Stories Matter: find out about what we got up to in Amsterdam last month, and why it should matter to brands…

Insight: In a recession affected world, happiness and success are key measures for Millennials. This is expressed by experiences, not possessions, becoming the new ultimate status symbol.

We’re a savvy generation. Brought up in the digital age, we often feel like we’ve seen it all. We think we know the tricks of the brand trade, we’re critical about hollow messages and empty slogans and we’re not afraid to tear brands down if they can’t keep up.  So, how can brands navigate this tough environment? What is the key to unlocking the Millennial mind, and how do brands push those passion point buttons?

First and foremost, it’s about understanding the millennial mind-set. We’re a generation who have mostly grown up and come of age in an era of austerity, so we’ve had to cut our cloth accordingly (although, don’t worry, we haven’t by any means cut it out altogether). According to the in-depth insights from our Next Normal*, 2012, international research study – the insight clearly indicates that as a generation we define ourselves differently to older generations. For us, it’s not what we have but what we do that matters.

So, what kind of ‘doing’ counts? As an experientially defined generation, it’s not just any old trip down to pub that counts- it has to have meaningful. It has to be filled with opportunities to experience new authentic adventures but also, and more importantly, an opportunity to create; pictures; videos; stories worth sharing.

Take a look at my above video of my experience of going to MTV Music Week, culminating in the MTV EMAs a few weeks ago. The key aspect of the experience, other than obviously just experiencing it, was the process of ‘creating stories’. Although that sounds slightly contrived, as a generation we’re curating ourselves in a way which might seem bizarre to Boomers and Gen Xers. No longer is it acceptable to come back from a trip and respond ‘Yes, I had a lovely time’. It’s all about what you got up to. Did you get VIP tickets? Did you meet anyone famous? Did you get into an exclusive club? The important thing to note is, we’re not even waiting to get back from our trips to share these stories. As digital natives, we’re building them as we go along via social media, almost like a teaser trailer, alluding to what kind of amazing experiences we’re having. An Instagram picture here, a Facebook status update there, a tweet followed by a couple of Snapchats just to top it off. We’re able to get instant feedback in the form of comments, likes and retweets which makes the whole process that bit more addictive.

That’s why Millennials are so great for brands, because if you treat us right, if you help us to make incredible memories, trust me we’ll be telling everyone about it. Instantly.

Brand Take Away: For brands to connect with Millennials, they must connect to passion points (i.e. music) through authentic experiences (i.e. music events) as it is these experiences which are the new ultimate status symbol for this generation. But, to really resonate with Millennials, brands must go one step further to help us turn those experiences into incredible oh-my-god-I-need-to-tell-everyone-right-now stories.