In my young 21 years, I have ridden a camel through the Sahara, reached the top of a Swiss mountain on the world’s steepest railway, developed a surprisingly high tolerance to sriracha, and I’ve downloaded and streamed more songs than most people 2 or 3 times my age may have done their whole lives.
For Millennials like me, the thrill of new experiences drives our decisions every day. We want to see what’s new before it’s old, taste what’s fresh before it’s stale, and hear what’s undiscovered before it’s passé.
The brands that help us discover those new experiences will be rewarded with customer loyalty, social media engagement, and brand advocacy — and those that don’t may be forgotten.
Makes you think a little harder about what music you’re choosing for your ad, doesn’t it?
Show Us What We’re Looking For
Like many other Millennials today, a good percentage of my day is spent streaming music from various platforms. According to a Nielsen Music 360 report for 2015, 75% of Americans now listen to music online in a typical week. Moreover, a February 2014 survey performed by the Edison Research Group revealed that 80% of online Millennials listen to internet radio services such as Pandora and Spotify.
We’re on the hunt, but not for any new world record-breaking heights (at least for now). This time, our search is for new music: exclusive songs no one else has heard yet and emerging artists whose tracks we’d be excited to share with our peers.
I share a song on my Facebook profile almost every single day, and I’m not the only one. My newsfeeds are flooded with posts daily from my peers sharing new songs from different platforms.
Facebook mobile’s new feature is making music discovery increasingly convenient and accessible for users of the platform. This new feature offers a music post format with which Spotify and Apple Music users can share 30-second snippets of songs from their playlists to their newsfeeds. If their Facebook friends like the song, they can easily click through the link to buy or add it to their own stream.
“We hope by making this experience better, artists will share more, friends will share and engage more, and music will become a better part of the Facebook experience overall,” said Facebook’s Director of Product Michael Cerda in a recent post on Facebook Media’s blog.
…In this case, wouldn’t you prefer your brand to be the one flooding the news feed over, say, your competitor?
How Brands Should Connect with Millennials
All in all, my generation sticks with the brands that treat us well and understand what we want. Millennial loyalty grows when brands fulfill one of our passion points, such as music discovery.
In fact, 40% of respondents in a recent Nielsen 2015 report said their perception of a brand would be more favorable if the brand features music they like.
Taking all of this into account, the formula to reach most Millennial consumers’ hearts becomes rather simple: help us experience those discoveries and you can turn us from one-time-visitors to regular users. For a group whose spending is expected to surpass baby boomers at some point in the next decade, it may not be a bad idea for more brands to focus more on what catches our eyes and ears.
For example, Spotify offers several ways for brands to connect to consumers through music. One of these ways is to sponsor custom apps like its Emerge franchise, which introduces 10 emerging artists to consumers through an interactive, user-driven competition that awards the most streamed and socially shared artists a live concert.
“We always knew our audience, Millennials, to be highly valuable, to be super engaged and very passionate about not just music, but a host of digital touchpoints and even brands,” said Maureen Traynor, Director of Branded Experiences at Spotify in an interview with Music Dealers. “It’s not enough to talk to that constituency. The most effective branded programs on our service also provide some utility or delight [to consumers].”
When Ford Fiesta partnered with Spotify to leverage Emerge, the custom branded ad page saw more than 118,000 page visits, more than 13,000 social shares, more than 139,000 artist streams, and over 2,300 playlist subscribers, according to the Spotify site.
Spotify is also pushing music discovery in locations where they know Millennials will be present (perhaps more often than most of us would like to admit), such as Starbucks. According to a study from Goldman Sachs last year, in terms of brand equity, Starbucks surpasses Chipotle and Subway for Millennial consumers.
Spotify and Starbucks partnered in May, establishing a deal that will connect Starbucks’ 7,000 U.S. company stores, as well as 10 million My Starbucks Rewards (MSR) Loyalty Program members, to the Spotify brand. This partnership includes features such as giving Starbucks MSR members the ability to influence in-store playlists and Spotify-streamed music playing in all U.S. locations. Of course, the agreement also includes that Spotify Premium will be promoted in all of the stores.
“Throughout its history, Starbucks has worked closely with the music industry, offering a variety of artists a platform for their work,” said Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks in the company’s press release announcing the partnership. “By connecting Spotify’s world-class streaming platform into our world-class store and digital ecosystem, we are reinventing the way our millions of global customers discover music.”
With tactics like those, a brand relationship is established — and the magic happens. Friends show friends the new awesome band they discovered through Shazaming a song they heard while grabbing a coffee. Those friends join the frenzy. That music discovery encourages word-of-mouth buzz about the artist and the brand, and those conversations spread across social media.
Discovery shapes the stories of Millennial consumers. If brands want to play a part in those stories, they should help facilitate that discovery process — whether that’s by giving me a free plane ticket to conquer another record-breaking adventure, or by introducing me to the newest synth pop remix through the speakers at Starbucks.