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Friday, November 13, 2015

How Dewar's is marketing to the subconscious mind

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Dewar’s “White Label” Scratched Cask invites consumers to experience how it's made in its virtual experience.
Source: Bacardi Limited
Dewar’s “White Label” Scratched Cask invites consumers to experience how it's made in its virtual experience.
After doing numerous consumer interviews, Bacardi Limited realized it had a slight problem among millennials with its blended Scotch whisky Dewar's. Despite Scotch whisky's being associated with sophistication with its focus groups, people thought that it was hard to drink.
"It says something about you when you order a scotch," said Brian Shaifer, director of marketing for Bacardi Whisky. "But one of the misconceptions was scotch was very harsh tasting. We wanted to make it much more approachable, akin to a sweeter profile of bourbon."
The company released Dewar's "White Label" Scratched Cask, which has a smoother profile, to change perception. And, to make sure the message sank in, it engaged in subconscious marketing to convince consumers that what they thought about scotches wasn't entirely true.
E4marketing principal Jeanette McMurtry, who is a psychology-based marketing consultant, explained that more brands are realizing the power of using psychological theory to reach consumers.
"The first few seconds of a glance at a logo creates a (stimulus), and people perceive the attributes, character and trustworthiness of a brand," she said.
One of McMurtry's financial clients was having a hard time persuading new customers to invest in the stock market. Her team told the firm that it should change its sales proposal to recognize the problems with the stock market, like volatility and fears that there will be other Bernie Madoffs out there to take advantage of them. Then, the company should show how the company could help navigate those issues.
"A lot of the marketing we do is catering to the conscious mind, the wrong 10 percent of the decision process," said McMurtry. "Oftentimes, that creates disconnect."
Bacardi also teamed up with digital marketing technology company CataBoom to create a scratch-off game. Consumers won cocktails featuring Dewar's "White Label" Scratched Cask, which they could redeem at participating bars. Upon enjoying their drink, they were given a coupon or a rebate for further incentive to purchase the product.
CataBoom CEO Todd McGee explained that he operates his company on the principles of Pavlov's theory of classical conditioning. By creating fun digital games — such as the Dewar's scratch off — and then providing consumers with some sort of gift, it gives the consumer a rush of an organic chemical called dopamine. The neurotransmitter controls the brain's reward and pleasure centers.
"If you consistently and instantly reward a behavior, you can change that behavior," he said.
McGee said the problem with loyalty programs is that a consumer has to repeat a behavior for a long time before getting their reward, which causes delayed gratification. Plus, too many companies engage in loyalty programs so no one stands out. Promotions are often oriented on prices. After the sale, consumers feel no need to return to the store unless there is another bargain. "Gamifying" something can increase engagement and create positive affinity for a brand, McGee said.
"We are wired to be attracted to things that give us fun," McMurtry said. "You create that dopamine or oxytocin rush, and it creates that unconscious decision of fun and there is something in it for me. It creates trust, and a much higher likelihood to continue these behaviors."
To further elevate the profile of Dewar's, Bacardi decided to showcase the skill it took to make the product. Since it couldn't fly everyone to Scotland, it created the Scratched Cask 360-degree virtual reality (VR) experience. The VR clip takes people through the process of creating the spirit in order to emphasize its premium nature. The company distributed VR viewers so consumers could watch the clip using their phones and the cardboard devices. In addition, it held events throughout the country where it invited people to step inside an American white oak bourbon barrel to watch a 360-degree, 4D projection mapping video, sample the product and see the VR experience.
"VR apps create that kind of (deep) engagement where you reward consumers, and you create this unconscious feeling of trust," McMurtry explained.
Digital media also helps brands reach consumers even more directly, now that they can get in front of them using mobile screens, McGee added. 
"Social media has changed everything, but the reality is the consumer has not," CataBoom's McGee said. "People want to avoid pain and seek pleasure. We're tapping into that seeking pleasure."
The Marketing Arm vice president of planning and insights, John Kelly, who helped advise the Dewar's campaign, pointed out that consumers spend 43 minutes out of every hour on their phone while they are shopping at a store. They could be texting friends, comparing prices or looking at reviews on products.
"It's a touch point that we know they are engaged with," Kelly said.
"If you see a TV spot at 3 a.m. for a spirit, you're probably not close to that point of purchase," Bacardi's Shaifer added. "But if I'm reaching you at 4:45 p.m. on your phone, you may want to go to a bar or a store to pick up a bottle of Dewar's."
But, just promising a consumer they may be able to get a prize but not following through, stacking the odds against them or not giving them something they can enjoy can backfire, McMurtry said.
"If you have a game where you don't reward the consumer, they go backwards in terms of their ability to trust you," she pointed out. "You really have to give them a chance to win."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What Most Drives Consumers Is Not What You Think

