Making Sure Your Story Moves Millennials

September 30, 2015

By Director of Marketing Jennifer Hardin and Senior Vice President Hugh Drummond

Jennifer Hardin Director of Marketing
Hugh Drummond Senior Vice President

Not all messages resonate across all audience segments. That’s why adapting key messages for specific target audiences is a crucial component for any communications strategy and why our publicrelations teams start every engagement with a messaging and strategy workshop. Audiences can be divided across a number of demographics, such as geography, gender, and generation/age. More often than not, businesses choose to segment their audiences by generation – Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials, to name a few – as a result of each one’s distinct behavior and characteristics.

With countless communication platforms and channels available, it is becoming more important to connect the right way with the right audience. Recently, the millennial generation has often served as the subject of countless think-pieces, consumer surveys, and analytical research that seeks to demystify the things that inspire them and move them to action. All of this attention comes with good reason – Millennials comprise approximately one quarter of the U.S. population, are the largest segment of the nation’s workforce, and are the most educated and most diverse generation in our history. Their purchasing power will only increase in the years ahead, and their preferences will have a major impact on traditional industry segments.

Although Millennials’ formative years resemble that of their predecessors – a nation at war, economic booms and busts, major civil rights gains and groundbreaking innovations – unlike generations before them, they were raised around technology and are often found with a mobile device or tablet within arm’s reach. They are masters of social media and, even at their young age, have already established deep and lasting independent networks of friends and professional connections, both offline and online, that they rely on for validation, purchasing decisions, charitable support, and networking. If they like something, they share it with their networks. They use technology to quickly fact check authority, find a better deal, or get a second opinion. So don’t expect them to blindly accept anything on face value.

Today, everyone can be an advocate or a detractor for a brand among their social networks. Each person involved with a business, brand or campaign has a unique story to tell to their own circle of audiences.

At O’Neill and Associates, we understand the unique power of each generation and each corresponding communications channel, whether in print or online. However, instead of having the channel determine which story to tell, we lead with our clients’ stories and let them carry us to the appropriate platforms.

The ultimate goal of our public relations campaigns is to connect people and communities by extending their shared relationships and affinities, whether that’s among Boomers, Gen Xers or Millennials. Approaching communications from this integrated standpoint begins with having a deep knowledge of the client and its influencers.

Millennials are already shaking up traditional communications and social norms. With the constant chatter – in the media and online – brands, businesses and campaigns must work harder and think further outside the box to grab the attention of its target audiences and connect with them in a meaningful way.

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