Luxury and fashion brands that want to survive now and into the future are anxious to reach consumers between the ages of 18 and 28, commonly referred to as Millennials. What they recognize, however, is the “in-your-face 20th-century approach” just doesn’t work with this audience; instead, Millennials want to be “entertained and informed” through increasingly sophisticated technology.
According to a report on Millennials by the Pew Research Center, 75 percent of this youthful audience engages in social networking. This “makes them very savvy consumers,” says Robert Polet, president and chief executive of the luxury brand Gucci. “We are embracing different ways of creating dialogue through social media. Some of our brands have launched Facebook and Twitter pages and iPhone applications.”[more]
Angela Ahrendts, Burberry’s chief executive, tells The New York Times that the brand started going after the Millennial audience two years ago. Now Burberry uses new technology inside and outside the organization, “Skype-ing between design team and factory” internally, and employing live-streaming and 3-D for external web promotions. In a nod to the Millennial generation, Burberry decided to contract 19-year old actress Emma Watson, who played Hermione in the Harry Potter movies, as the brand’s new face.
Even 75-year old Giorgio Armani has stated that his company “must reach out to the new generation” via social media. John Hooks, deputy chairman of Armani, says the company’s goal, especially with Millennials, is to promote the brand “wherever the customer wants to touch it – on their mobile devices, via a social network, on blogs, in store, in print and outdoor media.” Armani’s A/X brand, for example, targets young consumers with mobile phone shopping.
More and more, luxury brands are engaging with Millennials instead of “talking at them” – and that may be the seismic shift in the new, more socially oriented world of brand marketing. Says British magazine publisher Terry Jones, “The condition of the generation of today is different. The idea is to have easy access to everything, compared to when everything in fashion was kept under corporate control.”