Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Generation Y consumer; What we Expect From Brands

Maggie Murithi

By Maggie Murithi
Multi media University. 
Generation Y or millennials  as we are commonly referred to are people who were born in between 1980 to the early 90’s. We are the current youth ,a key market for several products and form a crucial part of the voters in Kenya.We  form a bulk of the informed shoppers who stick to tight budgets while still managing to stay trendy and cultured. We're looking for inexpensive versions of the items we desire and durable versions of the items we need. A good number of this group is cash strapped; so we desire products we cannot afford; however we also work tirelessly hard to get our hands on them. This means that brands should strive to communicate to this group as in a few years our income levels change drastically and can actually buy what we desired.
Here’s an article on Building Relationships with Gen Y

Ninety five percent of the Generation Y are members of a social network. That's our preferred media interaction. Thirty seven percent access the web from a mobile device.  This completely changes the when, where and how brands need to connect and interact with this generation. Sixty four percent of Gen Y creates content in some form of another, more than twice the percentage of all web users. Potentially we play a significant role in developing or expanding a brand’s story. To put it bluntly, if you're uncomfortable with marketing to the Generation Y, or refuse to understand our unique demographic, your business will not see 2020. To understand Generation Y is to overcome many obstacles in the retail industry.
The youth shall almost eternally dominate most of the African population in the near future.We have however been criticized in the past and presently and various terms used to describe us by the elder generation and religious leaders’ e.g  A lost generation, a generation of instant gratification, others even say there is no hope for a future generation. On the brighter side I think that there are a lot of opportunities and talent in us that could be harnessed. Generation Y has been described as tech literate, aspirational , impatient, very materialistic, with a strong belief that money can make us happy. Well that’s true!!We spend on fashion, relationships, cars and entertainment.(Cool products& services.) We define ourselves by purchasing products and brands that helped establish oneself as an individual. We spend on brands that portray our self image. Why do some of us feel that partying in Westie makes you look cooler? We buy trendy clothes, we all want to hang in out in cool joints and desire fast cars. These things do define us! 
All factors held constant, most products targeting generation Y if well handled, in such a manner that they have an edge over their competitors-having good marketing and branding techniques are going to thrive.
Generation Y is viewed as being very dynamic and opinionated and there is a dilemma on how to reach them, sustain their loyalty and lock them in as customers.
Here are a few tips that could help you understand the Better!

Today’s youth love experiences
I know most of you agree with me that there are times you just want to try out something so you have a story to tell to your friends, or just for the feeling. Experiential marketing is hot these days, since it makes us feel as part of the brand. It gives us a chance to interact with the brand. Safaricom Live, Equity Ndio Hii hapa, Coke parties rock as some of the campaigns by various brands that had huge success. There’s a huge difference between just telling people about the features of a brand and letting them experience it. I experienced this a few days ago when I was walking home past a young guy who was selling skirts, he waved at me asking me to buy one that he was holding, and I calmly told him siku ingine si Leo(I can’t buy it today I will buy it another day).He did not take that for an answer he followed me  and said, ”sista kujaribu ni sare,sikwambii ununue”(sister am not telling to buy it just try it on its free) i actually did try just to get rid of him, besides, I was in no particular hurry, but when I wore it I began seeing it as mine, and even  fantasized to match it some tops in my wardrobe  after viewing the reflection on the mirror. After no much thought, I just bought. A lot of women are impulse buyers, but most importantly we buy products that look good on us.
Generation Y loves fun.
They just love their life…something to do with this is enough bait; it just attracts them like moths at the sight of light. I especially love the most recent one by Coca Cola Company, it’s a good shot. Guys vote for their party or event so as to get coca cola sponsorship, the competition aspect as guys vote is enough fun, and the party is another mile covered altogether.

 Event marketing
Sponsoring youth events or campus functions serves the purpose even better and reaches a wider group , this can be effective when introducing a new brand to the market. Organizing youth events also takes you ahead of the pack. I always admire safaricom especially the rugby sevens, Kenya Breweries and football.

We are your R&D TEAM
 If your brand  targets the youth have them in your marketing department, since we are more familiar with the trends and what we want, we know what our peers want to see, hear, and even experience. Most of the senior managers in the Marketing departments are not as tech savvy as we are; therefore a few brands are pushing in ideas that just won’t work. Multinational companies at times try to try out ideas locally that have been successful elsewhere. It’s purely wrong to assume what worked In west Africa or closer here in Uganda can be applied successfully in Kenya.
My Starbucks Idea blog is one of them. Starbucks opens up the blog for members to share product ideas. Members then get to vote or comment on the idea.  As the idea gains attraction among members, it gains the attention of the company. However in Kenya Corporate blogging is DEAD!
It’s a perfect example of what they call crowd sourcing.
The benefits of crowdsourcing include:
  • You can explore problems inexpensively and quickly.
  • You can tap a wider audience of talent than what your business or organization has in house.
  • You can gain insights on your customers by listening to the crowd.
  • You can build your brand as the community engages in common tasks like idea creation.
Give us a chance to win
I love gifts as much as I love those who give them to me. In other words they might just develop some consumer loyalty. We love free samples, buy what’s on offer, on sale and give aways. That’s why we have several deals companies in Kenya now. Such as Rupu, Sasa deals, Zetu deals and Mocality deals. Companies are also giving away prizes on social media platforms to keep their pages active and with traffic.

C.S.I as opposed to C.S.R
I think co-corporate social investment, creates a longer lasting effect than cooperate social responsibility….everyone likes to feel that someone cares for them anyway. Am talking about the equity Bank wings to fly Foundation here, if I was touched by the initiative I believe that any other person was…this might just make me want to be loyal to them since I feel that am helping so many others through them. Ndio Maana Mimi Ni member!

Go online
Converse with them don’t just talk to them. Be active, highlight on the unique and extrinsic features of your brand and build on them. Most of the online community is dominated by the youth any way. From Facebook, to Twitter, to Google Plus, they are all popular sites that you should be leveraging. Create profiles on each of those sites as they are a good source of traffic and they’ll create new opportunities for you to keep in touch with your consumers. Summarizing a study from L2, that Generation Y is more prone to connect to brands digitally than any previous generation before it.Young people are more into social and digital media than older people.

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