As a consumer group, Millennials seem to obsess and confound marketers in equal amounts, why is this?
Millennials, if we stick to the formal definition, represent the biggest demographic in the world. Honestly, it's hard to put profiles from different markets, cultures and across an age span of 15 to 20 years, in a box. But beyond its broad definition, Millennials are also confounding marketers because they don't respond the same way their predecessors did, to marketing messages. Consequently, their consumption habits are hard to decipher – and even harder to influence. Having grown up with the Internet, this is a generation that is sceptical about marketing messages, as authenticity is key to them and as such. Last but not least, this a generation that aspires to be unique and different.
Millennials are obviously more digitally savvy than older consumer groups, and luxury brands are notoriously slow to adapt to new technologies. How then should luxury brands go about approaching the millennial market?
It definitely challenges the traditional paid-versus-owned media model, as Millennials are indeed more sceptical towards brands’ messages. It requires brands to embrace the idea of third party voices potentially being more influential than their own. It also forces brands to accept the notion of revealing more facets of themselves as authenticity is, once again, key to gaining the trust of millennial consumers. This not only redefines the approach of content creation and online PR, but also requires brands to involve the audience as actors rather than simply spectators – which can be hard to do for brands that have been built on the idea of being exclusive, or even inaccessible.
How are luxury Millennial consumers in China unique?
I think the gap between China and the rest of the world in terms of consumer mindset is reducing thanks to the Internet, which naturally reduces the boundaries between different markets. In my opinion, if we go beyond personal tastes and preferences, the divide is mainly a result of the differences between the digital ecosystem in China and the rest of the world. The ecommerce landscape and WeChat has a strong impact on consumer behaviours in China.
What do you think other luxury brands can learn from this?
I believe the key is for brands to go out of their comfort zones. Audiences want to be surprised; they want novelty; the want something different. And that is not going to be achieved by communicating the same messages that might perhaps have worked well in the past – such as narratives about a brand’s rich heritages and long histories.
Learn more about how brands can best target Millennials at the Luxury Society Keynote 2017. Seats are going fast, so register for a spot here now!