We live in a time where there is no shortage of choice or access. Can’t find product X at your local retailer? Not to worry, Amazon can have it on your doorstep tomorrow morning (if you don’t mind paying the express shipping surcharge). And there is no group more intimately aware of this fact than our Millennials; a lifetime of over-connectedness has shaped them into down-to-earth realists who aren’t focused on price, but on purpose. If your brand values don’t align with theirs, you’re going to have to start looking for customers elsewhere.
NextGen is in search for products that satisfy their individual micro-needs. And that’s the key phrase to remember: ‘individual micro-needs’. NextGen appreciates uniqueness – having exclusive access to either a human (like a celebrity, or a politician), an experience, or a product. A brand that has illustrated how well they understand this desire is Nike. The activewear manufacturer introduced NIKEiD, an online service that allows customers to create their own gear by customizing colour, design, and performance features. As such, customers are able to create a product that is unique, and caters specifically to their individual needs; they are the only person in the world to own that specific pair of shoes. Nike’s gambit to introduce personalized products to their consumer pool has been tremendously successful, and it’s not surprising to see other manufacturers, like Gucci or Coca-Cola enjoying similar successes from their customization campaigns.
Hot tweetaway: #NextGen is in search for products that satisfy their individual micro-needs insit.es/2AcZeZL by @SenorBlinky via @CoolBrands #mrx #uniqueness #geny #genz #marketing #business
Beyond their individual micro-needs, NextGen cares deeply for their community and our planet, and are more likely to support brands that employ environmentally-friendly, sustainable business practices. A great example of a brand that fits this bill is Patagonia – not only a creator of outdoor apparel, but a brand that uses it footprint and profits to actively better the outdoors. They are dedicated to nature, with a corporate philosophy that states, “100% for the planet”. But what makes the Patagonia story so special is their transparency – they are aware of their shortcomings (like still using fossil fuels for some production processes), but they don’t hide this fact, instead, they actively engage their customers to inform them how they are addressing these issues to get closer to their goal of being, “100% for the planet”. This transparent, honest, and open approach to business is not only great for customer retention, but equally fantastic for customer acquisition. Patagonia is considered a darling among millennials, despite being 40+ years old…
Hot tweetaway: #NextGen cares deeply for their community & our planet and are more likely to support brands that employ environmentally-friendly, sustainable #business practices insit.es/2AcZeZL by @SenorBlinky via @CoolBrands #mrx #sustainability #green #geny #genz #marketing
We’ve spoken about the power of customization and sustainability as illustrated by different brands, but what if these values were melded together in a single organisation? That was the exact same question four marketing students had when they came up with a fictional concept for a final exam that married these two elements. The idea was that of Douglas Bikes, where customers could purchase customizable bikes made with special wooden frames. While customers could customize several aspects of their new bicycle (like artwork/engraving or even a special seat), the durable frame is made out of wood carrying a Forest Stewardship Label, which means they’re not only building bikes, they’re also building plantations. The professor must’ve enjoyed the fictional concept, because not only can you now order your own customized Douglas Bike, at the end of 2017, the Douglas Bikes team added custom wooden watches, and custom wooden iPhone cases to their product suite – all the while putting back more into nature than they’re taking in the first place.
But don’t be fooled, these are not the only elements the NextGen craves – they’ve inherited a world where too much has been mass produced, and the environment is in tatters. They understand the onus is on them to bring back a touch of personalization, and saving the planet while they’re at it. A brand with a clear purpose, a purpose that is meaningful, and actively fuels a greater goal, is a brand that is more likely to gain and retain NextGen clientele – a critical aspect highlighted in the frAGILE: Is NextGen marketing more chemistry than science bookzine.
Hot tweetaway: A brand with a clear #purpose, that is meaningful and actively fuels a great goal is more likely to gain & retain #NextGen insit.es/2AcZeZL by @SenorBlinky via @CoolBrands #mrx #uniqueness #sustainability #geny #genz #marketing #business
Final blogpost based on an internship submission article by Gilles Haeck, future Marketing intern at InSites Consulting.