What consumers want from brands is not what you think. Best service. Best price. User involvement? Rewards programs?
If you’re thinking of the above as the things consumers want most from a brand they patronize, good guess. All apply at some level, but there’s more.
While consumers might tell you they want all of the above to keep purchasing from you and refer their friends, there’s another key driver of human behavior you and your customers themselves might not have thought about. Guess again? Hint: Cyndi Lauper did the big reveal 33 years ago.
Yep, consumers just wanna have fun. Yet most of us don’t consciously admit that we respond to fun appeals or humorous marketing tactics. But we do, because unconsciously we are drawn to anything that sparks our curiosity, helps us escape the mundane, or hints at rewarding us for engaging or doing something we didn’t know we could do — like reach a new level on a smartphone game or win a dance contest while totally sober. And when we earn that reward, or even think about it, we get that dopamine rush that makes life feel wonderful and we go back for more.
What we learn from Epicurus, the Greek Philosopher credited with what we now know as the Hedonism theory, human behavior is based upon two emotional premises: the Avoidance of Pain and the Pursuit of Pleasure. As a result of this innate psychological driver, we seek pleasure in life in many ways. That pleasure ranges from knowing we can care for our families, reach our goals, are recognized for a job well done and liked by others, to physical pleasures like the thrill of finishing a long run, getting a soothing massage or downing a favorite ice cream.
In digital vs. ancient times, another “pleasure” we seek is that rush we get when we anticipate an award through our cultural addiction to games. Games on our computers, games on our phones, games we watch on TV, and more. So many games that 1.2 billion people worldwide play them frequently, and 700 million of us play games online, says a report by Spil Games. Another gaming industry company, Newzoo, reports that the 2015 gaming industry is $91.5 billion, up 9.4 percent since 2014.
Another report by RealityMine shows that mobile gaming is increasing substantially every year and that the average session time per game we play is 4.7 minutes. Among the most popular are Words with Friends, Candy Crush and Solitaire, which are played many times a day by many gamers. We also learn that games are not just for teens, as commonly thought. RealityMine shows that 61 percent of gamers are parents with children, more women play games than men, more than 1/3 are 45 years of age or older, and that there are more middle-aged moms playing games than teenagers! Hmmm … sounds like the top consumers for most products today are playing games of some sort every day. If you’re in marketing, this should be added to the top of your “note to self” list.
Why are we so drawn to games? According to psychologists, it’s because so many games help fulfill some basic needs: a sense to compete, feel fulfilled, recognized and that we have achieved something others haven’t. According to a report on gamification created by Bunchball, a leader in the industry, game mechanics fulfill basic human desires that we seek consciously and unconsciously (opens as a PDF). These include our needs for rewards, status, achievement, self- expression, competition and even altruism.
The Fun Theory, a program dedicated to the thought that “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for better,” challenges people to come up with fun ideas to get people to do things differently. Ideas that have won The Fun Theory awards include rewarding drivers for not speeding by entering them into a contest to win money accrued by fines paid by speeders, getting people to recycle bottles by making a recycling bin a bottle arcade like you find at an amusement park and increasing the use of stairs by turning them into piano keys that make music. Each of these experiments attracted attention and substantially changed behavior for the better in various cultures around the world.
So does all this talk about fun and games have a place in the marketing world? According to Todd McGee, CEO of Texas-based CataBoom, a gamification company leveraging behavioral insights to create engaging campaigns, it most certainly does.
“From a psychological point of view, ’fun’ engages us in a way that builds trust for a brand,” says McGee. “When customers win, or anticipate winning a prize, they get a dopamine rush that makes them feel good, and customers transfer that feeling to brands. Good feelings result in trust, repeat visits and referrals. So it’s a total win for customers and brands.
For CataBoom, the increases in customer engagement and sales they’re helping to deliver to their clients is just part of the fun of playing games. For one home industry client, the company created a game on Facebook that gave money away every day. As result, 71 percent of the visitors to their Facebook page engaged twice as long. For another company in the food industry, they created a “Spin the Wheel” game for a chance to win free product. People responding set a new record for site visits as they kept coming back to take their chance at the wheel.
Per McGee, CataBoom has seen brands in all industries, from entertainment groups to insurance and financial institutions, achieve not only better engagement, but monetary rewards, as well. Sales have increased as high as 30 times as a result of adding games to a customer experience.
Lesson learned: When life’s routines become a game, and fun is the anticipated reward, behavior changes. When brands integrate fun and games in their customer experience, results can change too.
  • Have Fun. Its not only the spice of life, it’s the driver that gets consumer behavior moving, trusting and, in many cases, buying.
  • Use humor, when and as appropriate, and watch your attention levels soar on social channels and traditional ones, as well.
  • Spark curiosity to get noticed and introduce your customers to a fun brand experience, persona and happy result.
Make sure your customer service follows the rules of fun, as and are great examples of companies that add a fun twist to routine sales and purchasing processes online. Their fun responses, language and digital conversations make you want to come back for more.
Now get off of your computer and go have fun!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Does Your Brand Have ESP?
By Jeanette McMurtry August 4, 2015

