Technology has changed everything—from content consumption, mobile-first and personalized digital experiences to an on-demand consumer environment. All of these rapid changes have made it incredibly challenging for brands to remain ahead of the game. That’s the premise around FUTR (formerly known as M2020), and why thousands flocked to London last week where over 200 industry influencers shared insights into the present and future of retail, marketing and commerce.
Here are three things that stood out us:
Brand Promise Matters More Than Ever
If a brand talks the talk, they must walk the walk in millennials eyes. Authenticity reigns supreme. Nike delivers the right imagery, speaks to its audience in a voice that is relatable that uses the right slang and colloquial messaging to unite and inspire people. Heineken’s “Open Your World” campaign shows the power of human connection and offers inspiring dialogue in an increasingly polarising world. These are brands that millennials want to affiliate themselves with.
More and more, Millennials are making their buying decisions based on what a brand represents. Whether that’s socially, ideologically, politically or something else completely, it impacts their perception and in return affects brands’ bottom line.
Give Consumers Control Over Their Own Journey
Millennials also want power to influence what brands give them, starting with their consumer journey. Invite consumers into the journey and don’t dictate what they want. The most successful brands ensure that they stay true to their identity while bringing consumers along on in a personalized way. Airbnb does a stellar job of this—from the moment that someone enters their app or site, entering a location immediately curates listings, recommendations and location-specific content. Pairing that with AI to lend real-time recommendations, booking and support makes this personalized customer journey authentic and scalable.
It’s also important for brands to deliver the same journey across all channels—online, offline, in-store, packaging—to connect a consumer’s various touch points in a clean and coherent manner.
Beyoncé Is Still ***Flawless
Millennials aren’t just demanding more from companies but also celebrities. They want to know what they stand for and they want to see it in action. Celebrities tend to be more bold and overt with their opinions than companies; however, they are both brands, the former just has more liberty to express themselves.
No one has built, grown and maintained their brand better than Beyoncé. She defines diligence, exudes femininity and challenges the status quo. In return, her fans are fierce and loyal no matter what. Her honesty and confidence is her competitive advantage and the commitment to her brand is what keeps her a global superstar regardless of how infrequently she releases new music. From her boldness to her stylized video content, there are several pages that other brands should apply to their book.Ultimately it is on brands to be consistent, be real and in the words of Beyoncé, “Run The World.”