Can Your Brand Hang? The Key to Millennial Marketing 975 words · 5 minute read

During a Q&A board game, my 18-year-old friend was questioned what she’d say to the president if she had the opportunity to ask him anything. Her response was both surprising and amusing:

“Mr. President, can you hang?”

I’ll save you the trouble from searching Urban Dictionary. According to that online digest of colloquialisms, when you say someone can’t hang, it is a “friendly way to say you ain’t on my level, you can’t handle this, or get on my level.”

The quintessential Millennial culture is hugely experience-driven. They want to do more things, go more places, and push themselves further. It’s important to Millennial and Gen Z consumers that the leaders they elect, the brands they purchase from, and the products they consume facilitate that lifestyle.

Which begs the question … can your brand hang?

Embrace the Experiential Culture

It’s no secret that Millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than products, opting to own the memory rather than the thing. This trend has launched new companies like Daybreaker and Airbnb, while driving others into the bygone era of super-shopper past.

Rather than resist the changing tides of consumer behavior, discover how your brand can support the everyday adventures of your audience’s lives.

In the brand’s first fully integrated branding campaign, GroupOn celebrates the differences between the “Haves” and the “Have-Dones” – those who own a lot of stuff and those who do a lot of stuff – a reflection of the experiential Millennial consumer.

Our parents perhaps saved up to purchase elite Persian rugs; meanwhile, we splurge to voyage on Persian Gulf seafaring trips. We’ll trade a cabinet of fine china for a class on rolling sushi. We’d rather dig for diamonds in a national park than wear them on a ring.

Developed by Chicago-based agency OKRP, “Haves vs. Have-Dones” reflects a simple millennial truth: our lives are defined more by the experiences captured in our Snapchat Story than the clutter of items stacked haphazardly in our studio apartments.

“Groupon is the destination for you to begin that search [for local experiences],” said Nick Paul, president of OKRP, in a WSJ article. “We want people to view them as a celebratory, helpful brand that’s providing ideas for activities to do.”

Brands that tap into the lifestyle trends of their consumers at strong human passion points will discover they can provide experiential treatment to the adventurous millennial – even if they’re still selling stuff, at the end of the day.

Converting Adverts into Adventures

Just because Millennials prioritize experiences over products, that doesn’t mean they don’t need to buy stuff too, especially when those items enrich those adventures.

The Kube Sound, for example, which is described as a “sound system first, cooler second,” banked its success on serving the experiential needs of its millennial consumers. The brand was so focused on elevating these events that it even crafted its advertisements as experience-driven stories.

Check out the full Kube Sound success story here.

Whether you’re throwing a poolside bash or a lakefront campout, all parties need music. This flagship video highlights all of the wonderfully wet ways Kube can create a 125-decibel experience for any type of party – as well as keep your drinks cold, of course.

Cast with dozens of beautiful music lovers (our favorite kind of people) and scored with the funky house instrumental “Northway” by French duo artist Else, this ad is just as much an experience as your real-life summer parties, due in large part to the production team at Arts + Labor and to the music.

Comprised of two French 20-somethings, Yanis Hadjar and Louis-Gabriel Gonzalez, Else has gained a notable prominence in the electronic scene, from night clubs along des Champs-Elysées to the infamous island of Ibiza. Often compared to the likes of Daft Punk, Else creates shimmering house music that walks the line between atmospheric ambience and feel-good funk – exactly what most Kube owners would be bumping out of their speaker-fridges during their wetsuitted adventures this summer.

Don’t be left in the kiddie pool this summer. The only way to ensure an invite from your millennial consumer is to explore how your brand can support their experience-driven lifestyle. Be sure to promote that with ads that are just as experiential, too.

Better Music, Better Experience

One of the keys to transforming your branded adverts into audiovisual experiences is by elevating your selection of music to score the spot.

Not every commercial strives to be as riveting experience as our IRL adventures, but when you are aiming to win over the thrill-seekers and fun-chasers, you’ve got to sync music that comes straight from the source. Music that your audiences will actually want to hear.

Best way to do that? First, find a song that supports the story of your ad. Then, close your eyes and listen – if you can’t imagine your Millennial consumer flocking to that band’s outdoor stage at a music festival this summer, then press pause and look again. Find a song that supports the story of your ad and that is experiential in and of itself.

Here are some highly licensable songs from some of our favorite bands to catch live:

If your brand can’t hang, your consumers aren’t going to wait around for that adventure of a lifetime they’re seeking. They can get it on their own, or from their friends, or from another brand.

Hurry up, take the plunge, and meet your consumers in their native turf – out there in the world on an adventure.

We’ll provide your theme music.