When your company has a mature audience and seems to attract a seemly older demographic, it can be difficult to reach the much sought-after social generation in a pop culture/technology driven space. As a startup brand continually caters to their existing audience to build relevance, the next step is to break the mold and step outside of the box in order to continue the growth and development of the brand. If you're aiming to reach millennials, you need to think like one, even if that means stepping a bit outside of your comfort zone.
Below are 6 factors that you should keep in mind when activating at any level to attract a Millennial market.
1. Media Partners
A media partner isn't always easy to obtain, but your marketing or PR team should be able to identify and secure partners that make sense for your target audience. In one case, recently at the ACM awards, an old-school brand, Cracker Barrel, chose celebrity and entertainment focused outlets (Allure, WhoSay, etc) to cover a built-out hanger space with interactive "pods" and social media influencers. The key is knowing what your audience consumes and finding a PR company or a specific outlet that is willing to help you reach them.
2. Social Media
Having an epic backstage set-up with stars, social influencers and media to spread the interactions and content won't achieve impressions alone. In the case of Cracker Barrel, they maximized spread by using a consistent hashtag #CBStudio with all participants. They had platforms in attendance but anyone can mimic consistency and create their own SnapChat filter for an event.
The social influencers (aka content creators) selected for that same activation came with a variety of talents, background and followers. Involving social media stars, whether they have world-wide influence or have a concentrated following in a niche interest or specific geographical region that targets your specific needs, it is always beneficial to find digital gatekeepers to advocate for your initiative. Millennials are consuming information through social channels by way of the personalities they follow so getting in the door with them early is key.
4. Passive Participation Options
Always consider what you can do off-site to compliment what is happening on site at a physical activation. Cracker Barrel recruited fashion illustrator and Instagram celebrity, Alex Kim, to illustrate artists and influencers on-site and upload to her Instagram account. The photos were provided by an on-site photographer and didn't require any additional time or effort by the celebrities. This passive promotional element allowed for additional impressions.
5. Celebrity Participation
Popular country musicians like The Band Perry, Cole Swindell, Kellie Pickler, Kelsea Ballerini and Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman only participated in the activation because it was mutually beneficial. Make sure your product or brand has made a contribution to the market you're targeting before you launch a large scale initiative and find a celebrity talent that shares that affinity and build an activation that will provide an obvious benefit to your celebrities in addition to your client.
It can be easy to get lost in checking best practices off your list but don't forget the most important element: creativity. Your activation needs to stand out. Learn from the companies before you, don't mimic. Your event or campaign needs to present your product in a new way.
7. Content Hub
Centralize your activation's branding, content & social traction in one place. No matter how many lanes you are promoting your product in always make sure you drive audience back to a central destination. This way it's trackable. It could be a Facebook page, a website or create a splash page where all YouTube videos, social posts, and behind-the-scenes photos are aggregated. This allows content to get a second life in addition to it's original driver.
Regardless of whether or not you have a budget to activate something to this scale, you can incorporate the layered concept into your next event or rebranding strategy. Be savvy with your investment relationships and make the most of your spend by partnering with professional influencers and use their audience to help feed yours. The layers of this campaign and shareability are really the keys to success. It's why the buzz factor is continuing, even after the event has past, and you can do the same.