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June 2015: Global Millennial Empathy Brands

June 2015

By Claire Brooks

This month we continue to look at how brands leverage intense marketing channel disruption and sustain a deep and lasting connection with Millennial consumers (what ModelPeople calls Strategic Empathy®) through multiple touch-points. Building on our May GlobalCultureBlog®, we draw out broad strategic themes which have proven successful in building brand credibility with this choosy consumer cohort. The appeal of these brands is also in the way they build social currency and word-of-mouth through their story or philosophy: for example Airbnb has become an integral part of nomadic Millennials’ travel experiences, building itself into a loved and respected community platform.

Co-creativity

Millennial trendsetters, who are often in creative class careers themselves, appreciate brands which co-create with other artists to bring them something unique and individual. Our Tokyo correspondent loves Design Shirts Store graniph  which offers over 100 new, limited edition designs a month, co-created with artists and musicians. Our LA correspondent admires public art presenter, Creative Time because it helps artists bring their work to a broader audience in unexpected public places.

Cultural Community

As we saw in May’s GlobalCultureBlog®, brand authenticity is highly respected. Millennials love brands which can expand their horizons by offering an authentic cultural experience, or which make the user part of a unique community. Our Istanbul correspondent prefers the ‘legendary’ Moleskine notebooks used by famous writers over his ipad. In Tokyo, Airbnb appeals because it fosters a cultural connection between hosts and guests. Our LA correspondent has bought herself a classic Linus bike which claims to “make you feel like you’re in an old French movie”.

Ethical Transparency

Millennials have grown up knowing how to find out everything about their brands at the tap of a finger. In San Francisco, the “Radical Transparency” of the Everlane clothing brand, which lets shoppers see how the clothing is priced, where it’s manufactured, and real costs for materials, labor, transportation, and their markup, reassures and impresses our correspondent. In Berlin,  our LOHAS-loving blogger shops at the Alnatura grocery chain which prioritizes fair trade and sustainable production.

Best-in-Class Utility

Even though they are value-conscious and often disdain conventional luxury brands, Millennials admire premium brands with best-in-class functional utility and clever design. In Sao Paulo, MAC  is admired for its quality product and minimalist packaging and concept store.  Our Berlin blogger can’t live without her rose-gold GHD hair-straightener with matching clips!

GlobalCultureBlog® is on summer vacation over the next two months and will return in the Fall.

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