Millennials often get a bad wrap. They are viewed as self centered, technology obsessed job hoppers. While this may be true more of one generation than another, as marketers we should be looking at the positive side of that coin. How do millennials view themselves? Tech savvy, career-focused achievers who yearn for an authentic connection. Growing up in a 140 character culture it can be hard to connect. This is why millennials have helped confirm what advertisers have known for a long time but haven’t been able to execute fully until now: Content is king.
Advertising is an always changing landscape. You can see it subtly year to year on TV or more drastically in new mediums. As advertisers, we are always developing our mode of messaging to make it more engaging. In early television, up through the 50s, actors were often speaking directly to the camera telling you all the wonders of a product. The 60s brought more narrative commercials with a voice-of-God narration similar to the 50s. The 70s introduced a cinematic style as well as introducing comedy. And on and on this goes.
The core of this, however, is a conversation with the viewer that engages their emotions and intellect. An authentic message, shaped for the audience, the time and the medium.
Fast forward to 2017 where we have super-computers in our pockets. Everyone can be a videographer, photographer, writer, and even create their own talk show with just one device! The market is flooded with content and much of it good. How can we market to an oversaturated population? The answer is we learn and adapt, and in this case we listen to the Millennials.
Millennials want an authentic voice. They want a personality who is going to be real with them and share their likes and dislikes. This sounds a lot like the ads of the 50s! But they don’t want some celebrity telling them what to like in a :30 tv commercial, they want a random joe on youtube to do an in depth review of the product. At the same time, they want to hear real stories of real people. They want a cinematic story about a family finding it’s way to the United States which shows real life struggles (84 lumber commercial from super bowl last year). They won’t care one whit about your product if they don’t care about your story. This is why content is king.
It’s never about the product. Advertising has known that forever. It’s about the audience and their perspective. What can we show an audience that they relate to and which builds equity in our brand. With so many mediums (facebook, snapchat, instagram, pinterest, twitter, youtube, other networks i don’t know about because i’m old), we have a greater opportunity and responsibility to our audience. Our viewers, across all demographics, want to connect to an authentic story. Let’s give it to them! Let’s create compelling content which engages the minds, and hearts of our audience. Let’s push the form of our mediums and try new things. Let’s create content which focuses on our audiences’ perspectives and stories first, and which puts traditional brand messaging second.
When we do this, when we realize content is king, then we can start to transform our relationship with our audience.