Brand marketing has experienced a dramatic change since the last twenty years. The tool of communication, for example, is shifting from traditional media like Television and newspaper to social media and online. Heavy users of these new media channels, are mostly millennials. Millennials nowadays are not only followers of celebrities, they also create their own brand image. In the age of chaotic information exchange, what millennials are thinking and how should brands and social influencers connect with them?
Maya Peterson, Director of Culture and Creative Insights at Viacom, started the conversation with the question “how are celebrities generating changes?” One interesting example brought up at the panel was that you can’t chat with Brad Pitt, but you feel like Chiara Ferragni is your best friend. While more and more celebrities are interacting with followers on social media, brands are using this emotional closeness that celebrities create to pull themselves closer to the millennials.
The key to make emotional connections with the audience, mentioned multiple times, is authenticity. The threshold of it all is dependent on the community that you want to reach and the voice you are using. Manhattan DJ and Instagram Influencer, Hannah Bronfman, said that she works with Adidas because of the athletic and body wellness image she has already established online. Working for Spirit, for example, would not be successful for both parties because of the lack of connection in between.
“Know your brand story know your brand DNA”, said one of the panelists Rachel Bien, SVP at Strategy Blue 449 USA.
Spotify, for instance, is creating their own music image to become distinguishable from their competitors like Apple Music or Amazon Prime. Global Brand Director at Spotify, Alexandra Tanguay, said that since three years ago, Spotify has been trying to connect with the the artists. When artists are sending albums to a dozen of music streaming companies, the goal is to make them “feel Spotify”.
The panel then moved forward to discussing the changes in communication and how brands can continually finding new ways to talk to the audience.
Bridget Bogee, head of social media at Getty Images, talked about how more and more photography works they do are looking for the special lenses that can reach different audiences. No matter it’s using different shooting techniques to take pictures of Beyonce or creating a behind the scene collection of the MTV award, the company is constantly thinking outside of the box to communicate through pictures.
“We can’t be doing the same things and still attract different audiences”, said Bridget.
In the end, each speaker talked about what they are most excited about the industry as a marketer. Bridget mentioned the idea of smarter algorithm in social media and how the technology industry is penetrating marketing. On the other hand, Hannah talked about the recent development of black beauty industry and the level of open mindedness that media is striving to become.
Marketing on every level is paying more attention to what the millennials are talking and thinking about. To truly think millennial, brands need to look back at their own DNA and find the right network to attract and connect.