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What happened at the Millennial 20/20 Summit?

Chattr had the pleasure of being at the Millennial 20/20 summit – an international cross-industry conference where some of the biggest brands in the globe shared ideas on business in the digital age.

Companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Air BnB and AfterPay shared two stages across two days and covered industry innovation and the digital disruption that are driving the industries of tech, travel, food, beauty and fashion. Simply, the event was focused on one thing – millennials. However, the insights that were unveiled really revealed the sneaky stuff they’re doing to make us a better customer, and them a bigger business. But that’s not a bad thing. Trust me.

Perhaps the buzzword of the event that pollinated almost every panel was the idea of personalization. One-to-One marketing. A business strategy where companies leverage data and digital technology to deliver individual, personalized messages for individual customers. Think about the times a website shot you an email saying you left an item in your cart. Think about anytime you’ve browsed Facebook and saw an ad that was a little too relevant. Well that’s how every business is thinking. How can we be more relevant to you? How can our products be more relevant for your cash?

Facebook’s Alexandra Sloane – Head of Marketing for Australia and New Zealand Facebook – opened the entire summit with that idea. Companies nowadays can and have to be highly relevant for consumers. More relevant means more customer focused. More customer focused means more money. But that’s not a bad thing. Again… trust me.

Facebook's Alexandra Sloane taking a selfie with the crowd at Millennial 20/20. Source.
Facebook’s Alexandra Sloane taking a selfie with the crowd at Millennial 20/20. Source.

One panel – Millennials and Meaningful marketing with UniLever, Air BnB and sustainable consultation company Republic of Everyone – highlighted the statistic that 88% of millennials are looking for brands with meaning. Purpose driven consumerism. And if you don’t believe that’s true – think about all the publishers, brands and companies that turned rainbow and touted their gay rights support. Millennials aren’t taking any bullshit from companies’ now-days. Many of the businesses realize that young people aren’t willing to support businesses that don’t reflect their interests, their personalities and their beliefs. So there’s a pressure for businesses to personalize and do good – or continue to do bad and miss out on an entire generation.

Unilever’s managing director Anthony Toovey reflected this consumer influenced brand shift through the repositioning of Lynx deodorant. 5 years ago ads of the deodorant told young men that spraying Lynx under your arms will make women fuck you. Now? Now Lynx is airing the message the focuses on self-empowerment and finding confidence in “your thing”. Which message would you prefer your kids to hear?

Let’s face it – advertising and marketing of brands are inescapable. However brands that run the world are realising that they need to start doing more, and being more, to connect with the next generation of consumer. Yep, all those jokes about how generation millennial are ruining the world seem a bit silly now. In order to get to the millennial pocket these brands have to start running the world better – so trust me – personalisation will grow to be a good thing.