Millennials won’t be swayed by traditional advertising methods. It’s been said Millennials aren’t loyalist, but if there is anything we’ve learnt about the $1 Billion Dollar Shaver Club acquisition this month we know a great story can go a long way with these guys. When done right, they can’t resist to share on a good thing or have it influence buying decisions long term.
It’s no secret that storytelling is a very dynamic marketing tactic that works to engage and involve your customers, you’re probably sick of hearing that from me by now! But it’s even more important to consider the effects of this tactic on the most active consumer market, Millennials.
Key Blog Insights:
How Storytelling engages the consumer-conscious Millennial market
Real-world examples of successful storytelling campaigns
Offering the customer more than a product or service
So why is storytelling influencing Millennial marketing so such? Well, our brain stores organises and retrieves information in the form of narratives, making storytelling the ultimate method of targeted marketing. For Millenial’s the emotion economy is more valuable than ever. Flooded with a variety of choice, on and offline, they want to buy something that they engage emotionally, and that adheres to our beliefs and values. Cunning trick sales or cheap buys won’t cut it for us Millennials, thanks to the good old Internet they are conscious consumers who are looking for more.
The aim of storytelling is your customers and to encourage them to share their experience. If you’re not creating content people want to share, well I hate to say it but you’re wasting your time. The Millennial market stops for no one! Brands that fail to utilise storytelling and continue to use disengaging content are quickly being left behind. On the other brands that have jumped on the bandwagon (or brandwagon you could say hehe) are making serious pace in the market.
Here are some examples of great storytelling marketing campaigns. Don’t be put off by the size of these companies, storytelling is effective and achievable, regardless of the size of your business.
Trying to claw themselves out of the depths of hell after the 2015 emissions scandal Volkswagen (VW) launched their Naked Ute campaign. Knowing that Millennials are keen to right all the environmental wrongs of the Baby Boomers and Gen X did, VW had to do something to completely change the perspective of the brand to reflect one that they can again relate too, all whilst avoiding the scandal. To do this VW asked Australians to ‘Guess the Naked Ute’, which was secretly the new Amarok ute stripped of all cosmetic features. Trialled by Aussie ute lovers the Amarok passed the test of durability and impeccable engineering, smashing prior perceptions that the ute was merely a ‘city ute’.
Volkswagen stripped away the luxuries and badges that originally were the centrepiece of their brand and proved that they can make more than a good looking car. This engaged customers and actively encouraged them to join in the guessing game, driving the enormous success of the campaign.
You may have heard of a little brand called Apple, founded by some guy called Steve Jobs. Just kidding! Everyone knows Apple and there’s a reason the brand is so prominent. What I’ll bet you don’t know is that Steve Jobs is that his brand and marketing tema knew he hated the two topics. I think it’s his hate for branding and marketing that made his “marketing” so infleucial. It’s always about the WHY… not the WHAT. Apple is notable for seamlessly blending their products into stories and do so in a way that avoids brandishing the beauty of the product (damn they are beautiful products) instead focussing on the human capabilities.
Apple’s Cookie Monster commercial used the perfect combination of humour and nostalgia to promote the Siri feature of the new iPhones. They cleverly used someone who connected with the Millennial market (and older) who grew up watching Sesame Street. Storytelling has been a fundamental part of the success of the Apple brand – they have utilised it to the point that their products sell themselves, just slap an Apple logo on it and name your price!
This was one of the longest ads on TV, a full minute! That’s almost unheard of these day’s unless you’re brave or like wasting money, one minute is like watching a movie to a Millennial. But Apple nailed it and had audience’s glued to the end just to have their emotions tickled by the beloved Cookie Monster. Mmmmm Cookies.
Dollar Shaver Club
Founded in 2011 Dollar Shaver Club is a California-based company that posts customers high-quality shaving equipment for only a few bucks a month. Delving into a market that was largely dominated by large retail chains like Gillette and Venus, DSC had to make their mark early to avoid being squashed by the big guys.
Their first ever commercial did exactly that! Boldly introducing the brand with the slogan ‘Our Blades are F***ing Great’. If you think of the stereotypical men’s shaver ad, a handsome man, freshly showered, erotically shaving his face comes to mind. DSC smashed this stereotype at the same time outing their competitors for the expensive, often unnecessary features of their razors and this strongly resonated with their target millennial audience.
You don’t have to take my word on it, when it comes to Dollar Shaver Club’s success the proof is in the pudding! The start-up just recently sold to hygiene and personal care giant Unilever for a cool $1 billion. That’s a stunning 5 times Dollar Shaver Club’s predicted earnings for the next year!!!
Tesla is maybe one of the best examples of storytelling in the modern market (surely a car this cool would sell itself?!) Tesla believes is full transparency, promising their customers ‘our patents belong to you’. That’s right, all their design patents are available to the public. Tesla was created as a brand that believes in creating a better world driven by electric energy and accelerating the advent of sustainable transport, something that strongly aligns with Millennials. By offering their patent to the wider public they are proving, through full transparency, that this belief comes first before holding the monopoly in the electric car market and this is possibly the greatest selling point of their brand.
There’s no doubt that stories sell and the key to a successful storytelling campaign is putting the customer first. Think about what your customers will relate to and how best to seamlessly integrate your brand’s message into that story. There is no one size fits all campaign, you need to think about your motives and seriously consider the beliefs and values of your customers, current and future.
Millenials are not after a cheap sale, don’t get me wrong they love affordability and value, like everyone they’ll buy just for “Free Shipping” any day but it takes more that that for them to stay loyal and share the love. They want to see that a brand shares our values and doesn’t resort to deception or trickery. They are a generation that has grown up with instant access to brands through the Internet and the various social platforms. Brands can no longer expect Millennials to take their word on value, they have to prove it and this is where the authenticity of storytelling is key!
Keep an eye out on our socials as we will be sharing more tips and tricks about how to make Millennials your best friends in a challenging digital marketing world.
Alita Harvey-Rodriguez is known as one of Australia's leading digital marketing futurists and the brains behind Milk It Academy – A research-based training firm to advance marketers skills into new school digital leaders and company innovators. For over a decade Alita has worked with global brands including SAP, Experian, SEMrush, TS14+, Estee Lauder, Myer, Power Retail, & Online Retailer.