A top management team of a leading luxury brand asked me recently whether or not they needed to address millennials. Since most of their current buyers are over 35 years old, they thought it would be a waste of money to target younger people – a common misconception in the luxury industry. I often hear high-ranking brand managers say “millennials don’t have money, it’s no point to target them.” However, things are different in reality. Just look at the number of millennials’ buying power on electronic gadgets, fashion street wear, and sneakers and you’ll be shock. Falling short in addressing millennials could really weakening the brand not only today, but also one likely to fail in the future.
We live in a time of rapidly accelerating disruption, and a brand’s size or heritage doesn’t protect it from become irrelevant. Any brand can become irrelevant in the blink of an eye. Brand loyalty isn’t like what it used to be before. One well-known fashion brand lost a whopping 70% of its younger consumers over only three years. They found out that heritage, craftsmanship, exquisite materials, and design mean nothing if the brand can’t connect with young consumers. Therefore, the question shouldn’t be whether to target millennials but how to target them better than the competitors.
Another important question is what age should a brand start targeting millennials? It is important to know millennials will not wear what their mothers wear, they won’t buy the beauty brands their moms buy, and they want different car brand from their parents. For older generations, interestingly it’s the opposite: they emulate the tastes of their kids or other younger people. Don’t forget that Gen Z is already starting to join the market, and they are crucial in helping drive brand preferences for millennials in their 30s. As a rule, brands need to start much earlier and appeal to high schoolers and young college students.
The success stories of Gucci, Supreme, Off-white, and Balenciaga are cases in points. They’ve mastered connecting with consumers in their late teens, and this, in turn, makes them relevant to older target groups, including millennials. Many other brands miss the mark with today’s youngest consumers, and as a result, they’re not only unattractive to millennials but also begin losing their older consumer base. Luxury is always a result of a social currency, and only brands that are seen as relevant by younger customers will thrive while those that don’t risk becoming obsolete (which, as mentioned earlier, happens fast).
Find the Perfect Story
To appeal to Gen Zers, a brand’s storytelling is crucial. Brands need to put their focus on building brand equity – in other words, forming clear rational and emotional positions about what the brand stands for. This needs to be told from a consumer perspective, not as an idea the brand has about itself.
The youngest consumers are the most discerning. If they don’t quickly get what’s in for them. Brand storytelling is not primarily about advertising, which is a common misconception. In its most elemental form, it’s the way a brand creates value. Everything the brand does needs to follow the brand story: at each consumer touchpoint and with each product. All actions should be seen as part of the delivery system fro the brand story. Brands that are weak in storytelling will never be perceived as authentic and relevant. Brand storytelling describes what the brand sells both emotionally and rationally.
The Message Must Be Digital
To deliver these stories, digital capabilities are critical. Most brands lack in most CRM capabilities, and even if they have a system, it’s not connected and efficient enough to support personalised customer interactions. But going even deeper, most brands lack IRM (influencer relationship management) systems, which help identify and engage with necessary KOLs and influencers. Not having those capabilities is deadly, because younger consumers are more receptive to people than brands. Therefore, key opinion consumers who influencer their peers and followers need to be managed as precisely as any other brand element. It’s important that influencers accurately reflect a brand’s storytelling to help create consistency.
If you require any assistance on marketing strategy (online or offline), feel free to contact us at [email protected] or +60175555237. At Avixity, we are more than just a digital agency. We focus on technology and design to help grow your business at scale.