For the past five years we have been studying millennials and modern consumer trends. From retail buying patterns to flavor preferences to how income differentiates cohorts of millennials, we have shared a wealth of information about how millennial consumers behave differently in our market today. However, one of the greatest impacts this generation has had is on the way marketing professionals communicate brand stories, messages, values and ideas through a fully integrated world.
What is the new communication frontier paved by the Millennial generation?
Although we all hate to admit it, sometimes buzzwords are buzzwords for a reason and Content Marketing is one of those things that has evolved from something brands simply talked about to strategic objective that is imperative in order to maintain relevancy in a crowded market.
However, while 82 percent of marketers agree that it is important to have a great content strategy, only 38 percent currently have one implemented, according to Content Marketing Institute.
That’s a problem.
Although everyone talks about content, very few truly understand exactly what content is. Is it social media? Is it a blog? Is it a video on YouTube?
The answer is, yes.
Content is the communication with which a consumer choses to spend time. Whether that is an app, a social post, a written article or even a branded activation, content becomes content the moment someone choses to interact with the message.
Creating the right content isn’t easy and over the years we have developed three rules brands must follow in order to develop content that does not get lost in the noise.
- True to the brand
Does your content share your central brand idea?
Too often we see brands making content just to make content or being part of a conversation just to be part of the conversation – even when it does not make sense for the brand. In a market where there is a proliferation of choice, it is more important than ever that everything a brand does and everything it produces relates to the bigger brand idea. Millennials do not waste their time with brands that are not authentic and attempt to portray an image that is not true to their core values.
- Right for business
Is the content you are sharing a true representation of what you actually “do?”
In addition to being true to your core brand idea, the content a brand shares must make sense considering the actual product or service your brand provides. Thinking outside of the box is always encouraged. However, when the content pushes too far, there is a high chance that Millennials will not relate the work with your brand.
- Relevant to people and culture.
Do you know your role in culture and in the hearts and minds of consumers?
In order to create relevant content, brands must determine where the overlap between the brand culture and consumer culture exists. Branded content does not go viral only because people think it’s funny or heartfelt. It goes viral because it brings in a key cultural component that consumers relate to on a deeper level.
As content marketing continues to evolve and becomes a major component of marketing strategy, it is important to remember one thing:
People don’t like brands. People like people.
Don’t create content to push out a branded agenda. Create content that you would want your friends to share. Because the brands that are friends are the ones that will see success in their content engagement metrics.