Remember when personalization was the coolest thing in direct marketing, and we couldn’t wait to cash in on the increased ROI from writing customers’ names in the clouds and detailing their transaction history in letters, PURLs and email copy?

And then personalization became commoditized and we all tried to find the next big rush to higher ROI. For many that is retargeting, or monitoring individuals’ Web activities and placing ads about recent interests on random pages.

Even with privacy concerns, behavior tracking seems to be working wonders. We consumers seem okay to see ads on our Facebook page about products we just abandoned in a shopping cart or on a Google search page moments later. Consumers of all ages seem unfazed by such monitoring and retargeting activities that Baby Boomers might call Big Brother and Millennials call Big Data!
Regardless of whether your customers are in the Big Brother or Big Data generation, personalization through retargeting is the most effective way to build sales today. Right? Or maybe not so much?

According to Andrew Shebbeare in an article published on AdExchanger, retargeting is not the end-all answer to incremental sales. In fact, retargeting might be more of a waste than a bonus as most predictive analytics tools recommend products the shopper is likely to buy at some point, anyway. So marketers could be spending big money to get sales they’re poised to get anyway.

Thankfully, we still have transactional data that drives incremental sales by restating specific aspects of a customers’ relationship with our brand in our marketing communications. That’s still working, right? Or could it be traditional data systems based on transactional or browsing histories miss a key driver in consumers’ decision processes?

To me, that missing key driver is ESP, and I’m not talking that sixth sense or psychic ability to detect paranormal behavior. I’m talking about another ESP — emotional selling propositions — or messaging about the emotional vs. functional value of a product, which have helped me achieve anything but “normal” results, including triple-digit increases in revenue and response rates. However, the trick is finding technology that truly gives you that sixth sense about which emotions drive behavior, and then enables you to personalize messages accordingly during the actual purchase process.

Finally, we’ve arrived. New technology can track individuals’ specific interests and emotions while they are shopping, enabling us deliver personalized messages that are relevant to both their conscious and unconscious minds in real-time, while they are shopping — not just thinking about it. This alone is taking ROI to a whole new dimension.

According to Ari Ginsberg, co-founder and CMO of Cognilyze, an e-commerce personalization system, when marketers use data to trigger the likes, wants and needs of the unconscious mind, they can get sales they would not have otherwise. By appealing to psychological thought processes that occur in our subconscious, marketers can create interest in products completely unrelated to those currently being browsed and considered, and thus get true incremental, or unplanned sales.

