Marketers are tripping over themselves to reach Millennials. Advertisers spend five times as much on reaching Millennials as they do on all other generations combined.
The Millennial obsession on how to become relevant to the next generation has led to a lot of soul searching for marketers. Many old-school brands have been having a sort of brand identity crisis.
McDonalds represents this whiplash struggle to connect with Millennials. Last year they brought back a hipster version of the Hamburglar in the same month they introduced new kale offerings.
The return of the Hamburglar fell flat and was short-lived. It embodied for me the surface-level approach that many brands take with reaching Millennials, as if it’s a monolithic group that you can reach just by representing a stereotype persona.
It will be interesting to watch how brands continue to give themselves makeovers to appeal to Millennials. Many are taking the Denny’s approach of learning to “speak Millennial”.
Brands need to continually evolve to stay relevant. But I think marketers spend too much time chasing demographics and not enough time considering what the brand really stands for. It’s about much more than an image face lift.
Brand’s Millennial obsession also risks alienating all the other generations that have made up its base. In the US, baby boomers get 5% of marketing dollars, but provide 50% of national consumption. Much of how marketing talks nowadays completely ignores older demographics.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how brands can evolve to something new without alienating what they’ve always been.