Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Dear Brands: What Millennials Really Want From You


Brands are searching for ways to connect with millennial consumers. The days of free social media leading the way are over and millennials are more demanding than ever. If brands want to keep, or gain, market share of millennial consumers, there are a few things they should know. Below I have listed what I believe millennial consumers want from brands.

Brands to care

The concept of brands caring seems simple enough but is not practiced on a large scale. Millennials want brands that are willing to create environmental and social value. Panera and Chipotle are the first to come to mind. Our generation is willing to pay a premium for products that are sustainable or benefit those less fortunate. Brands need to take notice because it’s evident when they aren’t genuine.

Throughout cause marketing campaigns, there has been a growing trend to turn products pink in October to raise awareness for breast cancer. Some brands genuinely care about helping find a cure for breast cancer, but many use the cause to sell more products.  Corporate philanthropy and cause marketing are great for our communities, but when used strictly to drive sells, brands should be aware that they are pushing millennials away.

Tailored to us

With so many products on store shelves, millennials have more choices than ever before. Consumer marketplaces are saturated with options and millennials don’t have to settle for mediocrity. If brands want our money, they must personalize every aspect of the customer experience.  For some companies, that may suggest adding technology into stores or creating products that can be individualized. For others, it may imply better understanding the millennial consumer and basing promotions on our location, interests, and many other factors. Regardless of how brands decide to make these changes, not doing so will be to their detriment.

 On demand

Lastly, millennials are an impatient generation. We don’t like to wait and are willing to pay for convenience. Brands should use this generational restlessness to their advantage. On-demand companies like Airbnb, Vinted, and Valet Anywhere are creating and proving models that brands should strive to replicate and innovate on. Millennials want more than great products and services, we want them now!

Large brands love targeting millennials but fail to fully understand our generation. If your company is looking for methods to reach our generation, please take the time to understand us. Coca-cola got it right with their “Share a Coke” campaign and Amazon did the same when they launched their “One-hour delivery.” Understanding millennials is not easy, but doing so will aid companies in creating products we love and experiences that keep us coming back.

You can keep up with me here on the Babson Blog, Twitter @DanielAColey, or LinkedIn here.