“By taking a very different approach to big data and sales, we can show consumers products they did not even know they wanted or needed, and generate sales retailers would have otherwise have missed out on,” says Ginsberg. “We do this by assigning an emotional value to a product, not a person.”
Huh? Emotional attributes for products? Instead of showing products like socks to buy with new running shoes which has become expected, Cognilyze’s system analyzes the emotional values of the products a given shopper is browsing. It then quickly identifies products with like values that have been assigned by Cognilyze’s research team, and shows the shopper these products, as well. It could be as counterintuitive as showing a consumer shopping for a couch a car seat for a baby. Not at all related in terms of function or style, but very much related to the emotional values of creating a safe and comfortable setting for a family. As Ginsberg says, this approach is so effective at generating valid incremental sales it could be disruptive to the entire big data industry.

Cognilyze tested its approach to assigning emotions to products vs. shoppers among a group of Sears’ "Shop Your Way" customers. They gave participants a list of recommended products across a category. The top 10 recommended products were then matched to the online shoppers’ responses about products they liked, needed, and already had. Many of the top 10 recommendations triggered by Cognilyze’s emotional/psychological model ended up in shoppers’ list of desired products.
Explains Ginsberg, “When you consider we were blind to any statistical correlation or categorical affiliation, its pretty telling just how powerful it is to tap the unconscious values associated with purchases than just the conscious ones obvious from past transactions.”

Another group that is disrupting the way marketers use data to understand and influence behavior is BehaviorMatrix, creators of real-time marketing software that monitors consumers’ attitudes and feelings through another form of ESPs – their patented Emotional Signal Processing technology and a contextual Natural Language Processing Engine. By monitoring conversations on social media channels, they can determine consumers’ emotions about an issue, brand or product, on a minute-by-minute basis. Marketers can then deliver content and offers that are relevant to a consumer’s current state of emotions, not just their shopping interest at a given moment.

BehaviorMatrix goes one step further to assure accurate interpretation of the data collected. Instead of just monitoring social conversations on various public channels, they monitor the context of the stimulus, or how it was presented in a specific situation. In other words, they can filter out sarcasm, and identify anomalies in attitudes that might not reflect a consumers’ true attitude. I'm not sure you can get a much more precise look inside the minds of your consumers to see what is moving them at any given moment.
Imagine the implications. Your customers are feeling euphoric about a new technology that you happen to offer, and you deliver a message to them with an offer at the very moment of heightened interest. Or you discover many of your customers are engaged in social media conversations about environmental issues that are associated with your brand, and they support the opposing viewpoints. Time for an educational campaign you didn’t know you needed to execute.

Take ESP to the second power — emotional selling propositions with emotional signal processors, and the results can be out of this world.

According to Bill Thompson, co-founder, chairman and CEO of BehaviorMatrix, emotional-tracking technology is not just game-changing for brands, its disruptive to the entire direct marketing industry. With 90 percent of our thoughts driven by our emotions, per many neuromarketing studies, he could be on to something really revolutionary.

“Transactional data models deliver standard results for direct marketers, which are typically around 1 to 3 percent response rates,” says Thompson. “Our technology has consistently delivered double-digit open rates and conversions, giving marketers a much higher ROI.”

Its just not the ability to communicate emotionally in real time that drives sales in today’s digital markets, it's also a brand’s ability to tap who and what influences consumers’ behavior. This is what puts BehaviorMatrix at the forefront of what could be the next revolutionary change in direct marketing. And this vision actually came to Thompson when he was having his own kind of “blue ocean” experience.

“When scuba diving, I was intrigued to find that groups of fish reacted to my presence differently, yet they were all fish,” recalls Thompson. “I concluded that, of course, we as consumers are like animals. Groups of consumers may look alike, but could be programmed to interpret stimuli and act very differently.”

Thompson asked his team of mathematicians to create algorithms that can technologically observe human behavior and identify reactive patterns into which most people fall, and to find ways to identify the influencers for each of those groups.

