Take It From A Millennial // Authenticity
This week on Take It From A Millennial, we look at yet another aspect that makes millennials put all their spending power to good use. Today, we examine brand authenticity and its effect on millennial purchase behavior.
Authenticity is defined as being true to one’s personality and identity; not copying or imitating another. Millennials place an immense amount of credibility with those who dare to be themselves. We recognize that being unique and coming up with fresh ideas is no easy task, so when we see a brand that is raw and real, we appreciate it with our credit cards.
It really all begins with a great brand purpose. A brand that sets out a unique goal and has a strong set of beliefs is destined to go far in the eyes of millennials. Think of perhaps one of the biggest game-changers of the decade: Uber. It began as a simple startup with the unique and authentic purpose of reimagining the taxi business in a way that accommodates our 21st-century lifestyle. It was an authentically real solution to a problem that we faced far too often, for far too long. There was nothing like it, and even though it now has competition, it’s still the Beyoncé of ride sharing.
Despite a series of PR disasters in the last year, Uber still topped the YouGov BrandIndex annual “Most Improved Brands Among Millennials” list with a whopping 8.2 score increase. This goes to show that very few things can come in between millennials and our favorite authentic brands.
Nevertheless, not all brands are Uber. Your brand probably already has a set “purpose” and you have fallen into a routine when it comes to marketing in line with those objectives. Still, it’s not too late for your brand to become the authentic brand that millennials crave. In order to boost authenticity in our eyes, there are three things you need to do:
1. Be Transparent.
Millennials are the generation known for being the most skeptical of advertisements, so if that’s the only way you’re getting through to us, change that— quick. We want to see the truth behind your brand, not just the content you choose to shove at us through traditional media. Open your closed doors and give us a taste of what your company culture is like. We want to see the true, authentic you.
In 2014, McDonald’s launched the “Our Food. Your Questions.” campaign in Canada in order to further its transparency with its consumers. More than 42,000 questions were submitted and over 3.8 million people visited the questions and answers page online. This not only boosted trust with the brand, but also made consumers believe that McDonald’s is an authentic brand that is true to itself and true to its consumers. This is not to say that everyone was very happy about the answers to some of these questions. It is McDonald’s after all. Still, we were happy with the authentically transparent truth, and with the news that beef patties are actually real beef!
2. Be interactive.
You want us to comment on your posts and reply to your tweets right? Right. But what are we really getting back? Often times, millennials feel as if we’re talking to a wall when we try to communicate with brands online. When we interact with you via social media, we want nothing more than to hear back from you. As small or as big as your brand may be, a reply goes a long way.
Above are two examples of brands who communicate back with their audiences. First, we have Madison Social, a small local brand. Throughout the same post, Madison Social managed to answer almost all 47 comments. Whether it was a funny reply back, or a genuine customer service question, MadSo had something to say. This easy, friendly communication radiates authenticity and draws people back to Madison Social time and time again.
On the right, is Gary Vaynerchuk, a self-made multi-millionaire mogul and also a brand name thanks to his various worldwide businesses, including a major advertising agency, Vaynermedia. His simple reply back shows that he is not only active and real but also truly authentic and excited about his business and audience. This goes to show that whether you’re a major player or a small business, you can still show your authentic brand personality simply by interacting with us.
3. Be daring.
Bravery is not a concept reserved for the storm chasers and tiger trainers of the world. Marketers need to take their fair share of risks too. This is perhaps the most important and the most difficult aspect of increasing brand authenticity, but the brands who have done so successfully are the true marketing leaders of their time. These brands are the trendsetters; they are the innovators. They are the brands that catch the eyes of millennials. They are who you want your brand to be.
Dove is a brand that fearlessly broke down barriers with the launch of the “real beauty” campaign back in 2006. This campaign was the first of its kind to celebrate the natural differences in women and recognize the beauty in all, rather than the fabricated images we see in media. This bold and daring move to challenge the norm of how women are portrayed by beauty brands was a risk that immensely paid off. In the following ten years, sales rose by 60% from $2.5 billion to an extraordinary $4 billion.
Looking back, we can see that with a splash creativity and a heavy dose of truth, becoming an authentic brand is not so hard. The fact is that authenticity pays off when it comes to millennials. We are in search of those that let originality, honesty, and imagination shine through to the core of their brand personality.
Written by: Micaela Valderrama
July 6, 2017
Compass Marketing & Consulting