Read our exclusive interview: Convo Talks Millennials with David Burstein, Author of Fast Future
Conversation recently had the opportunity to interview author of Fast Future, and frequent contributor to publications such as Fast Company and the Huffington Post, David Burstein, about his expertise on Millennials. Understanding that this group will be making the majority of purchases over the next few decades, Conversation is diligent about observing current trends adopted by the generation. Having written several articles on the topic, David believes it’s clear that the way Millennials interact with brands is vastly different than their predecessors, the Boomers.
Millennials are demanding much more from brands today than ever before. In the past, brands could get away with pushing a message without considering consumer feedback. Today, a clear and consistent two-way dialogue is mandatory. Forming a direct, personal connection with the consumer is paramount to achieving success with the Millennial generation. Ultimately, Millennials want to truly understand a brand’s personality and individuality. It’s important to create as strong of a connection as possible.
When we asked David what companies have done a commendable job successfully attracting the Millennial demographic to create brand loyalists, Burstein named Starbucks and Frito-Lay. The Starbucks experience exudes a spirit of community, a distinct trait that many Fortune 500 companies foster. As Conversation has explained in previous articles, Millennials value options. Starbucks creates a sense of personalization that not only attracts, but also connects with Millennials. In the case of Frito-Lay, the brand was one of the first companies to integrate user-generated content into their Super Bowl commercials. This initiative resonated deeply with the Millennial audience, as it is an example of control shifting from the brand to the consumer.
“Disrupting the industry” has become a ubiquitous phrase for marketers, and most brands are trying to accomplish something radical and revolutionary. But are they really? According to Burstein, “every company needs to disrupt itself in order to stay relevant.” Burstein cited Sarah Robb O’Hagan, the current President of Equinox and former President of Gatorade, as spearheading “one of the most successful relaunches of a major brand in recent history.” During her tenure at Gatorade, O’Hagan revitalized the then-ailing beverage brand from the bottom-up and brought in a much-needed Millennial perspective that could understand the brand and relate to the target demographic.
In today’s intense market, companies have to constantly preach innovation if they want to stay ahead of the curve. Because of the consumer’s increased brand control, brands will have to adhere to the constantly changing demand trends and really listen to what the Millennial generation wants. Otherwise, the chance of success for a company to stay relevant diminishes. In this day and age, “disrupting an industry” is not just important, but a prime necessity.