“We discovered four crowd types in which most people fall,” continues Thompson. “When we can identify the influencers of those crowds and their emotional values, we can predict behavior within groups with a very high-level of precision and that, in turn, enables organizations of all kinds to influence behavior and achieve ROIs not reachable before.”

Again, think of the implications of being able to influence your customers’ influencers in real-time and with high emotional relevance? This kind of personalization and ROI was unthinkable just a few years ago.

Wayin, a social media intelligence firm, recently surveyed 200 marketing executives engaged in real-time marketing. Of respondents, 98 percent claim they are achieving a positive ROI and 89 percent say they can fully tie real-time marketing results to measureable business goals. Results like this validate that real-time personalization is mission-critical for just about any business today.


  • Marketers in all industries need to build their brand’s ESP powers:
  • Utilize emotional sensory processers to monitor consumers’ actual emotions about your category and brand.
  • Define your brands ESP messaging, or emotional selling proposition, that presents the hidden emotional fulfillment of your products or services.
  • Assign corresponding emotional attributes to your products so you can personalize recommendations that make sense to unconscious and conscious drivers.
  • The results are something any of us can get emotional about!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Change Colors, Change Behaviors

Change Colors, Change Behavior
By Jeanette McMurtry July 7, 2015

For years, psychologists have studied the impact of color on how we behave. Does it make us eat more? Does it make us more productive? And most importantly for businesses, does it make us buy more?

Research conducted by the Institute for Color Research, a division of Color Communications Inc, (CCI), and the University of Winnipeg shows that within 90 seconds, most consumers make an unconscious judgment about something’s worth to us, its trustworthiness, and so on. And that 62 to 90 percent of that judgment is based upon color. (opens as a PDF)

But just exactly what that judgment is is up for discussion. There seems to be some inconsistency in what psychologists say is the business effect of certain colors. One expert, M. Farouk Radwan, MSc., author for claims that blue colors in a restaurant can result in a loss of appetite because subconsciously, many people associate blues with toxins. Another report on which references studies form the Color Association of the U.S. says that blue is a good color to calm people and make them stay longer and hopefully buy more when dining out. So what is a marketer to believe?

Various studies from various groups also show conflicting ideas about the use of red in restaurants. Some color theorists and psychologists say red triggers appetites and others saying that it creates too much energy, and increases your heart rate to the point that people lose their appetite, leave sooner due to increased energy levels, and thus eat less. Regardless, many fast food restaurants, rightfully so or wrongfully so, use accents of red to stimulate energy and trigger appetites in the hope of getting people in to eat, then out soon to make room for others.

The importance of color and its impact on brands and business goes far beyond the physiological effect on appetite and food consumptions. The big question is how does color impact attitudes toward brands and shopping behavior? And in the case of red and blue as dominant brand colors – logo, retail environment and online shopping presence – does it really matter?

Rajesh Bagchi, an associate professor of marketing in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech conducted a study to compare the sales influence of blue vs. red. Bagchi and associate, Amar Cheema from the University of Virginia, studied sales on red websites vs. those on predominantly blue websites, as well as sales within predominantly blue and red retail environments. Very interestingly, their research found that the likelihood of a purchase is lower with red backgrounds than blue ones. When you compare sales of Walmart, a blue brand, with Target, a very red brand, you have to wonder:

Walmart revenue in 2014: $467.30 billion
Target revenue in 2014: $71.28 billion

Could it be that too much red in a retail setting makes us energetic and thus anxious to leave — like it supposedly does in restaurants, while blue, as suggested by one restaurant study, makes us relax and linger longer? I know which of these two big box powerhouses I linger in longer and purchase more from. And what’s most interesting is that consciously I prefer the one I linger in the least!

Beyond influencing food consumption and shopping behavior, colors play other important roles in other business settings. To start, colors are thought to influence how we perceive a brand’s attributes and values; which, in turn influence our interest in learning more about a brand or a product, and considering trial or purchase. For example, blue is solid in banking, as it’s the color of trust and intelligence. Green also does well in the financial services industry as, in our country, it represents wealth, money, stability and balance. However, in other countries and cultures, color meanings and influences can change.

