Australia's Millennials Marketing Conference, held in Melbourne on May 25, brought together some of the biggest players in the Australia and New Zealand media sphere to discuss millennial attitudes and the future of marketing.
Build Trust Through Humour
"Millennials want the truth – in fact, they demand it. The winning brands are those who can put truth at the centre of what they do," said Jessica Hackett, group marketing manager for The Urban List, an Australia-New Zealand media brand that sees 2.4 million unique visits each month.
According to research from The Urban List, humour came out on top as a tool for gaining trust, with digital media recognised as more trustworthy than print. In fact, 50% of millennial respondents claimed to be cynical of brands that take themselves too seriously, with a further 50% saying they are more trusting of brands that have a sense of humour.
Mark Henning, head of media (Australia) at market research and insights group Kantar Millward Brown, acknowledged that humour is a fantastic method for communicating across generations. He referenced The Boys ad campaign from Australian clothing brand Bonds as a game-changer in the Australian market. The campaign invited viewers to "take a sneak peek at life inside your undies".
"Ad-avoidance strategies are increasing – 32% of millennials living in Australia claim to have installed an ad blocker – so you need to keep it fun, and make sure that what you are doing fits well with the platform to make it effective in that environment," Henning commented.
Motion is the New Filter
Mobile video content was a hot topic. Paul Nahoun, travel industry lead for Facebook (Australia and New Zealand), highlighted that brands need to understand how audiences interact with their smartphones and then build video content around this – with a focus on pre-loaded content and new formats.
"Motion is the new filter when it comes to social media imagery," said Nahoun. "It doesn't have to be a big video production – motion applied to beautiful still imagery can be incredibly useful – however brands need to own the real estate that mobile provides and move towards square and vertical moving imagery."
Nahoun referenced AWOL, a travel media platform created by Australian media company Junkee and airline Qantas, as a benchmark for Instagram video content. AWOL's 15-second vertical video stories resulted in a three-point increase in brand awareness during a month-long campaign.
Stig Richards of Junkee said post-millennial generations are not digital natives, but mobile natives, who communicate with images and video instead of text. Punkee, which launched in May 2017, is Junkee's first mobile-only major media brand. It targets Gen Z audiences with vertical video as the primary focus. Content pillars are internet culture, TV, music, parties, viral videos, gaming, memes and movies. Regardless of pillar, Richards commented: "The big-ticket item is now short, sharp video."
Mass Mattering, Not Mass Marketing
Dion Appel, managing director of DDB Australia and founder of creative marketing agency Lifelounge, emphasised the millennial hunger for genuine emotional connection. "We need to be moving people, not telling them," he commented. "It's about mass mattering, not mass marketing."
Appel's key areas for marketers to learn from included "recipronomics" (creating cultural impact), authentic disruption that is based on transparency, 'real' experiences, and 'show, don't tell' marketing approaches. Tiger Beer's Air Ink graffiti ink and paint (made from soot harvested from air pollution in Hong Kong) and the Light Phone (a credit card-sized mobile phone only used for calls) were mentioned as significant projects that place genuine connection at their forefront.
For more on marketing to millennials, see Marketing to LGBTQ Consumers, State of Mobile: Global Youth Focus, and Youth Marketing Strategy 2017. For more on tackling issues of trust, see Rebuilding Consumer Trust: Advertising Week Europe 2017.