millennials

#GuruChats Highlights: Are You Talking To Me? Communicating With Millennials

This Wednesday #GuruChats was packed with lip-smacking goodies! Our expert guest Ai Zhang was exceptionally engaging and active with the GuruChatters, who also shared amazing insights and views during the conversation on how to communicate with millennials. It was a total rush hour, and we definitely enjoyed the good stream of traffic. Some knew their ways, others made their ways and some even played bumper cars. Over all, it was spectacular.

Time to dig in.

Our Expert Guest: Ai Zhang

This time for #GuruChats we collaborated with writer, educator and social media consultant Ai Zhang who candy-coated our chat with her active participation. Zhang is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Stockton University, NJ, United States. She writes on Medium about immersive topics regarding search engine optimization, millennials, social media, storytelling and personal branding in a list of other trending and helpful reads.

Moreover, she’s a brand evangelist for Madalyn Sklar’s Twitter chats. Zhang also hosts Live shows on Facebook.

Oh, by the way it was 1:00 a.m. for her, still she didn’t seem drowsy at all. What a sport!

Our Awesome GuruChatters

Our loyal participants James Bowen, Jade Alberts, Sue Jenkins, Terry (Brain Blender) and Cristina Roman were super-exciting and chipped in interesting perspectives on the topic. We had some newcomers like Victoria Holec who raised intriguing questions and definitely made people wonder about the conventional definitions of the different generations, especially generation Y. Cheval John, on the other hand, gave us an overview of how millennials perceive themselves as. Plus we had guests from India, Manav Latora and Rinku Agarwal Basu also hopped on the wagon making the chat more stimulating. Kimberly Fisher also sharing interesting insights about millennial lifestyle. And our last minute entry, Sabrina Cadini pooled some neat tips for brands to converse with Gen Y. After all, the more the merrier.

Okay so let’s dive in.

Who Are Millennials?

Well how about getting down to the basics first. According to several resources, Millennials were born somewhere in between late 1970’s and early 2000’s. They’re also referred as Generation Y and sometimes Echo Boomers because they’re usually the children of Baby Boomers.

Authors Neil Howe and William Strauss are credited for coining the name Millennials in 1987 inspired by the mark of a new millennium in 2000. Nevertheless, the term is to date very popular because the millennials of today are considered to highly individualistic – oozing with titillating traits.

millennials and their traits

GIF Source

Understanding Millennial Mindset

Although millennials are the most “happening” and “trending” of all generations, they’re also the most misunderstood ones. First of all, we have to stop generalizing and assuming that all millennials are the same. They have some similar underlining characteristics but then each individual has a unique personality.

How To Communicate With Millennials

Generation Y is perhaps the most complex and capricious cohort to approach and engage, but there are some rules we can apply in our millennial communication strategies to amuse them. We can’t fight with data analytics, especially on all that can easily be tracked with intelligent tools and algorithms online and on mobile.

Whenever you’re planning your strategy to communicate with the millennials, you need to keep three things in mind:

1) Conversation Style Generation Y Prefer

Millennials aren’t into formal talks, and even for serious subjects they like a casual approach. Gone are the times when marketers could fool the audience with the fluff. This batch of people want creativity and innovation, instead of clichés. Also Think with Google’s ‘micro-moment’ phenomenon best fits here. They want instant gratification.

2) Medium Gen Y Use For Communication

While television and radio worked best with Baby Boomers and Generation Jones; contemporary Millennials are highly tech-savvy. Their BFF is mobile phone (iOS or Android) and they’re tickled by new technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and holograms.

3) Conversations That Interest Millennials

Smart and independent millennials, especially, want to be challenged in a discussion. Mostly any type of individual within this generation enjoys storytelling. As Janil Jean points out, they want to talk about issues affecting them. Here are a few eye-openers our guests shared.

Millennial Stereotypes

In a world where forming a general opinion about a group is common, Gen Y are often misunderstood or rather generalized. I found this definition on Urban Dictionary quite funny: Millennial is “a term used by insecure idiots to dismiss somebody aged 10-35”. On Google, when I type the phrase “millennials are…” I was shown the most inexcusable stereotypical suggestions.

This only confirms how people generally perceive Millennials as: lazy, the worst, stupid, narcissists, screwed and bunch of other terms. Can you point out any positive word from the two lists? I think not, and this search reality bizarre.

For you and me, it is important to know that all the persons in this group aren’t the same. Their natures vary depending on their geographic location, culture, ethnicity, family backgrounds, lifestyle, attitudes and personal preferences. So while there are good Millennials, there are also those who aren’t good.

Brands And Millennials

The meaning of marketing has definitely changed for brands as we’re moving further into the millennium. At once intrusive advertisements with a simple yet loud message could win businesses leads and conversions but today they need to be creatively innovative. Millennial consumers tend to be picky and they need more than a sales pitch.

Customer Service For Gen Y

Let me tell you one thing and this time I am generalizing. Millennials are always ready to give feedback that is usually an online review or comment. While on one hand this is an opportunity, on the other it is a deterrent too. So executives must make sure that their customer service is spot on! There’s no room for mistakes because even the minutest details can be caught – for Millennials shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Conclusion

If you want to know Millennials, don’t open that search window with assumptions in mind. All the people in this group aren’t the same. While you can make some generalizations, don’t continuously stereotype them for they’re the different colors in a rainbow and together they look diverse and worth looking at.

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A visual design blogger passionate about interactive, experiential and captivating techniques designers, marketers and brands use to accentuate messages, tell stories, and spread awareness. I’m a visual addict like Alice, who finds books (or anything) without pictures boring! My writings focus on graphic and web design, branding, and visual marketing. My hobbies are to write poems, draw zentangles, read, and watch YouTube videos.

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