I’m Ben, a designer and I’ve been apparently branded as a millennial. From what I can see (through my gold rimmed round glasses) the world is changing.. Well, technically it’s been changing for a while, but many brands are seemingly ignoring these subtle changes in the hopes they don’t add up to a systematic industry shift.
At Christmas I decided to do a belated celebration with my girlfriend so we could get twice the gifts for half the price (her idea! I’m not just a cheap boyfriend) and I did the majority of my shopping from my iPhone. I’d much prefer to sit in my underwear shopping for items from the millionth sale promotion that year, than traipsing around the shops getting stressed and dehydrated. If you’re a Londoner and hate Oxford Street street shout ‘hell yeah!’.
As a designer I’ve always been a core Apple fan. It’s not just their clean, minimal designs that means they are the top of my preferred brand list. They provide a second to none experience that goes beyond selling the product. Drop in and charge your phone, check your emails, speak to an expert (be educated not sold to) or attend a music gig in a store, they are a brand that ask ‘why do we exist’ and not ‘what can we sell’. This makes me want to be part of the everyday apple experience because I trust them to act in my best interests.
So what is it that millennials want? We don’t even have massively high standards, have you seen the state of half the rentals we inhabit because we can’t get onto the property ladder?! We just want to feel like we’re having our own unique experience with 21st century companies. The Apple model isn’t “un-attainable”, so why are brands evidently falling so short?
Brands need to acknowledge our needs and stop thinking one dimensionally about how they interact with us. Why I hear you scream? Well, we’ve grown up in a world where digital is part of our DNA. Information is on the tip of my fingertips, nothing is linear anymore and searching for the best deal is second nature. The richer the experience and let’s face it – the more instagrammable the better. A small example of this was Nike’s ‘LONDON: On Air’ event, which invited 1,200 individuals to take part in a pop workshop over three days. It wasn’t about their products, it was about the journey you went through and the experiences they allowed you to take part in.
With the Millennial demographic, expected to be worth a whopping 24 trillion dollars by 2020, according to UBS (think of all those avocados!) it’s now or never. We want to feel like we’re having a unique experience with brands, and we want it to be tangible…show us what you’ve got!