Ok, so you have to admit that getting a retweet, like or mention via social media from your favorite brand gives you a little jolt of excitement, right? Of course. So imagine what it would feel like if your favorite brands actually took an action further than the social space. Today, the brands that are marrying the digital and physical world are doing just that. And, they are winning with millennials because of it.
Lessons from a Local Business
Gina Reardon, co-owner of Catering by Design in Kansas City, is an example of someone who acknowledges the importance of merging these two worlds. After Jeff Fromm, my boss, posted about my inexplicably large office (I’m an intern) with the hashtag ‘#internenvy’, Gina saw an opportunity. She took it upon herself to perpetuate that ‘#internenvy’ by sending an anonymous pie to me on my third day as an intern.
What Gina Reardon did, in many ways, embodies how to reach the millennial generation. She followed two rules that equate to millennial Brand Love®: She created a meaningful and shareworthy experience and she did it by merging the physical and digital world.
1. Create Meaningful Experiences
Gina married the physical and digital world by creating an experience that was very meaningful. Speaking from a millennial perspective, this is an easy way to our hearts. Yes, its true, we are on our phones, laptops, and tablets a lot, but we aren’t robots. We’re still humans that enjoy real, physical, communication. In fact, we enjoy instances like this so much because they are rare to us. Virtually everything, is digital now, so anytime something tangible comes from the digital world, we kind of freak out (in a good way).
2. Create Shareworthy Content
So what do millennials do when we have this little freak out? You guessed it; we head right back to our phones, laptops and tablets and share it. Of course I took a picture of the pie and posted it on all of my favorite social media outlets. This just became an experience for me, and the experience was undoubtedly share-worthy. By tying the physical and digital worlds together, Gina proved that she understands the importance of both worlds, the way that millennials do. We want to be engaged. We want experiences and chance to participate. We want it to happen by surprise and we want to tell our friends about it.
From the Brand’s Perspective
Let’s look at it from Gina’s perspective. She sent a friend’s intern a pie to play along with a made up hashtag she saw posted two days prior. However, what she received in return was even more valuable. Employees in the company were generating social media posts about it and running around the office talking about the company. This is extremely valuable for Catering by Design as a business considering that 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations more than any other form of advertising. She is also now a company I will think of, as I know she is someone who reached out and created an experience for me when she had no real reason to. What do you think I’ll tell people about my first week of my internship? I think the pie delivery will certainly be a part of it. Talk about earned media.
The Challenge for Big Business
Gina was able to execute these two principles relatively seamlessly due to the fact that she owns a local business here in Kansas City. The challenge is much greater for larger brands. However, a small business feel can still be executed relatively easily at the local level by thinking small, listening to consumers and personalizing messages. Take a look at Whole Foods as an example. With over 300 local Twitter accounts, and 250 local Facebook pages, Whole Foods is able to develop a small community feel, allowing better opportunities for interaction with local consumers.
The Take Away
The message here is that there really is no substitute for a meaningful experience and share-worthy content. If that share-worthy experience can be achieved by merging the physical and digital world, odds are it will be a homerun with millennials. We want a personal connection from brands we love. And when we receive it, we won’t hesitate to talk about it.
If you liked this check out Millennial Brand Love® Trends in the Participation Economy.