Needless to say, choosing which colors are most likely to attract your core consumers, inspire them to engage with your message and hopefully impact shopping behavior among your customers can be nothing short of confusing.
Faber Birren, a pioneer in color research and author of “Color Psychology and Color Therapy,” helps minimize the chaos with a survey that reveals what people themselves say of the values and attributes they associate with various colors. Following is a summary of the colors respondents most associated with particular words:
Trust: Blue
Security: Blue
Speed: Red
Cheapness: Orange, with yellow as a close second
High Quality: Black
High Tech: Black with a small margin over blue and gray tied for second
Reliability: Blue
Courage: Purple and red
Fear/Terror: Red
Fun: Orange, with yellow as a close second

In some cases, these responses duplicate what color psychology experts tell us and in others not. For example, most charts showing moods associated with colors show orange as creativity, playful, innovative and fun; and yellow as logic, personal power and humor. Yet in our culture, it also represents caution, or represents the scene of a crime or dangerous event.

While it is fun to study the impact and influence of colors on how we eat, how we sleep (supposedly we sleep better in blue rooms), and our productivity levels, all that really matters is if and how color impacts how people perceive our brand and if that perception translates into sales.

Regardless of what color theory and research you go by when defining colors to present your brand’s attributes and values, the key is to acknowledge that color does indeed influence attitudes and behavior. And instead of choosing colors you like or that are trendy at the moment, take some time to study what colors really mean to consumers’ conscious and unconscious minds and choose those that reflect the personality you want to project to today’s consumers, and one that will last the test of trends and time to continue to appeal to like customers in the future.


  • Spend some time with your marketing team to identify the values, attributes and even personality traits with which you want your brand to be associated.
  • Choose traits that reflect the lifestyle, values and interests of your core consumer.
  • Google color wheel meanings. Study the many color mood charts and psychology reports on color and behavior to guide the choices you make for all things associated with your brand.
The right colors not only help influence attitudes, interest and shopping, but they can also influence engagement with your content on your website, social media and other branding materials. Even the best branding content can fall short of readership and conversion goals if it’s embraced by colors that create a different story than the content.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Mindset of the New Millennial

