Millennials’, an overheard and buzz-worthy term in the world of today’s brands. They make up one of the most crucial consumer profiles that brands are reconfiguring their marketing strategies to target. Millennials are not consuming based on advertising campaigns, they need brands to give them a platform to speak up and reveal who they truly are. In other words, being a bid-budget advertiser doesn’t necessarily mean being a favorite. The Brandberries has exclusively interviewed Nada Zagallai, Head of Marketing at Uber Middle East, to give her insights on how brands can reach the hearts and minds of millennials

BB: Millennials form one of the most influential group of consumers. In a nutshell, what makes a brand “millennial-friendly” ? What captures the hearts and minds of today’s millennials in a brand ?

                                Nada Zagallai

NZ: I believe it boils down to a few simple principles: Relevance and Authenticity. Relevance is the heavy lift. Brands need to start with products that are relevant to this segment, and work around their lifestyle preferences (rather than the other way around). The storytelling, communication and engagement strategies need to be relevant to popular culture (without being gimmicky) while remaining relevant to the pulse of today’s world.
Authenticity enables the millennial consumer to trust the company; they have to believe in the company’s mission, the value it adds to the world and its role within the company’s category.

BB: Can you share with us some insights about the consumer behavior of millennials? What do they spend on, what matters to them and what influences them when making their purchase decisions ?
NZ: Millennials are spending their money on Travel, technology, dining and entertainment or experiences. They review blogs, influencer content (those they actually believe in) and user reviews, before they make a purchase, because they believe in the feedback of their fellow consumer far more than they do in an ad. Authenticity here is another key influencer on their purchase decision. Millennials seek brands that are in innovating in their category, offer value for money and deliver well designed products and experiences.
BB:How can putting millennials at the heart of a brand strategy builds early loyalty, sets the ground for a lifelong relevancy and creates a sustainable revenue stream ?
NZ:This depends on the brand’s business objectives and target market. If a Brand is building for millennials, putting them at the heart means millennial-centric products, marketing and communications.
Human centric design means a company is building everything (processes, products, content) around the customer segment, that segment’s needs, behaviors and perceptions – and if that customer happens to be a millennial then that will resonate just as true. This is has fundamentally been the key for some of the world’s most successful brands.
BB:One of the important pillars of developing a brand of appeal to millennials is mastering the use of digital media. How can digital media help in getting millennials engaged with a brand?
NZ:Digital & social media have given brands a platform for storytelling, offering two-way communication channels to help customers interact with their favorite brands. Millennials are very sophisticated and strongly opinionated consumers, so their expectations of brands today is to be able to become strong communicators through these now (only) relevant channels, not only by creating & sharing content, but creating moments and interactions that really capture this segment’s attention, engage in authentic conversations, and spark some debate.
BB: Some brands are constantly differentiating themselves to be in the millennials bracket which drives brands to gear up their efforts on this age bracket and ignore the other consumer age groups combined. What does it cost a brand to be differentiated as “only” a 20-30 years old category ?
NZ:That’s generally a business decision, not a consequence. If a company has built a product that they believe most appeals to the millennial segment, then they have mastered the art of relevance (and knowing your customer segment is in fact the most efficient strategy a company could build).
However, many brands started off targeting millennials specifically in their earlier growth stages, appealing to them as their early adopters, but as they scaled and evolved, they begun to develop products and communications targeting other segments as well.
So it all really comes down to an impactful segmentation strategy – whether it’s millennials or not, successful brands build meaningful products, then gear their marketing efforts in the most relevant way to their target segments.