How the rise of the millennial can mean the rise of promotional product.

Just who is a millennial and what makes them so different?

Whilst there is no exact definition of a millennial, anyone born between 1980 - 2000 is generally considered to be a millennial. In the U.K they makeup 1/4 of the population and are also the largest generation in the workforce. Meanwhile over in the U.S, they are the largest consumer group in history with over 89 million people belonging to this generation.

The major events, societal changes, and economic climate people are brought up in can greatly influence their outlook, how they live their lives and the values they hold. As a generation, millennials have grown up experiencing significant technological advancement, the Great Economic Recession of 2008 and an increasing environmental awareness. The combination of all these things has resulted in a generation with a significantly different perspective than those before them.


What does this mean for big brands?

Whilst the true extent of what this means for brands is difficult to quantify there is some stand out themes:

They're less receptive to traditional advertising methods

With this generation being the most technologically connected they are increasingly bombarded with information, which some believe is resulting in a decreased attention span, making it more difficult for a brand noticed through traditional methods such as billboards and web adverts. To combat this more subtle and regular branding must be utilised which has proven to be great news for the humble promotional product. Promotional products provide an ideal solution to this as it allows users to engage with brands every day whilst being far less intrusive. Two-thirds of millennials wear or carry promotional merchandise each day, highlighting how receptive they are to this type of branding and the exposure to their peers it can offer. Furthermore, an astonishing 87% are able to remember a brand from promotional merchandise and 88% are more favourable towards brands after receiving a promotional product. Whilst all of the above stats are impressive the following stand out stats prove the most remarkable with 87% saying they looked up a brand after receiving a promotional product and 88% stating they are more likely to do business with a brand as a result of receiving a promotional product! Proving that promotional products really are one of the most effective methods to communicate with this generation. Great news!

However, it's worth noting that the more functional and purposeful a promotional product is, significantly increases its appeal to millennials. Promotional merchandise aimed at this generation, therefore, needs to avoid being perceived as gimmicky to be of value to the user. There was a time when people just wanted "a freebie". However, with this generation's concern with landfills full of useless plastic items, a promotional gift that serves no purpose could be more damaging to a company's reputation than no gift at all. Prime examples of useful and modern items that consumers would likely keep and use would be branded power banks and wireless charging mats. With smartphone ownership being the highest amongst this generation and the devices having a notoriously short battery life, such promotional products would be of great value to users, whilst also providing repeated brand exposure for the company. 

They're more environmentally aware and expect brands to be also

With 59% of 16-34-year-olds in the U.K believing brands should actively get involved and improve causes, and a further 54% want brands to address today's societal and ecological issues the days of just looking good are over. Put simply, brands must now both look good whilst also doing good. As a generation, there is definitely a strong demand for more ethical products and increased sustainability and that was less of a priority in previous generations who were significantly less aware of environmental issues. Millennials buying decisions are affected by environmental factors and in many cases, they are willing to pay or do a little bit more to ensure they are feeding the ECO need. Re-usable items that have less of an impact on the environment are favoured. The plastic bag has been replaced by the tote bag, water bottles with reusable bottles and more recently the push towards reusable coffee cups. This shift from disposable to re-usable is not only good for the environment but also an ideal branding opportunity for companies and promotional gift suppliers. With reusable water bottles and coffee cups being used every day and often in public, providing branded giveaways of these items will be appreciated by users whilst exposing brands to a wider audience on a regular basis and with a far lower cost than traditional advertising methods. It's also a terrific opportunity for companies to improve its CSR whilst increasing brand awareness by "passing on plastic" in the office, providing staff with reusable drinkware and letting their customers know they are doing it via social media. Enhancing the company’s reputation amongst millennials online could also see an increase in the company’s wider performance.

All of this tells us one thing. It is a huge opportunity for promotional product suppliers that understand the millennials generation and the importance of this environmental shift. It's time to look at sustainable products, to push stainless steel and glass water bottles, to promote your bamboo coffee cup range and your natural cotton bags and organic cotton clothing. These are the promotional items that companies want to be and need to be purchasing to engage with and impress the generation that will soon be holding all the purchasing power. And on that note...

The time is now

With the bulk of the millennial generation beginning to come of age, their spending power is set to increase over the coming years, meaning the time to connect with them is now. Although research shows Millennials salaries are disproportionately low, meaning their spending power will be in its infancy for some time, they are set to benefit from the greatest wealth transfer in history through large inheritances as the wealthy "Baby Boomer" generation enters retirement. Receiving promotional merchandise that is both free and functional can help this cash-strapped generation out whilst they progress in life whilst also engaging them with a company brand early on in their purchasing life cycle. Establishing that brand firmly in their minds at this early stage could prove considerably fruitful in the long run

This blog was written by Brandelity.

Posted on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 12:00 AM