Being a millennial is no easy task these days. Every other week, we get blamed for the death of certain luxury industries, told we are narcissistic for embracing our bodies and our passions, and basically held responsible for ushering in the end of the world. It’s a strange rap sheet for a group of young people just trying to get jobs, make meaningful connections, and wallow in the splendor that is Amazon Prime.
I came into adulthood in the mid-2000s, just about the time the media started lamenting the “hipster” influx of millennial-aged youth coming into the workforce. Instead of destroying the world of commerce, however, we’re influencing it more than ever before, and those same people genuinely fearing my generation 10 years ago are now intricately studying our buying habits.
(I suspect we won everyone over with the mermaid hair thing and making rescue pets cool again, but I’m no scientist.)
Because I’ve always thought the millennial dread was a little misplaced, I really enjoyed Micah Solomon’s book, Your Customer is the Star, which is a guide to helping connect businesses with millennial buyers in today’s remarkably fast-paced marketplace. My favorite comparisons come early in the book as Solomon discusses The Jetsons.
Pop art courtesy of Van Eaton Galleries; “Rosie the Robot” and “The Jetsons” property of Hanna Barbara
The beloved caretaker of the Jetsons’ household, Rosie the Robot, signifies all the things millennials care about most when interacting with businesses in today’s omnichannel world: machine efficiency, human warmth (with New York ‘tude), and speed, speed, speed. She wasn’t just a device or a customer service rep, she was a deeply entrenched part of the family’s life. She was a family member herself. We don’t have Rosies (yet), but we do have the technological capacity to have that relationship with customers.
Today’s consumers aren’t centering on brand allure alone, but on personal experience and connection. Businesses have to ask themselves: how can we make our products and brand idea a part of our customer’s life? Millennials seek that connection and adventure in every experience.
One thing I added to a craft show I did this past June that I had not done before was to create a small sign encouraging people to interact with Tiny Revelation‘s fox mascot, Large Fox. Children and grown-ups alike hugged, high-fived, and posed with this guy. Ultimately, too, they Snapchatted, tweeted, and Instagrammed the fox and tagged the craft show. This one additional interactive element created more foot traffic to my vendor area. They weren’t just buying greeting cards; they were a “part” of Tiny Revelations and doing something unique!
Moving forward, I hope to continue centering customers and their relationship to the items I create, rather than standing on the laurels of my artwork alone. Customers are the star, but they’re more than willing to share that spotlight with those that hear their needs and provide meaningful experiences during what would otherwise be “ordinary” transactions.
What do you think? How do you reach millennial buyers and those they influence?