Guest writer: Lisa Roxby from Metro
So, millennials? The young generation who can’t afford to buy a house without Mum and Dad, don’t watch TV anymore and love taking a selfie. You might think you’ve heard all there is to know about them but a lot of existing information can be contradictory, and with a disproportionate number of millennials working in the media industry, it can be difficult to be objective. It doesn’t seem right to place all young people aged 18-34 into one large group, and say they share the same traits. During these formative years people go through many changes in attitudes, lifestyles and priorities – an 18-year-old will likely still be in school, while the older among the group might be thinking about settling down and having families. So how can there be only one ‘millennial story’?

This is why Metro, together with Mailonline, embarked on a huge project incorporating research consultants, workshops, debates and surveys to make sense of it all. The future of media and advertising lies with millennials and we wanted to provide our advertisers with the best tools for targeting this key, yet challenging audience.

We identified specific approaches that work for millennials from an advertising perspective and discovered that, whilst they are critical of some campaigns, there’s a crucial misconception that millennials are cynical of all brand advertising and unwilling to be spellbound by the magic of a great campaign. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Millennials have simply become very wary of hard sell ads, and advertisers need to learn to be subtle in order to reach this audience in the authentic manner they expect and respond well to.

With digital skills to produce content, millennials are also perfectly placed to co-create with brands, or promote campaigns exponentially through social media. However, they want something back in return, so advertisers need to give, not just take.

As well as an in-depth report, we have identified nine Millennial Rules for advertisers, offering practical insight and valuable tips on how to successfully engage with the audience everyone seems to be talking about:

  • Millennials are different: Speak to them in their own language – relevance and personalisation is key.
  • Nurture success: Millennials aim high, and enjoy brands that celebrate their achievements (at all levels).
  • Sell lifestyles: Millennials crave experiences, buy into lifestyles and want to share their ‘moments’ living life to the full.
  • Ease pressure: Help Millennials manage the pressure of perfection, offer tools, support and encouragement.
  • Keep it real: Millennials are cynical, but they have a soft spot for great advertising. Brand fit and interesting content is key.
  • Be inspiring: Millennials love to research pre-purchase so give them a reason to include your brand.
  • Give – don’t just take: Millennials like brands that offer interesting ways to engage, free resources, and those that give back to charitable causes.
  • Don’t irritate: Millennials can spot a lazy ad a mile off, they’re unresponsive unless you have something genuinely interesting to say.
  • Impress and entertain: Authentic approaches are favoured, as are funny ads and brands inspiring them to feel good on the inside as well.

See for the full story and to read all nine Millennial Rules in more detail.