery you are posting. In my opinion it’s, therefore, essential for brands to make the most out of the possibilities to connect with their customers in the channels that they use.

Stimulating visuals are one thing, but as consumers also demand authenticity from the content they receive and which they can relate to, that content needs to reflect the entire spectrum of a brand’s audience.  This equates to everything from using different looking people in different homes wearing different clothes to incorporating a variety of skin tones in cosmetic ads or a Zoom-compatible work look with a button-up paired with boxers to real bodies wearing activewear. Customers expect companies to understand and care about them as individuals, and treat them accordingly.  Brands can no longer get away with solely communicating ideal consumer stereotypes and need to focus on celebrating diversity instead. After all, this global pandemic may have physically confined us to our own homes but at the same time it’s actually brought us closer together in the face of a common threat.  The content that is circulated, should highlight and encourage our different qualities instead of creating unrealistic standards based on dated conventions.

Once this is all taken into consideration, sourcing a couple of perfect photos or videos isn’t enough. Quality must now share its throne with quantity.  In this day and age both are king.

Content should be updated often enough to avoid unnecessary repetition and high ad frequency – which eventually leads to inefficiencies – and from what we’ve learned, brands need a consistently large pool of original branded content they can tap into when creating marketing materials. If done right, branded content will attract attention, make your customers happy and eventually – drive sales.

Plenty of companies are already turning to influencers for help and the spending on influencer marketing is expected to grow further in 2021.  Consumers place a lot of trust in these ambassadors and marketing through their platforms acts as a modern form of word-of-mouth, helping to raise brand awareness and bolster the bottom line.

The new year brings with it several opportunities for brands to up their content game and pair it to the ever increasing expectations of today’s consumer.  But, let’s not stop there.  What if instead of creating the content for consumers, we start creating it with them?  Now, there’s food for thought…

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