Mindset of the New Millennial
Originally published on

With close to 75 million people and a projected spending power of $1.4 trillion by 2020, understanding the mindset of the Millennial generation is more than important for brands today - it's mission-critical. Yet getting through to this generation of independent, critical thinkers is not so simple. Yes, there is a lot of information about how much time they spend on the Internet, and how fixated this generation of 18- to 34-year-olds is with its mobile devices and all the ways to self-express and stay connected via technology.
But beyond knowing how they spend their time and communicate with friends, marketers need to understand the most important aspect of this group of consumers: How they think!
When we understand how this increasingly powerful generation thinks about themselves, their world and their relationships with brands, we can create equally powerful brand experiences and customer relationship programs to capture their immediate attention and secure lifetime value.
Some insights:
  • Open-minded: 81 percent
  • Intelligent: 80 percent
  • Responsible: 73 percent
  • Thoughtful: 73 percent
  • Rebellious
  • Arrogant and Self-Centered
  • Funny, Humorous
  • Hip and Snarky
  • Risk-taking but Lazy
Put those traits together (sans lazy) with entrepreneurialism and you can see why 160,000 businesses started up in just one year were founded by Millennials.
Other research from various groups such as Edelman and Neilsen shows us that Millennials align with organizations and brands that reflect their values.
And those values according to BCG, Neilsen, Edelman and just about any other research firm include:
  • Charity and community
  • Fitness
  • Optimism
  • Excitement
  • Status and Professional Success
  • Adventure
  • Self-expression
  • Connectedness to others
Because for years, consumer research has shown that we consumers most trust people who seem to be just like us when it comes to guiding our choices and purchasing decisions, we marketers have the difficult challenge of trying to incorporate all of the above into one persona and marketing appeal. But it can be done.
With so many diverse attitudes and values among this economically powerful generation, the task of drawing them to our brands, engaging them in meaningful ways per their values and expectations, and of course keeping their business and sparking referrals, is nothing short of highly complex.
First, we need to link Millennials’ values to our brand. For example, one of their top values is supporting charity and community causes. Brands thus need to show they, too, care about social causes through actions, not just words. By doing this, they not only appear to be “just like me” brands, they also stand to gain sales and loyalty. Cone Research shows that more than 80 percent of consumers, Millennials and older, are more likely to purchase from and stay loyal to brands that quantifiably show their impact vs. those that just say they care.
Other key values we must take on to build our brands are intellectualism, open-mindedness and achievement. Brands can cater to these emotional drivers through the visuals and messages and personas they associate with their marketing campaigns, and also through the dialogue they generate on social media. Present your thoughts, vision, hopes and goals on current social issues associated with your product category and give your customers a chance to share their voices, expertise and experiences. Be authentic and respectful, and you might just make “Friends” with this really important group of consumers.
Another hot social issue among Millennials today is minimalism – how to live a full life on minimal resources, and with less stuff, less stress and space. Link your brand to responsibility and personal fulfillment beyond “stuff” associated with your products, and continue to prove your price:value ratio rocks your industry. From what research by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and other firms cited by FutureCast in its recent Millennial marketing report shows us, minimalism is likely to have more than a minimal impact on our economy in the near and not-so-distant future.
Knowing the values that get the attention of Millennial shoppers and many GenX shoppers, for that matter, puts us on the right path. But the journey doesn’t stop there. We need to know how linking to these values helps us became the kind of brand that Millennials want to associate with today and actually purchase from.
What we learn from BCG’s perspectives report on its Millennial consumer sentiment survey is Millennials have definite expectations from brands and their ongoing relationships with them. Here are just a few of them:
  • Be available to help me and serve me 24/7
  • Support causes and show me the impact you’ve had
  • Provide me an experience not just something to buy
  • Be smart and authentic
  • Surprise me, entertain me with a brand personality I can relate to
Yep. I added another list of traits and attributes to try to blend in to your appeal to Millennials. Seems daunting, but clearly it's doable, as there are many brands today successfully appealing to and most importantly selling to Millennials who actually like them and talk about them in both the real and digital worlds. BCG’s survey also revealed that more Millennials than any other generation of consumers say the brands they chose say something about who they are; their values and where they fit in. They also admit more people ask them about their knowledge and opinion of brands and that they are likely to take positive actions on behalf of brands they like. When it comes to sharing brand preferences or experiences on social media and other online sites, they are substantially more likely than any other generation to do so – showing 57 percent are likely to share experiences online, compared to 43 percent for Gen X and 31 percent for Baby Boomers.
What brands are doing all of the above effectively? Here’s a list of the Top 10 “Most Beloved “ Brands in 2015 as rated by Millennial consumers, according to a report / survey done by Moosylvania, a digital agency studying the Millennial generation.
  • Nike
  • Apple
  • Samsung
  • Sony
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Microsoft
  • Coca Cola
  • Jordan
  • Pepsi
These brands cater to the some of the top values I mentioned earlier: fitness, technology for connectedness and self-expression, and minimalism/price sensitivity. Below is a list of traits from associated with the above brands that are part of what matters most to Millennials, and thus got them Top 15 rankings:
  • High-quality products (matters most to 75 percent)
  • Fits personality (matters most to 61 percent)
  • Engages in social responsibility (matters most to 53 percent)
  • Shares similar interests (matters most to 39 percent)
  • Says important things (matters most to 31 percent)
Scroll back up and its clear to see that these “Matters Most” traits are right in line with the values and attributes research tells us matter most. When it comes to personality attributes, it's not hard to see how many of these Top 10 brands are coming out with energetic, fast-paced and inspiring social media, digital and even TV (the old-fashioned method) advertising campaigns.
Takeaway: Pay attention to the needs of your younger consumers and don’t stop. Stay engaged with them to find out what inspires them, drives them, and what makes them smile, laugh and get out of bed in the morning. What do they value socially, politically, environmentally and so on. Then spark meaningful dialogue, integrate appropriate themes in your marketing materials, customer experiences and put your actions behind your words. Support causes, communities and customers in ways that don’t just get attention, but speak to your Millennial customers that yes, you are “Just like Me.”