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Doing It Right: Brands Who Are Winning with Millennials

Group of Students Outside

Marketing to millennials is not a new concept – a hugely important age group with impressive spending power, Gen Y is projected to influence 30% of the retail sales market by 2020, according to Business Insider. However, while it’s no surprise that brands are competing to reach the millennial consumer as effectively as possible, some are hitting the mark better than others. Here, we look at a few brands who have used creativity, innovation and strategic business planning to successfully engage Gen Y, leading to sales, increased market share, and in some cases, that viral hit that every campaign strives for.

Honda: We’ve all seen cars advertised on television, in print and experientially, but Honda is taking things to a millennial level by promoting the new 2015 Honda Fit on mobile gaming and sports websites, on YouTube and across other social media, and through a tie-in Ultra Street Fighter IV – a new generation version of the classic ‘80s arcade game. In combination with traditional advertising, Honda is showcasing the Fit across all levels of multimedia, from television to social media to gaming. Time will tell how sales are influenced, but from an exposure standpoint, it looks like a win with Gen Y.

Taco Bell: Taco Bell made the decision to focus on millennial consumers, dropping their kids menu in 2013 and making a shift to new items that appeal to Gen Y’ers instead. These cooler, stand-out products, such as a complete breakfast menu featuring the chain’s signature taco elements, have helped skew the brand towards a millennial market. At present, Taco Bell has a major online following that includes over 10 million Facebook fans, 300k+ followers on Instagram and over a million followers on Twitter, giving them significant reach with their target market.

Sharpie: Sharpie holds an outstanding 89% of the market share in their category, thanks largely to their dominance on social media. The brand appeals largely to younger millennials in the teen/back to school markets, focusing on a message of self-expression alongside bright, engaging visuals. The strategy has clearly resonated with Gen Y consumers, who are connecting with Sharpie across multi-screen and mobile platforms.

Aeropostale: From creating a teen-friendly PayPal app to launching iPad kiosks in store, Aeropostale has millennials on the brain. The brand saw an incredible increase of 167% in mobile web traffic in direct response to Gen Y targeted changes – a huge win in an extremely competitive environment. The brand is also finding success on social media, with over a million followers on Instagram alone.

Chubbies: You may not have heard of Chubbies, but the California-based shorts brand has hit it big with millennials across social media. Steadily gaining in popularity in recent years, the small, young company has succeeded in creating an organic buzz around their target market – hipster frat boys who like to party on weekends (“pants are for work!” reads an image of their Facebook page).  The brand has a clever, bro-centric website and promotes heavily on social media, and they do it well – Chubbies’ saw a 690% increase in monthly revenues between 2012 and 2013.

These brands are hitting the mark with Gen Y, and reaping the benefits. Who’s next?